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External drive not recognized despite my day long attempt at Google fu

By Datphotographer ยท 14 replies
Sep 10, 2014
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  1. This issue started when I was connected to it and while accessing it, I touched the cable and it disconnected. Since that, no luck in finding the external drive to access it. I've been using it for a a year, and although a touch of the cable caused a disconnect, it still worked well. The device shows up nowhere on my laptop, which I use to edit my photographs.

    Here's a screenshot showing device manager, disk management, etc. (http://I.imgur.com/8u2ezzj.png)

    The hard drive is a WD MyBook Essential 1TB that is named "Local Disk E" on my laptop.

    I should mention, the hard drive's light is on when I plug it to the computer, and will idly blink. The light is off if not connected to a computer, even if it is plugged in to a power source.

    My troubleshooting steps:

    1. Use different cables-- did not work

    2. Connect it to other USB ports-- did not work.

    3. Connect other devices (iPhone and a different WD hard drive)-- all devices work on all ports

    4. Check for presence in disk management and device manager-- nothing there (so I can't change the drive letter)

    5. Remove all USB drivers and reinstall using Intel 3.0 USB driver set obtained from Asus' website using my computer model (Asus G75VW)(http://www.service.asus.com/#!downloads/c1wax)-- did not work

    6. Install drivers obtained from WD support website (link to model)(http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=125&lang=en)-- did not work

    7. Shut down, disconnect then start up and connect hard drive-- did not work

    8. Change cables and test-- nothing wrong with cables

    9. The biggest f you of them all: connect the same hard drive to another laptop-- works flawlessly.

    I am at a complete loss on what to do.
  2. oliverpowell

    oliverpowell TS Enthusiast Posts: 26

    What do you mean by the point #9. Did it really worked well on different computers? Have you replaced cable or anything before connecting it to different computer?

    The reason I'm asking it because you've already tried everything we could suspect off for the external hard drive to not work properly.

    Instead of connecting it externally, try connecting it directly to the motherboard using SATA/IDE cable and see if it may start properly and allows you to see your data properly.

    In worst case, you can take help from the WD support professional or alternatively, can ask for returns if the hard drive is in warranty.

    Good luck though!!
  3. Datphotographer

    Datphotographer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The driver installed quickly and I accessed a couple of pictures on the hard drive just to be sure it works. I did this a couple of times.

    I have a laptop and I'm not courageous enough to get to the mobo. I asked WD support but still nothing so far; it is out of warranty too :\. I checked this guide (https://www.techspot.com/community/...ix-unassigned-drive-letter.122125/#post720762) and nothing helped!!

    Thank you, oliverpowell.
  4. Techpumpkin_WD

    Techpumpkin_WD TS Member

    Hi there,

    The first interesting thing that I see in your findings is that the drive is working properly when connected to a different machine. That pretty much rules out the faulty drive/enclosure option. So no need to remove it from the enclosure for now. It's also good to know that most WD external drives have hardware encryption, so once the drive is left without its enclosure, the data cannot be accessed anymore. The OS will see it, but it won't be able to read it.

    At first I thought it could be a signature collision issue as you have another WD drive, but in this case the My Book drive would be listed in Disk Management. And according to your screenshot it isn't, so we can rule out this one as well.

    Second interesting thing is that the drive is not listed in Device Manager. Hmm. Have you checked if the BIOS sees it?.
  5. Datphotographer

    Datphotographer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I don't know how to check for it! Can you guide me through it?
  6. Datphotographer

    Datphotographer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I went through the BIOS but I didn't see anything that would let me know what hard drives I have connected. The only thing that could be it was the option "SATA configuration" which shows my two internal hard drives and my CD-ROM, but not the working and non-working external hard drives that are connected at this moment. Any thoughts on how to proceed? The BIOS type is american megatrends (?) and it's an Asus computer
  7. Techpumpkin_WD

    Techpumpkin_WD TS Member

    The layout for different BIOS versions is different so I cannot give you a step by step guide. However they all follow the same logic. Don't worry that you don't see your external drives listed under SATA configuration - it shows only the devices that are connected with a SATA interface. What you need to look for is the USB (interface/configuration) as your external drives are connected using a USB connection.
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    They sell a external USB adapter for all HDD types cost less than $20 buck online. I have one of those because one HDD fail to start in one of desktops here. I had use it a file server. Using the USB adapter which comes HDD PSU it was quickly seen by Windows 7 and loaded up the HDD where I could see all the folders and files. When this happens this is a good time to move all data off that failing HDD to either NAS or another working HDD. The HDD controller on your MOBO (motherboard) is tricky at times if there is issue with HDD it won't allow you to access that HDD.
  9. Techpumpkin_WD

    Techpumpkin_WD TS Member

    Using the drive with a different enclosure is a good troubleshooting option. However most of WD external HDDs ( My Book included) have hardware encryption. So once the HDD is removed from it's enclosure the data won't be accessible any more. But you can still format the drive and use it.
  10. Datphotographer

    Datphotographer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    There was a place that said "USB configuration." I clicked it and it had two options, one of which was Legacy USB support [Enabled] and the other had Smart auto enabled. Nothing about which USBs were connected. Along with the messed up hard drive, I connected a USB stick, and only the stick shows up as a boot option.

    I just want to add that I hooked up the bad hard drive to the other laptop's several USB ports. The hard drive will connect on only two of the three available ones... I backed up all the data on the hard drive and did a full format, updated it through the WD firmware updater and I tried to connect to my laptop. It did not work.

    As for the link you provided in the PM, I have it open since I joined and have tried all of the options short of checking for malware/viruses. Nothing worked. Maybe I didn't fully go through it but I tried the majority of the options listed if anything.

    How do you think I should proceed?
  11. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    Sounds like they don't want you to tamper with the HDD inside, and to send it back for them to fix the issue. Have you called into WD Tech support and see if they can save your data and fix your issue?
  12. Datphotographer

    Datphotographer TS Rookie Topic Starter

  13. Techpumpkin_WD

    Techpumpkin_WD TS Member

    It seems to me that there could be some kind of physical damage on the USB port on the device. It really looked like a driver issue, but if all old drivers are properly removed, we can exclude this possibility. I strongly suspect the your BIOS shows only bootable USB devices, so we cannot be a 100% sure about it.
    At this point I would also contact our live support for ideas.

    Don't forget to keep us posted on that :)

    Usually I don't recommend removing the drive from the enclosure, because this voids the warranty. Connecting the HDD directly via SATA will prove to us whether it's the drive or the enclosure that is causing the trouble, but it won't help with getting the data back because of the encryption. And if any of the above is indeed faulty there will be no option to replace it anymore (if still in warranty).
  14. Datphotographer

    Datphotographer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey there, Techpumpkin_WD!

    I was trying to connect the hard drive to my laptop, and it fell on its side. When I connected it, I got a connection to my laptop and it seemed to be just fine. I tried it again on another day and it stopped working. I do think it is more of a connection issue. I opened the plastic cover to see if there is anything loose but saw nothing. The hard drive is out of warranty, hence wanting to see if I can tell anything loose. Part of me wants to give up on it, since I can't really fix it myself. How do you suggest I proceed, Techpumpkin_WD?
  15. Techpumpkin_WD

    Techpumpkin_WD TS Member

    As I previously said I suspect that there is some kind of physical damage that is causing issues. I'm sorry to say that, but in such case there is nothing else I can suggest.

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