Seems Complicated But Maybe Not... USB External HDD disappears.

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by MrD666, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. MrD666

    MrD666 MDL Novice

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Hi All,

    Ive been a reader of MDL blog and forums, but never registered until now. I got a particular issue thats bothering me and it revolves around USB drives.

    I bought a new computer in May of 2008. It was working smooth without fail, even under Vista Ultimate (believe it or NOT!) and then all of the sudden... I started having USB problems. I got a WD SATA External 500 GB HDD thats running on USB (plugged in the back of the system). Until this past Friday, Oct. 31st 2008, everything was fine. Id turn it on and it would show up in the system properties and my computer, via Winrar, and XYplorer. Now, I turn it on and it dont show up at all.

    I think the issue started when I attached my wifes PSP to the computer via USB port in the front. The external is plugged into the back. Strangely enough I did this before many times with no problems, and no changing of the drive letter, etc. This time it changed the drives letter from K to L. And it become unavailable. A restart solved this issue (showing up) BUT (though not the drive letter change its still L), I like to turn it off and on (no need to have this external on when I don't use it? right?). Anyway, now if I turn it off, and turn it on, it disappears and does not even show up. Only a system reboot helps.

    I want to point out I did tons of diagnostic tests with Western Digital tools, and others, to check if the HDD was somehow failing and it passed everything. I'm quite computer literate so this perplexes me, as to why all of the sudden it did this. I'm running Windows Vista Ultimate SP1. The external HDD is the same as my internal one, a SATA 500 GB. I know I could put the external into my box and all will be sweet but I don't want to do it.

    I'm curious how the PSP not only changed the drive letter but made it completely useless, when they co-existed many times in the past.

    Any clue?

    If you could please toss me a bone or point me into the right direction Id be very happy. I did extensive google searches for this topic and seriously got nothing that could be applied to my situation.

    Thanks in advance.

    Chuck
     
  2. Suicide Solution

    Suicide Solution MDL Addicted

    Apr 29, 2008
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    What else is connected to the USB ports besides the USB drive and PSP? A printer or scanner , etc?

    Most modern power supply's seem to have the most amps dedicated to the 12v output instead of the 5v, unlike older PSU's that were the opposite.

    You may be maxing the on board USB voltage and may need to get a external powered USB hub to connect all those things up without issues.
     
  3. MrD666

    MrD666 MDL Novice

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Nothing else...

    Thanks for the reply Suicide Solution much appreciated.

    To answer your question: I have nothing else attached, as the only thing thats always attached is the USB drive, which is naturally externally powered (it has its own power supply).

    I'm still unable to get it to show up just based simply on turning it off and on... no matter what I do. I could do a system roll back, but I'm worried I would forget some of the updates to the software and other stuff I have done along the way. :mad:

    Its really strange it just stopped working. I have continued my search on google and other places, with no luck. I have a concern that its power supply related or my card reader is acting weird (internal), since I wouldn't read the PSP memory card and the SD card recently either. :mad:

    Thanks again,

    Chuck
     
  4. datcat

    datcat MDL Member

    Sep 10, 2008
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    #4 datcat, Nov 12, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
    I assume that you have updated drivers, checking: start>control panel>system>Hardware TAB>Device Manager>View Devices by connection><computername>ACPI Multiprocessor PC>Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System>PCI bus>USB Universal/Enhanced Host Controller Update...
    -Any yellow icons, uninstalled devices warnings?

    Did you also check: start>control panel>Computer Management>Disk Management?
    -Here you can change driveletters of connected drives...

    -What happens if you connect the same external disk to another PC?
    -What happens if you connect another external disk to the new PC?

    As I had USB-problems once with wxp and one externally connected HDD I used "USBInfo v1.3.0.0" (some years ago) to diagnose.

    I ended up finding that my "USB-IDE-adapter" had given up it's previously reliable service and now was operating - but unreliably.
    -Switching "USB-IDE-adapter" was the solution for me back then...
    ...
     
  5. Suicide Solution

    Suicide Solution MDL Addicted

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    Something else you can try is to uninstall the USB ports within Device Manager and then reboot and let Windows re-install them. If your mouse is USB you may have to use the keyboard functions to restart the PC.
     
  6. MrD666

    MrD666 MDL Novice

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Hmm...

    First Thanks DATCAT for your reply.

    I was aware of the disk manager, but not aware of the first one. Well sorta, but not that deep. I did as you said, and I checked all of the drivers and according to the check, the drivers was listed as up to date by Windows, using both local and online checking solutions. Maybe I could post a screen shot? Maybe I missed something, as I'm knowledgeable to some degree, but not totally... since I wasn't aware of this. :confused:

    When I connect it to our laptop, which is running Vista Home Premium on an AMD64 X2, it shows up and runs fine, nearly instantly. I tried it again on my "box" as the laptop belongs to my wife, and it didn't ID, only a reboot would ID it. Totally weird. :mad:

    I will look into the possibility of the USB-IDE adaptor solution, but both of the HDD are SATA, and I have a SATA adaptor. Does that matter at all? I would assume so.

    In a rather weird development, I attempted to read my 2 SD cards for our Windows Mobile based phones, and neither one of the cards would READ in the internal card reader (attached via USB). However, when I stuck the cards into the USB port it works and ID's fine... as well as both of our pen drives. The SD cards we got are dual, SD, and USB, but this was weird too, as they WAS WORKING too, and NOW are not.

    I'm asking your honest opinion gentlemen, does this seem like there is some sort of "faulty" USB device problem, perhaps internal, or on the Mobo that we are unaware of? Upon further inspection as far as I can tell, via Windows and Drivers reports all systems are functioning properly, and nothing is showing up on the device manager as ? or ! so it seems to be running OK.

