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Computer not recognizing external HDD

Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
edited August 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Just got a new external HDD a couple weeks ago, put everything on it and now and it was working fine. Today I can't get windows to recognize it. It can tell that something is connected, I can even eject the HDD. I just can't access any of the files or even see the directory. What the hell happened?

Fizban140 on

Posts

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    Windows 7? Have you tried unplugging it/plugging it back in a few times? Or restarting? Stuff like that? Windows 7 is fiddly as heck with external hard drives.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2011
    Yeah windows 7. I tried all of that, still nothing.

    Fizban140 on
  • ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    Have you tried connecting it to another machine to see if you can isolate if the problem is with the drive or your Win7 machine?

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Just tried on another computer, it did the same exact thing. Recognizes a mass storage device, lets me install updates and then it never appears in my computer or anywhere all I can do is safely remove.

  • Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    The controller or the hdd went bad. It is going to be a physical failure. You can take it apart and try using a different controller, from an external enclosure or a docking station w/e. But its borked. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for ext hdd to go bad within a few weeks. I see it a lot.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    What a horrible technology, I haven't had a single one last a decent amount of time. I have a lot of stuff I want to get off of it, is it worth just buying an external enclosure to try and see if that fixes it? I am seriously considering going back to CD or something else. External HDD just don't seem like a technology that works.

  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    When the hard drive is plugged in and you see you can remove it, Go to the following.

    Start Menu and right click on Computer.
    Select Manage
    Expand Storage and click on Disk Management.

    What do you see? Do you see your hard drive? Is it there and "Unallocated Space"?

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    If you can get it out of the enclosure you don't even need to bother with another enclosure, you can just hook it up to your computer as a normal hard drive and see if it's the HD or the enclosure itself.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Gilbert0 wrote:
    When the hard drive is plugged in and you see you can remove it, Go to the following.

    Start Menu and right click on Computer.
    Select Manage
    Expand Storage and click on Disk Management.

    What do you see? Do you see your hard drive? Is it there and "Unallocated Space"?

    Strange...

    I see C:, DVD, and System Reserved. But I get a pop up window above all that saying "You must initialize a disc before Logical Disc Manager can access it, Select Discs: Disk 1"

  • Joe Camacho MKIIJoe Camacho MKII Registered User regular
    I have had luck with Knoppix Livecd being able to see files inside partitions and usb thumb drives that appear to be empty on windows 7, you could always try that.

    steam_sig.png I edit my posts a lot.
  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Strange, my HDD seems to be blocking my computer from booting, got stuck on the POST screen right before windows loads, I unplug the HDD and it starts right up.

  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    That actually happens with a lot of motherboards (I believe that's what affects whether or not it does it, not sure). It's not THAT hard drive, I'd bet, it's any USB drive at all. I think maybe it's because they want to boot from it, but they can't, and that breaks regular booting. Something like that.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Can I open this up without voiding the warranty? I know I am not suppose to, but I am just wondering if there is a way that they can tell if I opened it up. I have one of the new WD element.

  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    You may have to Initialize/Format it from Manage Computer -> Disk management first.

    I had to do that with my toaster external drive / hard drive.

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  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Damn, is there no way to get the information off?

  • FluffyBunniFluffyBunni Registered User
    Make sure in the Disk Management that its not trying to map itself to a drive letter thats already in use.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    It says the media is write protected when I try and initialize it.

  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Have you tried changing the drive letter, as FluffyBunni suggested, just for kicks? I had that as one of my problems in getting my external HD to work.

    Also, are you using the cord that came with the drive?

    saint2e on
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  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I don't know how.

  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    My Computer -> Manage -> Storage -> Disk management -> Right click on the Disk you think is the external drive on the bottom pane (where it says things like the space on it) -> Change Drive Letters and Paths...

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  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    That isn't an option for it.

  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    Hrrm... Funny as it may be, I've seen a couple forums where the solution was to use the usb cable that came with the thing. Have you swapped out the USB cable and are using a different one, by chance?

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  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I am using the original.

  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    That is just bizarre, then... Have you got access to another computer to see if it works on that one?

