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The case of the disappearing hard drive in Windows XP

By wildman6801
Mar 30, 2008
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  1. This may sound a little bit funny but over the last several days one of my USB Hard drives has been disappearing from My Computer. I have checked inside of Computer Managment to see it is their and it says it has to initialize it (aka format).

    So I used a program called GetDataBack for NTFS Version 2.31 and when it is in the middle of scanning the drive, the drive letter appears again. Only to find a few hours later it is gone in My Computer and an unallocated drive in Computer Management saying it has to initialize it. I can't figure this out, I have ran a scandisk on the drive and booted into Windows Recovery to perform a scandisk but it doesn't go away. I have had this drive for almost a year without any problems. I am wondering if it could be the drive failing or some other hardware issue? I am attaching my Event Viewer System log.
  2. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 574

    Initializing a disk does not format the disk.
    The disk is assigned a drive letter and should then autoplay.
  3. Michelle2

    Michelle2 TS Rookie Posts: 62

    If you can see it in Computer management could you try giving it a different drive letter. Maybe its conflicting with another drive?
  4. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,916   +9

    Is the USB drive a 2.5" one, without its own power supply?

    How is it connected to the PC - via a USB hub, or directly to mainboard's USB ports?

    Have you tried plugging it to different USB ports?
  5. wildman6801

    wildman6801 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 81

    I have it plugged directly into the USB ports on the back of the computer. The drive itself is showing up in Computer Managment but not the partition. It says I have to initialized it. It shows up as unallocated space.

    I have found out a solution to fix the problem. I have unplugged the drive from the computer and removed the power cord from the back of the drive and replugged the power cord back in and then plugged it into the back of the computer and it seems to have fix the problem.

    I don't understand what the problem was! I am hoping it was a one time occurance and not something that happens a lot because it is annoying if it happens when saving a file to the hard drive. Something like this can data loose. I am wondering if it is a Windows XP issue or the external hard drive. I own quite a few external hard drives and have never come across this kind of problem.

    Any thoughts??
  6. Malditohon

    Malditohon TS Rookie Posts: 40

    have you tried pluggin other devices like flash drives to the same usb drive that you plug your usb hdd? maybe its the connection likewise. try changing the wires or use another port.

    be creative.
  7. wildman6801

    wildman6801 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 81

    I tried plugging in another device into the same USB port but it worked just fine. I even swapped out the cable to make sure it wasn't that. I'm thinking it might be the drive controller inside the USB hard drive or the hard drive itself. Interesting thing is that I did do a scan disk on the hard drive and found no errors.

    I just had an intersting thing happen to my system. I lost another USB hard drive on a separate usb card. I have two different PCI 5-port USB 2.0 cards in my system. I'm thinking it may be the operating system that is causing this problem. Because I doubt that two different hard drives on two separate cards would have the same problem.

    I'm wondering if any one has ran into this kind of problem with Windows XP. Currently I have 10 external hard drives attached to 2 different 5-port USB 2.0 cards. I'm wondering if windows might be having a problem with so many hard drives attached. They are all running thru PCI which I believe has a limit of 166MHZ bandwidth. All 10 hard drives are not being read or written to at the same time.
  8. Malditohon

    Malditohon TS Rookie Posts: 40

    maybe you are right, windows xp capabilities maybe limited to a maximum of how many gig of your hdd. correct me if i'm wrong. also 10 external hdd connected at ones on a 2 different 5 port USB could maybe cause a bottleneck in the network.

    what i remember is that although USB drive uses a serial type of connection but i think its a bit to much for the usb to handle too big address and data bus at one time, then to think that you use all five connections.
  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    You might simply be drawing too much power from the ports, especially if the HDDs do not have any external power.
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,539   +301

    Windows can handle 10 external drives without problems, the only possible problem would be if they were all containing multiple partitions that Windows could read.
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