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external HD not recognized by computer?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by vesperholly, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    I plugged my external HD directly into my new LCD TV to see if it would work. Usually I go through my WD TV Live box, but I'm an idiot. It said "unsupported device" so I unplugged it.

    Now the drive won't show up on any of my devices. I can't see it at all on WD TV Live or my WinXP computer, my laptop "sees" it but only in device management - where it wants me to initialize (erase) the disk. :scream:

    Is there any way to recover my HD, or am I completely screwed?
  2. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    A while ago I went throu a similar situation.

    Best advice I got, which worked, is the boldest one: unplug all your stuff. Then plug it all in back, starting from the wall plugs, going in to your laptop USB port - but try choosing a different USB port than the usual one.

    -- Before doing all that, if you could use a pc cleaner - Ace Utilities works really well with XP - it might also help.

    -- Now I have a question: I have an hard drive (A Lacie Big Disk from 7 years ago) that slowly stopped showing up when I switch it on. I guess it sort of died. Is there anything I can do? Are there people that recover them?
  3. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

    I'm not sure if that would be worth it.

    But are you sure the drive is physically dead? Download Lacie's Desktop Manager and see if the drive shows up in it.
  4. pp55

    pp55 Active Member

    Well, there are many details you didn't describe, for example, the brand of your HD.

    If I have a problem with my computer, I usually google the problem. For example:
    "external hard drive not recognized by windows"
    This gives you several links:

    I checked one of them and there is a solution:
    The resolution was to:

    Plug in and turn on the external USB hard drive
    Right mouse click on My Computer
    Left click on Manage
    Left click on Device Manager
    Expand the USB list
    Find the USB device for your USB Hard Drive (in my case it was the one that had no description)
    Right mouse click - Uninstall
    Turn off the external USB hard drive
    Turn on the external USB hard drive and let it find and install the driver
    It should work

    This may or may not work for you. Usually I have to do more search. Sometimes it takes me almost an hour to find the exact problem and ... some sort of solution.
  5. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    Unfortunately, it would - for me.
    There's all my Sasha Cohen plus some personal stuff I cherish, neither of which was backed up, for practical reasons.

    Thanks a lot - and pp55 too.

    I'll try everything. The Lacie Big Disk simply doesn't show up on any of my computers, new or old. Even the ones it used to show up perfectly fine on.

    It started breaking information a few times, when I tried to play the biggest video without saving them on pc first. Then it would only show up some times, then only on some specific ports, and then nothing. It turns on, but it doesn't make the settling sound it used to make once the pc was seeing the files, and it doesn't show up.

    pp55, I usually google problems too. I don't know why I didn't with this one, maybe I just really thought it was gone, maybe that's the one time I would not have known what to type in.
  6. acraven

    acraven Well-Known Member

    I've had really bad luck with external hard drives: When they aren't recognized by my computer, they turn out to be totally dead (as declared by my techie brother). However, if nothing else works, you can try removing the disk from its current enclosure and putting it in a new one. I'm told that sometimes the disk itself is OK, but some other part of the appartus has failed. You can get a new enclosure in the $20-$30 range, I think.

    I wish you luck. I now own two external drives and swap them back and forth at least once a day (can't plug them both in at the same time), because I absolutely do not trust them. And I paid for a 3-year extended warranty on the last one I bought, something I think is usually not justified. Still, I don't rely on external drives for anything really critical. If it's all that important, I burn it to DVD as well as putting it on the external drives. That sounds like overkill, but based on my experience, it isn't.
  7. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    It didn't. I googled for ages and couldn't come up with anything. I've emailed my father's tech support friend, hopefully he'll have a solution. Otherwise I'll just wipe it and start over (if it is indeed not a brick now).

    Thankfully the drive was only functioning as a data backup and TV/movie file storage. :scream: at the thought of re-downloading 15 seasons of Law & Order and tracking down the 1995 Riverdance production again, but *shrug*.

    I wouldn't be so nonchalant if all my skating photography was stored there and only there — its original home is a secondary HD on my desktop and I really ought to burn all 200GB of it to DVD, too. Digital files make me so nervous. Deletion in the blink of an eye ...
  8. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

    That didn't turn out very practical. ;)

    Anyway, there are companies who extract data from dead/broken drives. It would probably cost you hundreds of dollars.

    First, let's determine whether or not the drive is dead. When you turn it on and touch it, can you feel any anything?

    Does the drive have a power supply? I read some of the Big Disks had a power supply problem that would prevent a computer from seeing the drive. Getting a new power supply from Lacie solved the problem.

    If it connects to the computer through a USB cable, try another USB cable (you can buy them for $3 or so at Best Buy, etc. But I'm sure you already have some that came with other devices)

    And BTW, by not being able to see the drive, do you mean that if you connect/turn it on it doesn't show up in the taskbar? Nothing pops up, etc.? Or that you can't find it anywhere in the computer (in Device Manager, etc.)

    If you haven't, check the Device Manager and the Lacie Desktop Manager I gave you a link to and let us know.
  9. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    Back then, I really didn't have options. Plus, I believed the problem was just with particular pc I used to connect the disk to.

    I think I will pay what it takes, if nothing else works out.

    Definitely, yes. The light turns on, and the disk buzzes. It buzzes like it used to when it was settling, only it never settles.

    Thae Disk has supplies, I can definitely try using different cables from other Lacies disks, thought since the light turns on and the disk buzzes, I'm thing supply is there.

    I'll do that. - As for now, when I switch it on nothing at all shows up, and I think I can't see anywhere in the computer.

    But I'll verify all options as soon as I can, and I'll get back. Thanks a lot.

    Thanks a lot, I really appreciate that.