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  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Yes, I tried it already and it did not work. Identical problem actually.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Anyone else know? I am sort of fucked if I can't get this working.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    You might be able to recover the partition and the data with TestDisk.

    If you still can't detect the drive, rip the drive out of the enclosure and hook it up directly, and try it again.

    If you still can't detect the drive, throw it in the freezer overnight*. If that works, prepare for the drive to fail again after it warms up, and prioritize your data recovery accordingly.

    *Mind ice formation. Bag it up. Then mind condensation dripping in your computer from the frosty drive. You might want to let it sit on the desk rather than mounting it back in the case, if it's a problem.

    ArbitraryDescriptor on
  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2011
    I had to run as admin, still not too sure what to do with this. It is saying my HDD has a read error on all the files it scanned.

    Fizban140 on
  • AbracadanielAbracadaniel Registered User regular
    What brand is it, and what's the capacity?

    I recently picked up a Western Digital 3TB external drive and was having issues running Win7 Backup to it. Turned out they're formatted to be WinXP-friendly, which somehow borks them on a Win7 machine. Running WD's Quick Format tool fixed it.

    Not sure if it's a similar case or not, but if the scenario is similar, may be worth a shot.

  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    It was working on my computer for a couple weeks though.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    So it saw the drive? That's progress, and that means you can skip the freezer step.

    I don't know that program well enough to instruct you in it's operation. I tend to just fumble around in it like it's new each time I pick it up, but I know this: It has recovered data off broken RAID 0 sets for me, and I feel confident enough in it's abilities to suggest that if it can't get your data, there is little hope for it.

    Futz around with it some more, and I'd still hook the drive straight to your motherboard before I gave up, to take a faulty interface in the case out of the equation.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    Fizban140 wrote:
    It was working on my computer for a couple weeks though.

    These things happen. I had 2 external HDs* go out on me within days of each other after about a year of use. First one was recovered and backed up... on to the second one, which had to go in the freezer. Several times.

    *(WD MyBooks: I don't care what they change, I will never buy a Western Digital branded external drive again. Fuck you**)

    **(Raptors are cool though)

  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    You might be able to recover the partition and the data with TestDisk.

    If you still can't detect the drive, rip the drive out of the enclosure and hook it up directly, and try it again.

    If you still can't detect the drive, throw it in the freezer overnight*. If that works, prepare for the drive to fail again after it warms up, and prioritize your data recovery accordingly.

    *Mind ice formation. Bag it up. Then mind condensation dripping in your computer from the frosty drive. You might want to let it sit on the desk rather than mounting it back in the case, if it's a problem.

    I gotta know ... how does this help? Seriously, I'm just curious.
    (this sounds sarcastic but I'm not trying to be!)

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  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    You might be able to recover the partition and the data with TestDisk.

    If you still can't detect the drive, rip the drive out of the enclosure and hook it up directly, and try it again.

    If you still can't detect the drive, throw it in the freezer overnight*. If that works, prepare for the drive to fail again after it warms up, and prioritize your data recovery accordingly.

    *Mind ice formation. Bag it up. Then mind condensation dripping in your computer from the frosty drive. You might want to let it sit on the desk rather than mounting it back in the case, if it's a problem.

    I gotta know ... how does this help? Seriously, I'm just curious.
    (this sounds sarcastic but I'm not trying to be!)

    the freezer trick? it works because a common cause of failure for HDD's is the reading arm gets it's alignment messed up and jams into the platter, so freezing your drive causes it to shrink just enough to allow it to spin, and than you can grab data off the drive until it warms up enough to cause the clearance problem to come back. it doesn't really fix the drive, just gives you a few minutes to grab anything really important off it.

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  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    It seems to fuck up again after a little while, so it has to have something to do with thermal contraction/expansion. I theorize that it tightens things up that have slowly deformed/shifted out of alignment, but I honestly don't know.

    It's like how fishermen learn to pee on a jellyfish sting. Some old grizzled geek told me to try it once, it worked, and now I pass it on to others.

    The question you should be asking is: If frozen pee can fix hard drives AND jellyfish stings, why is there no mention of it in Google's plans for a floating data center?

    What do they know that we don't?

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