XP Pro. not detecting External USB HD - please help, I've tried everything :(

By takearushfan ยท 7 replies
Dec 17, 2005
  1. Hi all,
    I have an External Hard Drive hooked up via USB. I'm running Windows XP. I recently reformatted my computer and started as "freshly" as possible.
    When I turn the HD on, Windows will make a sound to indicate that it acknowledges the drive... the same thing happens when I turn the drive off. When I initially turned on the drive, Windows installed it with no problems and I could use it fine... it was assigned to "F" in "My Computer". I then began installing all the programs I had prior to reformatting, installing Windows updates, etc. I did so much "up to date" work that I honestly don't recall when my problem occurred. However, I do notice the problem now and I'm surprised I have any hair left.
    Windows no longer shows the drive in "My Computer". Though, when I turn the drive on/off, Windows still does the "I noticed it" thing. I've read so much on the topic and have tried so much that I don't know what to do anymore.
    I tried restoring to a previous save point and no luck. I tried repairing Windows via the XP CD and no luck. The drive didn't come with any drivers, but I don't think that matters, because, as I said above, it already had installed fine and I used to be able to access it. I tried each USB port and no luck. I tried safe mode, no luck. I used disk management to see if the drive was listed and it ISN'T. I used a utility called "Belarc" that DID report the drive. I looked in the device manager and there are no "problem spots" anywhere. When the drive is turned on, the device manager DOES show the drive and says all is well. I went to "properties" and clicked on "populate" (though I honestly don't know what it does). Populate claims that all is well, the drive is online, etc. I've tried uninstalling/reinstalling the drivers to the HD and to the controllers, no help. This isn't a problem with too little/too much power to the ports or such.
    As I said, I've done a ton already to try to resolve this issue, so I probably am leaving out a ton of other things I tried, simply 'cause I can't remember them all.
    Not to sound pessimistic, but I've tried so many things that I have a hard time believing that anyone here will be able to help - though, obviously I'm trying anyway or I wouldn't be posting this.
    I need a miracle here, as I simply cannot imagine what else to try. It feels as if Bill Gates himself would be clueless!
    *ramble mode off*
    Sorry for the venting, but I'm so very lost. Please help :-/
    Thanks in advance,
    EDIT - I looked again at the disk management and it DOES show the drive. However, it says it's unallocated and has a black bar across the display. It wants me to format it, but obviously I don't want to do that, as it would delete all on my external HD. And, of course, I can't access the drive if it isn't formatted.
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Does it work correctly in other computers?

    If it's a 3.5" hdd, I'd try removing it from the external case and testing it in IDE bus. With a 2.5" hdd you'd need an adapter. Of course that would void any warranty left...
  3. takearushfan

    takearushfan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The drive does work on other computers. It is a 3.5", but I have no idea how to hook it up to the IDE bus.
    I appreciate the reply :),
  4. kenyee

    kenyee TS Rookie Posts: 24

    Try all the different USB ports? Sometimes, you have to install the USB drivers that the motherboard comes with, especially if you did a reinstalled Windows from scratch. If you get lucky, some of the USB ports don't need the driver.

    p.s., you should look for the USB driver for your motherboard if it has one :)
  5. takearushfan

    takearushfan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did try all the USB ports. I installed all the drivers from the motherboard's CD. It looks like I didn't need any USB drivers for any of the ports, other than the ones that Windows provided. The motherboard's CD didn't offer any USB drivers. I'm still lost :(
    - Justin
  6. kenyee

    kenyee TS Rookie Posts: 24

    I'd suggest you connect it to another computer and back up all the stuff on it, then format it on your computer. For some reason, your computer wants to write a "formatted" tag to the drive.

    Once you do this, you can restore your data back to it though I'd consider getting another USB drive enclosure at this point. Something weird obviously happened to this one...
  7. takearushfan

    takearushfan TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm not sure what's wrong with it, but I probably should get a new one. Though, after all this, I'm not sure I trust them *shrug*
  8. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    makes you wonder how these drives are formatted from factory
    or could it be data corruption internal to xp on large drives
    USB in paticular.
    before xp I ran W$K for 4 years last 2 I had a usb optical drive setup
    switched to xp the drive went bad in 2 weeks
    strange coincidence?
    I do use the usb with a forensics attachment for data recovery it has so far always worked ,when connecting client HDD's
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