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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install the HDD back into the original computer

by Who Am I Really In reply to Windows Vista not showing ...

once it is reinstalled in the original system
you need 2 tools
A> get a memory testing tool. eg. WMD (Windows Memory Diagnostic)
- bad RAM can cause an HDD and or the data written to it, to become corrupted
B> the Manufacturers HDD testing tool
- in this case you need Hitachi DFT (Drive Fitness Test)
DFT can be got from here:
h t t p : / / h g s t . c o m / s u p p o r t / i n d e x - f i l e s / s i m p l e t e c h - l e g a c y - d o w n l o a d s # D F T

DFT will tell you if the HDD is baked physically
eg. if there are bad sectors and there are no more spare sectors, etc.
but may not expose interface problems

the Disk is appearing in Disk Manager as
> not initialized
> unallocated

this indicates that the partition table and/or MBR is partially or completely destroyed
either by software error or there is a failure on the PCB which in turn caused the partition table to be corrupted
thus the data may not be recoverable by anyone other than a data recovery house with specialized tools for doing PCB swap, head swap, or Platter Analysis

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

While the drive MAY be toast, it may also just be a case of a corrupted MBR due to a viral infection. The cheapest way to confirm this is with a program called TestDisk.

You can get it (and the sources) from: http://www.cgsecurity .org/wiki/TestDisk (remove the extraneous space before .org in the URL).

This program is included in most of the recovery CDs (Hiren's, UBCD, UBCD4Win, Knoppix, etc.) and is very powerful and flexible, IFF you're comfortable using the command prompt and you're knowledgeable about disk structures.

Read the docs before you start. If you're not comfortable with this approach and your data is important to you, get local professional help.


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Reponse To Answer

by jqbecker In reply to TestDisk

The screen shots show unallocated disk, if it was just mbr, it would still show up as a disk drive letter with folders and files, Shonam66 has neither to work with.

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Reponse To Answer

by Charles Bundy In reply to TestDisk


ron is right, a screwed up MBR would basically leave you with no logical info on how the disk is partitioned.

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Use recovery software

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

Hi.. I feel that your drive might have crashed, but dont worry, by using a recovery software you can recover your drive files. I know one such good software called Drive Recovery Software.It helps you to recover all your files from the drive. it can even recover files from removable drive. for more details about the software, just click here:
You can try the trail version and thes purchase it. To download trail version, just click here:

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