Windows Vista not showing external drive

By Shonam66 ·

I am not very tech savvy, so would really appreciate if answers could be kept simple/easy to follow.

My old laptop - Toshiba Sattellite M100, recently crashed/died/went kaput/went to calculator heaven - Windows Repair did nothing, I really need to retrieve the data from the old lap top, so brought a "Big Ant 2.5" External Enclosure" so I could attach the hard drive to my other lap-top - a Dell Studio 1555.

Have attached it (via usb ports) and though it registers as a USB device, I am unable to view/access it, it does not show in the "Computer" panel.

The Dell is running Windows Vista Home Premium, the Toshiba was also on Windows Vista (pretty sure also Home Premium, but not 100% on that)

As I'm not in the position to pay hundreds of dollars to a specialist retrieval company, and I REALLY need the data from the old lap top, I would really really appreciate any help.

I know I should have done an external back-up of the data on the Toshiba, but sadly I didn't get round to it in time (I have already made an external back up of the Dell), but believe me, I have learned my lesson the hard way

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All Answers

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Find Your Missing USB Drive in Windows 7 & Vista.....

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Reponse To Answer

by Shonam66 In reply to Find Your Missing USB Dri ...


Thanks so much for was useful and I almost thought I was going to have success......but sadly I didn't get the option to rename, only initialise (which I haven't done)

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Disk Scavenger

by jqbecker In reply to Windows Vista not showing ...

Peconet Tietokoneet's answer above is correct, however I have experienced that sometimes you will not be able to do so, Windows will ask you to format the hard disk before it can be used.

Should this happen, you have two options:
1. Get a file recovery program such as File Scavenger ($49) this can find files on most damaged disks.http://www.quetek.com/download.htm
2. Go ahead and format it, then use www.piriform.com's "Recuva" file un-eraser to get them back.
I have done it both ways, 80% effective.

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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Disk Scavenger

Personally I would run Check Disc on the External Drive and if the Partition Tables are corrupt Windows can repair them. Cheap and no possibility of problems as it's part of Windows but of course the Drive Management has to see the drive first which is also true for any Recovery Software.


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Reponse To Answer

by Shonam66 In reply to Disk Scavenger

Thanks - when you say 80% effective in what way is that? 80% of data is recovered?

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Map the drive to another letter ...

by colin.kennedy13 In reply to Windows Vista not showing ...

As already suggested, map the drive to another letter. I have always found that z: usually sorts this problem out.

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Reponse To Answer

by Shonam66 In reply to Map the drive to another ...

Thanks - unfortunately it's not letting me rename it at the moment

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Boot your Dell with a Linux live CD and see if you can access the drive data.

by dave In reply to Windows Vista not showing ...

Also, I've had some problems with certain drives using the external enclosures. Do you have another drive you can test it with? Try a different USB port on your Dell. I once had desktop that failed to support external drives when you used the front USB ports, but the rear ones worked fine.
For Linux, try Mint or Ubuntu.

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Reponse To Answer

by Shonam66 In reply to Boot your Dell with a Lin ...

Thanks - I tried a different USB port, would've loved it to be that simple :) sadly....no good.

Sorry to sound stupid but not quite sure what the Linux is all about, will my data still be safe?

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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Boot your Dell with a Lin ...

Yes your Data will be safe if you use a Live Linux which runs off the Optical Disc not the HDD itself.

The big advantage of Live Linux is that it doesn't rely on having a working OS installed on a system it can allow you to access the HDD without the installed OS running. It also has the ability to read all current HDD partition Types unlike Windows which can only read its own kind of Partitions.

You can download a Live Linux from here

http://www.livecdlist .com/
remember to remove the space from between livecdlist and the .com for a working link.

I personally prefer Knoppix but really any of those listed here will do depending on how well you know Linux/Unix systems. If you have no knowledge at all I would stick with Knoppix as it's easy to use and Remember to run it off the Disc not install it to the HDD.


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