    Really strange... thanks again, I really do appreciate your feedback and assistance.

    Chuck
     
  7. MrD666

    MrD666 MDL Novice

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Interesting thought...

    Once again, thanks Suicide Solution for that suggestion.

    Thats a very interesting thought, and I didnt think about it, but my mouse is USB, so when I said nothing else is attached, I was wrong! Im seriously considering this option.

    In an additional note: This past weekend, AVG Free on my wifes laptop, had some sort of weird update, as I'm sure you may of heard of affecting WinXP, well this update caused a lot of my wifes purchased Reflexive Games to not work and ID as viruses. I used system restore function and got rid of AVG and everything worked perfectly. I'm also seriously considering rolling the system back, as I have a lot of "shadow copies" (from previous Windows Updates, and other major system changes saved) so perhaps I could just roll it back, and do the updates again on the software that I mentioned.

    Generally I use mostly open source programs, and support the developers and stay away from the big companies. I think that in the end this maybe my only choice.

    What do you think? As it clearly worked, as her games played fine after being ruined by AVG, which was replaced with AVAST. I know this goes off topic sorta, but it is an illustration of the system restore feature working.

    Thanks again, looking forward to your reply.

    Chuck
     
  8. Suicide Solution

    Suicide Solution MDL Addicted

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  9. Suicide Solution

    Suicide Solution MDL Addicted

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    #9 Suicide Solution, Nov 13, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
    One other thing, if you do drive in and do a restore or reinstall and it doesnt help. You may wanna have a look inside the power supply for bad capacitors which may be causing some weird issues. That is far fetched, but ive seen things happen like this with faulty PSU's. but not with USB, it was the cd drive taking days off.

    Another option is an addon USB 2.0 PCI card.

    If none of the above work it could be a faulty USB cord that connects the external drive to the machine or the USB interface inside the external HDD case is suspect.
     
  10. MrD666

    MrD666 MDL Novice

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Clean Install...

    Well, Suicide Solution I had made a clean install disc of Vista (I really don't want to revert back to Win XP, as we got another older computer with Win XP that we use and its slow as hell!) but I didn't want to do this cause of my numerous system tweaks and the sheer amount of time it takes.

    About the external drive, I have done a lot of testing on it, including lending it to my best friend here in Poland, whom works at Asus in the Technical Dept. He gave it a ton of tests and said nothing really stuck out.

    Now don't take it wrong, I know its inevitable sometimes, but I'm not too sure this is one of them. However your not the only one that suggested this, as my wife did too. I'm considering it and not dismissing your suggestion. I would say its most likely the last resort, in particular if this totally stops working, which is possible... at this rate.

    The 2nd reply, about the power supply is very VERY POSSIBLE. I didn't even think about this, but our first time with the box right after we purchased it in May of 2008, our POWER SUPPLY (brand new too!) clunked out on us (June 3rd 2008) and the we did a service visit and they gave us a NEW ONE. I was curious about it, cause it seemed not that new, and I questioned them, and they got aggressive (typical behavior here in Poland) when you question them. I'm an American living here with my wife, and I told them, point blank we don't take SH*T from stupid repair people like the others do. This was AFTER the REPAIR not before ;) of course.

    Regardless I was having some slight, but enough thoughts that the PSU could be the suspect. Perhaps another service visit is in line for this POS. The sad part of all of this is, that the computer is working extremely smooth, fast, and efficient minus this. Id hate to have to do a another return, but thats what warranties are for after all. Strangely enough, if it ends up returned 3 times in Poland during the term of the warranty period, according to my wife, whom a long time ago, like 8 yrs or so, worked in a computer company, they must replace it (the entire system) free of charge. So maybe we can get a new system of this :)

    HAHAHA, sorry for going off topic again, its just some of the suggestions posed within, cause my mind to think in many different directions. Once again, thank you for your insight... I'm not sure what to do now, but I think its either going to be, a service return, or clean install. The clean install will take less time overall, but more time, in the end.

    Much Regards,

    Chuck
     
  11. datcat

    datcat MDL Member

    Sep 10, 2008
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    #11 datcat, Nov 13, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2017
    So, then your external SATA-HDD connection MUST BE via "USB-SATA adapter" or equal external "SATA-HDD cabinette".

    In my opinion the best ones are "USB-IDE/SATA adapters". Then you are flexible hooking up to an older "IDE HDD" as well as a newer "SATA HDD" system! Compare with this post...

    I totally agree with Suicide Solution's post #8!

    On a new system, before you:
    -plug it to the internet,
    -tweak, or change anything...
    => MAKE AN "original state image backup" AND TEST IT, to be sure you can roll your system back, and restore it, if ever needed!

    BEFORE AND AFTER any INSTALLS AND UPDATES:
    -continue to do "image backups" regularly
    -when they "grow old" just save major ones and delete the rest
    -how many backups you need to keep is up to your needs
    -how many backups you need to recycle, too
    -by using external media, you do NOT run out of space... :):eek:
     
  12. Suicide Solution

    Suicide Solution MDL Addicted

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  13. MrD666

    MrD666 MDL Novice

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Sorry for the late REPLY...

    Hi Gentlemen,

    I am sorry for my lack of (or late reply) to your fine and great help and assistance. I didn't blow you off or discount your help and advice. Oh no... The last few days have been extremely tough for me, plus we are trying to find a new place to live and its hard as hell given the current global climate, even here in POLAND where it really hasn't been hit (honest)... no need to get into this here, cause I am not looking for symphony only a resolution to my computer issue :)

    Anyway, until I have the time to do a clean install, which seems to be the only TRUTHFUL solution, I can only say this, once again, thanks for your dedication and support. I do appreciate it.

    I will try to update this once I do it, hopefully soon... thanks again.

    Chuck :)