Primary hard drive boots in laptop but isn't recognized when used as external drive

By inquiringmind4u
Dec 20, 2011
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  1. Hello,

    I have a Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop. I have an image of the entire hard drive that I created when I first got the computer (using Acronis TrueImage), and I'd like to restore that image, returning the laptop back to that fresh, clean original state. I've done this two or three times before and it worked great each time.

    But now there's a problem. Normally I would connect to the laptop a USB storage/backup drive that has the disk image, boot the laptop from a Rescue Media CD created by Acronis, then restore that disk image from the back-up drive onto the laptop's HDD.

    When I tried it this time round, the laptop's HDD was not listed in TrueImage at all. I created a new rescue media disk, tried it again, and got the same result.

    I then took the HDD out of the laptop, connected it to an adapter kit that let's you power up and plug in the drive via a USB port and external power supply, and tried the same procedure using my desktop to run the operation. Same result. The drive was not detected by Acronis.

    The drive does not seem to spin up at all when it is connected.

    ** Keep in mind the drive still works when installed in the laptop -- it boots into Windows XP etc. **

    When I plug the drive into my desktop, the drive does not show up in Disk Management (Start | Right-click My Computer | Manage | Disk Management). It doesn't show up in either of the two right-side windows. (so there's no way I know of to format it or do any work on it in Windows)

    When I go to Device Manager | Disk Drives, I see "USB Device" for that drive, and under Properties it is listed as "Disk Drives" for "Device Type" and its status says it is working properly.

    So what I don't get is, it works fine when it is in the laptop (boots into XP, etc.), but when connected as an external drive or when the laptop is being run off of CD, the drive can't be detected... and not on just one computer, but multiple.

    Is it junk?

    Any ideas?
  2. ITLogicSystems

    ITLogicSystems TS Enthusiast Posts: 106

    It's a power issue. Had the same issue taking a 2.5" laptop hdd and attempting to hook up w/ a passive usb sata hdd cable. my recommendation is to use a powered usb sata cable. like this one: having proper power will allow the USB bus to detect and power the hdd correctly. Hope this helps, take care!

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