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Windows 7: Portable USB drive not working. Please help!

18 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Portable USB drive not working. Please help!

A long while ago I purchased a Western Digital MyBook USB hard drive that required a power source from a wall outlet. After working for two years it failed. The computer I ran it on was Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. I plugged it into my Father's Windows Vista 32-bit machine and it showed up right away. I thought maybe there was a problem with that drive on Windows 7, plus I was tired of the AC adapter, so I bought a 500GB portable Toshiba hard drive..

I plugged it into the same machine my old one died on, and it would appear for a short while, and then disappear. Then re-appear, and disappear again. All while making that USB "Bee-boop" noise. Like it was going crazy. I've tried different cables, and I've tried all available ports. I've tested it on my Father's Vista machine, and it worked there. Now I was wondering if it was just my motherboard gone bad. I decided to build a new computer. I installed all the drivers for everything and then plugged the USB hard drive in. (Into ports that OTHER devices are working on). The drive powers up and the activity light flashes for about one second, and then turns off. The drive still spins, but the light goes off. And Windows acts like nothing ever happened. After unplugging it and re-plugging it back in to different ports, my computer actually just instantly restarts.

It can't be a bad drive, because it works on other machines. My copy of Windows hasn't even been installed for 24 hours yet, and it's already not working. After trying over 50 times, ONCE the activity light actually stayed on and the drive appeared and I was able to browse. This is great, (but it fell from my lap, unplugged, and restarted the PC). Even still, I don't want to recover my data, I just want to USE the drive I paid for.

Any ideas?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Jan 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Okay I'll give Toshiba a call. The drive is spinning just fine, it doesn't sound violent or broken in any way. It shouldn't be since it's brand new, along with my OS. When I first got it I did a "Quick format" making it NTFS. I didn't do a long format. Would that be a problem? (I did the format on my Father's Vista machine).

Also, where is the diagnostic tool? If I manage to get the drive to appear again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #3

Win 7 Ultimate x64

My suggestion would be to take it to a local computer store and ask them to throughly test the drive. If the drive works fine on their computer(s) then something is quite likely not right on your computer. Sounds like you've had quite your share of strange problems with this. Good luck.

If it starts working again run CHKDSK to see if it finds any problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Jan 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Haha, I wish I had a local computer shop. Best Buy is the only local computer "shop" within 100 miles. I can't see how it would be a drive issue since it's brand new and works on my Father's machine. (But sometimes the light turns off there too, and the drive disappears). I also don't see how it can be an issue with my computer. My old external HDD died on my old computer. I now have a NEW drive, and a NEW computer, and a NEW install of Windows 7. I suppose since the new drive also showed signs of failure on my old computer it might be the drive. But that makes no sense since my old computer killed my old drive.

I've heard of cables that turn one USB connection into two, for that extra power. Do you think I need one of those?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #5


If you can, buy another drive or borrow someones for a day or two to see how it behaves with your system. Given that it 'disappears' (if only occasionally) when plugged into your father's machine and also behaves badly on the subsequently built machine, I'd have to say bad drive or enclosure.

'A long while ago' isn't too descriptive. If it turns out that it's the drive (and is out of warranty), don't toss it out...remove the drive first and test it, as the problem may be the enclosure controller.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #6


Was this new machine an image of the old one?
Do you have disk manager applications running on the machine?
Do you have an iso Mounting software installed?

*doesn't sound like the drive what so ever
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #7

Win 7 Ultimate x64

Hi Enkei - It sounds like you have a very "driven" personality (pun intended)

Sorry about that - I just couldn't help myself with that one. But, seriously, I really do hope you do get to the bottom of your mysteries and it sounds like you have the determination to do it.

Best Buy has the "Geek Squad" - they could help test your drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Update everyone!

I couldn't get the drive to appear when plugging it in to any USB port. So instead, I shut my computer off, plugged the drive in, and turned the computer back on.

Light came on and stayed on! But the drive still didn't appear! I went into Disk Management and the drive showed up plain as day. It was "Online". It didn't have a drive letter though. I tried to assign it a drive letter, but it said the action could not be completed because the page "had not refreshed"? I clicked refresh and that little circle "waiting" mouse pointer came up, then went away indicating it was done. I again tried to assign a drive letter, but the same error came up again! I couldn't even click properties. That error came up no matter what I clicked. Yet if I selected drive C, my internal drive, I could edit whatever I wanted. It's just the drive. Whattttt!?

Even still, a USB ONLY drive is supposed to be able to be removed and inserted while power is on. Hot-swappable? This is madness! Any ideas as to what's happening?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

I plugged it into my work computer. Windows 7 Professional. The computer was already powered on when I plugged it in. The drive light came on, and stays on. The drive does not appear at all in Disk Management. I touch the drive, and it is not spinning.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Sorry for three posts in a row.

I plugged it into a USB extension at my work computer, and the light came on and the drive didn't appear and it didn't spin.

I plugged it into the SAME computer, but a direct port rather than extension. It powered on, lighted on, spun up, installed itself, and I can browse all my files.

WHAT THE $%*&.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Portable USB drive not working. Please help!

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