hard drive and airport xrays....

By so_ber ยท 15 replies
Dec 15, 2006
  1. hello, i have a question. i have a 250 gig hard drive i was using on my home computer as a storage drive only (Drive L). i used it as backup and transfered all my files on it before moving to japan. i took it out of the computer to use in a hard drive dock connecting to my girlfriends laptop via usb. i was in such a rush when i moved that when i took it out, i never tested it out even. but in japan, i hooked it up to the computer and it doesnt show up in 'my computer', and so i cannot access it, although i can see it when i go to manage the drives, and i see how much space is used, etc.

    i am hoping it is only a simple issue, such as identifying the drive letter, and not something more serious. (since its not my laptop, i didn't want to go into bios and mess around when i didn't know exactly what i was doing) i have another drive i use in the dock that works fine on her laptop. but this has always been used as an external drive, even at home in the states.

    note: when i packed the drives, they were in one of my checked bags, carefully packed in an small aluminum case inside a big aluminum suitcase. The one that works was in the dock, the other was in a non-static bag and wrapped in a towel. the suitcase had been opened and inspected (maybe xray'd!), i realized when i arrived, though. (before placing the hard drive in the non-static bag, i did wrap it in cellophane wrap for a short time, i don't know if this would have a negative effect on the drive or not though, but thought i'd mention it just in case.)

    i was hoping to find a tech in japan but i cant find one (or explain the situation if i ever did!)

    Thanks for any tips, advice, etc....

  2. Ididmyc600

    Ididmyc600 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,415


    I fix the Epos systems in manchester airport, we take HD's and complete PC's through the Xray and we never had any fail, so I doubt your problem is related to that.

    What worries me is that you wrapped a HD in cellophane, this isnt a good idea as it is a good conductor of static and you may have damaged the IDE controller.

    As you can see it in disk management try right clicking it and see if it can be examined or assigned a drive letter.

  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I've been through scores of airports all over the country with numerous hard drives both in checked and carried luggage. I've never lost data, so I don't think this would be an X-ray issue.

    Cellophane, on the other hand, generates a terrible amount of static electricity which is known to zap electronics at high enough voltages.

    Also, have you seen how airlines handle your luggage? If you have, then you understand why I only check-in drives when I have absolutely no space as a carry-on and have a backup at home. Between the mishandling and plane vibrations, X-rays look pretty friendly. ;)

    Scientifically, I can't work out why X-rays may damage a drive. Sounds like an urban legend perhaps. Just because they are 'electromagnetic waves', it doesn't mean they are going to re-polarize your data into oblivion. X-rays are more like light than they are like magnets. Even with magnets, from my own experiments, I've never successfully damaged data on a drive. I've used some very large and powerful earth magnets with no negative results. :)
  4. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    Same here, you don't have to worry about, nothing is going to happen, just be careful with though...
  5. so_ber

    so_ber TS Rookie Topic Starter

    cellophane and hard drives

    thank you all for your replies and advice! ok, so it seems the xraying isnt the problem. and possibly the cellophane was. i will try to assign it a drive letter in the disk manager. if i recall, i think i was having trouble getting it to do anything though. so the IDe controller is possibly damaged? is there a way to fix this or recover the info from the drive? would the information still be visable in disk manager??
  6. Jimbeau

    Jimbeau TS Rookie

    If you are trying to access the drive as a slave, it might be invisible to XP if it was an XP master drive on your previous computer and the user contents were password protected.
  7. so_ber

    so_ber TS Rookie Topic Starter

    still trying to access an unreadable external drive...

    hmmm, ok, im back here, a month later....anyway, the drive wasnt a master drive, just a storage drive. when i see it in disk management, it says its healthy (active), and tells me how much space is being used/free. There is no letter assigned to it though, and i don't see it when i click My Computer. When i right click on it in Disk Management, the only options are 1. to partition the drive and 2. help. I don't get any error messages though or anything saying it might not work properly. any other ideas????
  8. so_ber

    so_ber TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Drive still unrecognized

    Anyone? Anything??? There is some really important info on this drive that I need to get access to and the back up is packed in storage in the US. Did I mention I'm living in Japan? Is there a better site or forum for this sort of issue? Thanks for any advice!

  9. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    So when you right click on it in Disk Manager the option to Assign Drive letter is blanked out?
  10. so_ber

    so_ber TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, everything is blanked out except 'partition the drive' and 'help'....grim?
  11. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Have you tried docking this another PC? Maybe there's a compatibilty issue if the one you are trying is FAT32 and yours is NTSF or the other way around.
  12. so_ber

    so_ber TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hmm, both my laptop and the external drive are ntfs, and i have tried connecting it to another computer, and it had the same problem. this other computer is a japanese laptop, so i couldnt exactly tell what was going on, but the drive was still unrecognized.
  13. Jimbeau

    Jimbeau TS Rookie

    Even though this drive was NOT a master, if the contents were stored under a password protected user account, it might still be 'invisible' to another computer. When I had this same situation, I put the drive back into its previous spot in the original computer and deleted the original password protected account. Then, it became visible to the new computer. I guessing here, but this might only be an issue with XP Pro and not XP Home.
  14. so_ber

    so_ber TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the input, it could be the case. I am using xp home on both the current laptop, and the original desktop this hard drive was taken out of, though. I did have a password for the main user (me) and another for guest account. unfortunately i won't be able to troubleshoot for this situation, because the desktop is in storage in California! if nothing else works i wont trash this hd at least, haha!
  15. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    The only time I saw this was when I borrowed a flash stick from a friend. His stick was formatted as Fat32 and my PC is NTFS. I could "see" the drive in Disk Manager but could not assign a drive letter or access it or see in Windows XP "My Computer". But I was able to "Explore" it thru the Disk Manager and pull off the file I needed, so I never really got too deep into solving it.
  16. so_ber

    so_ber TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello! its been a long time since my last post about this but Im finally back in the states and placed the drive back in the original computer and it recognized it without a problem. i deleted the password on the administrator account and then removed the hd and put it in the hd bay and attached it to my laptop. still unreadable. should i try changing the drive letter? anything else?
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