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Windows Won't Recognize External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Windows OS and Software' started by lj17, Aug 12, 2008.

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  1. lj17

    lj17 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have a Western Digital 120 GB Passport. When I was removing it from the Western Digital softcase that I always keep it in, I fumbled with it an little bit and the drive fell about 12 inches onto a carpeted floor in a hotel room. When I plugged in the drive I got the message I've attached. I've tried all 4 USB ports on the laptop and with every one, the LED lights up and I can feel the drive spinning, like it always did before. Even when I unplug it, it sounds exactly like it always did as it "spins down".

    I'm running Vista 64, but tried it with another laptop that was running Vista 32 with the same result. I emailed WD and they said since I was running 64 bit I may have issues (which is not the case, because it always worked flawlessly before with Vista 64, and it didn't work on 32 bit anyway).

    I have yet to try it on my desktop with XP Pro; I won't be able to for about a week since I'm on vacation. I have data on the drive that I would really like to get off. I don't want to try the freezer trick yet, because the light lights up and the drive spins fine and isn't any louder and doesn't click or anything. I also remember dropping it once before from an even higher height (onto carpet), and it didn't hurt it at all.

    Also, the drive does not show up with the laptop hard drive under "My Computer" and also does not show up under disk management, since to Windows, it is an 'unknown device".

    Is the drive trashed? I've never had a single issue with it before, and have used it about a year. I only paid $50 for it, so I don't care if I have to replace it, I just want to be able to get my data off it. Any ideas?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2015
  2. AzalnRex

    AzalnRex Notebook Consultant

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    You may try:

    a) plug in and restart the OS; or

    b) plug in/out until the OS recognize the driver (worked with me on a external modem).
     
  3. swissalps

    swissalps Notebook Geek

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    3) Have the External Hard drive Off and your computer off. Turn on External First, then turn on your Computer.

    Other then that, go to the compainy website of your external and see if there is some kind of update or even driver downloads.

    But other then that. I am not sure, good luck. Hope you get your stuff off, I can tell you its a B*tch if you can't get your file back.

    I have as Externals (Lacie, Western Digital,Verbatim,sony)
    So you no I am running 64bit system.
     
  4. THAANSA3

    THAANSA3 Exit Stage Left

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    Have you tried plugging it into another computer to verify that it isn't a problem with the external drive or the USB/Firewire cable? I ask because when the same thing happened to me, it turned out to be the external drive itself that was corrupted and I had to return it to WD for a new one.
     
  5. oldgraygeek

    oldgraygeek Notebook Consultant

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    It didn't survive the drop.
    Sometimes, you can find and fix the partitions on the drive by running Diskpart from XP or a Windows PE CD... but probably not this time.

    Your data is about $1500 from a recovery company.
    A replacement drive can be had from WD if it's still under warranty, unless you already confessed to them that you dropped it.
     
  6. deathstick

    deathstick Notebook Evangelist

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    Hmmm...I have had similiar situations with hardware not being recognized (but not due to possible damage, etc). My suggestion is to check if the device is listed in Device manager as some unknown device. If so, then right click it in the list and select "Update Driver Software" and try the auto find option.
     
  7. dofoxaz

    dofoxaz Newbie

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    Been there! Are you trying to 'hot plug' the drive? Turn your computer off, disconnect the external drive and restart your computer WITHOUT THE EXTERNAL DRIVE CONNECTED. Turn your system off again, plug in the drive and restart your system. If this doesn't work, look in control panel for your USB port where it should be plugged in. If you see the USB port and there is a yellow triangle, try to enable the port or install a new driver. Let me know if it works for you! I have bounced my external around quite a bit.They are not indistructible, but they will take a bump or two before they 'go South' on you, so continue to be careful!
    Good Luck!
    dofoxaz
     
  8. lj17

    lj17 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks to everyone for the responses. Unfortunately, I did not get it to work yet. I have tried just about everything, including the suggestions dofoxaz made. To those who mentioned about a driver, WD said in a email that there is no driver required for external drives - they are like USB flash drives and should be plug and play; that is why they don't provide any drivers on their website.

    If I go into the device manager, the drive shows up as a Unknown Device under the USB controllers. Pictures speak better than words so I'll let them tell the story. But ultimately, if I click on driver details, I get a message that say no drivers are installed or needed. So that takes care of the driver question....

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The last thing I'm going to try is putting the drive into another enclosure. I think what may have happened when it fell is that the mini USB to SATA adapter got damaged (although, it still powers up the drive). But the drive still powers up and spins like it always did, Windows just won't recognize it. I just find it hard to believe that the drive is trashed, because it acts exactly like it always did, nothing is different hardware-wise. I also read on another forum of someone else who had the exact same problem with the exact same drive and that was the case. Maybe WD had a batch of touchy adapters....

    I've already split the plastic enclosure open, and when I get home I'll try it with XP Pro (just for the hell of it), and then in another enclosure. I'll keep you posted on what I find out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2015
  9. synic

    synic Notebook Deity

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    It probably died when you dropped it.
     
  10. dofoxaz

    dofoxaz Newbie

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    Okay, I was just at the WD website. Contrary to what some online techs tell you, there are alternatives to pnp. If I were you, I would go to the WD website, find your external drive model and download the software. I have had issues with these types of things before and sometimes downloading software from the manufacturers site fixes the problem (even tho these items are called plug and play). Files get corrupted for who knows what reason? The nature of the technical beast. Give it a try. At worst, you will just need to uninstall the software and/or driver. I have learned that there are several ways to attack any problem!
     
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