External HD no longer works with computer [Solved/Closed]

Report
Posts
6
Registration date
Tuesday October 21, 2008
Status
Member
Last seen
October 23, 2008
-
 Jebin -
Hello,

I plugged my Western Digital external hard drive into my Playstation 3 and my Xbox 360 so I could stream my movies off of it. I went to plug it back into my computer, and now my computer no longer reads it :

Volume information for this disk cannot be found


Is there something I can do, some settings I can tweak somewhere where I can now use my external again on my computer. It still works with my 360 and PS3, just not my computer. I have about 17 GB worth of data on it ranging from pictures, movies and music and I really don't want to format my hard drive. If theres anything I can do to fix this PLEASE let me know. I'm on Windows Vista if you need that information.
System Configuration: Windows Vista
Firefox 3.0.3

12 replies

I had the same problem like many as you, Maxtor 3200 looked like it crashed, it wouldn't show up in My Computer anymore and it would freeze up any pc (tried 3 different ones) as soon as it got plugged in. Tried everything mentioned on this forum like changing drive letters and disabling in device manager, but nothing seemed to work.

Luckily I saw that my data wasn't lost, because when I plugged the external hard drive in a Macbook Pro, it showed up right away! And I could acces all the files and copy them without any problems!

But then I came across another forum with my solution but it was in Dutch.

What they say is let the drive be checked and repaired by chkdsk:
  • Go to START
  • Go to RUN
  • type in
    cmd
    (command-prompt opens up)
  • type in
    chkdsk #: /R
    (where you should put drive letter in place of #)
  • Then it will start checking your drive, be patient here because it can take a long long time for this to finish. Also it looked to me in the beginning of the scan nothing was going on, but after a minute or 2 it sayed THE DRIVE FORMAT IS NTFS...or something like that and from then it starts scanning for a long time. Took me about 4 hours to check the total drive! But in the end it worked again properly!!


Hope this works for more of you with the same problem as me. BTW dont know how this works when you have no clue what the drive letter is, I was lucky to see this still in my disk manager.
69
Thank you

A few words of thanks would be greatly appreciated. Add comment

CCM 5708 users have said thank you to us this month

Thank you this save my family pictures. Again many thnx
Thank you for your help much appreciated you saved me £80
Thank you Ovide
I had the very same problem; and also I used my MacBook to see if my data still exists!
It's strange how OSX can recognize the volume so fast and simple but Windows won't...
Anyway never thought of CHKDSK 'cause I was so stressful :D

It is still checking now but I know it will be fixed!

Thank you again
Thanks Ovide....

It helped me... As you said it took around 4 hours..... Thanks again..... you saved plenty of mine...

Jebin
Posts
19675
Registration date
Wednesday October 8, 2008
Status
Moderator
Last seen
June 15, 2019
5727
Since the external drive works on the PS3 - we know it's NOT a problem with the drive itself.

You may have pulled the plug on the drive while it was still writing - always use the "safely remove hardware" icon to power down and disconnect the drive before removing it.

Try another USB plug. Use one on the back of the computer, it would be the best. This has been known to sometimes work.

Try to plug in the USB drive before you turn on the computer. Or if you've done that - try to plug in the USB drive after the computer is on.

Go to device manager , open the USB controllers ,
If you find one with a yellow check mark, uninstall it , then rescan for
hardware changes - Windows should reinstall the USB driver at this point.
BiG thanks xpcman! I had the same problem and fixed it with your simple remedy of changing to another usb drive, in hindsight I should have tried that first but thanks to you for pointing out what should have been obvious to me!!:.)

I FIXED IT !!!

I had the very same problem like many of you: Windows XP (sp3) detected my external USB Storage drive (WD My Book) as "WD" but wouldn't show the drive letter and volume on device manager. I had tried many ways for many hours but no use (messing with MBR Fix, Diskpart, changing usb cable, running WD Dianogstic and WD Fat32 Formatter, and tried most of the suggestions on the matter, etc..).

To make it short, try this and try your luck.

Go to Device Manager > Disk drives > and right click to "DISABLE" the problem drive. Unplug the power cord attached to the the problem usb drive, wait 30 seconds (just to be safe), then reconnect the the power cord, and wait for a few seconds. That was how my problem solved. Hope this help. Good luck.
Dear Mr Never_give_up

I actually have the same problem as u, I have WD 160 GB which was working great but I unplugged it manually for a while then we I tried to reconnect it was connect and my laptop tells me it is connected and I also see it by the Device maneger as 'WD" under Disk drive... and I can see the light if my Ext HD is ON but when I open my conputer I can't see the icon of it that I used to see before as G drive but I can see the reset of drivers like C, D, E drivers.


my background in computer not that great so I was wondering I disable it first then I disconnected the power cord but even that it dose not working.

Plz help me I need the data on it so so much I don't know what to do....
Ok guys, I have the same problem with these symptomes:
-I tried to connect my external WD HDD to my desktop AFTER I switched off MANUALLY the drive while connected to my laptop.
-When I connected to my desktop I heard the sound that plays when a USB hardware is connected but when I went to CMD my drive wasn't listed there, so I tried to shut it off and reboot it. Didn't worked.
-Neither a PC reboot wont work or a an attempt to change drive name ( at least in my case )

Solution:
->Go to My Computer->Device Manager ( while the external HDD is TURNED OFF)
->Turn on the the drive(now two things will appear, your drive listed in Disk Drives and the USB drive for your HDD)
->All you have to do now is to remove the drive for USB Mass storage device and reboot your drive.
->Windows will reinstall the drive and it will work fine for you.

If it wasn't for this site I would never got the idea for fixing this, so thank you very much for your ideas and helping spirit.
razac,

You're awesome! What you suggested worked wonderfully. I had the same problem where everytime I plug my hard drive in, Windows would just freeze until I remove it.

What I did though was partially recover my data before I was able to read your post to fix this. If anyone was interested, I did two things that gave me access to my data when my hard drive was inaccessible -

I used Acronis boot disk and was able to backup everything into an image file.
and
I was also able to use Partition Find and Mount which showed that all my data was in fact in tact.

Anywho, what you suggested worked wonderfully.
can someone please break down wht razac said to do, maybe even razac. in simple steps plze talk to me like your talking to a child,

cheers
Ok Gang.
I was able to fix this problem successfully! :D

Here are the simple steps:
1) Go to My Computer
2) Right Click > Properties
3) Click the tab called "Hardware"
4) Click Device Manager
5) Locate your External Hard Drive. a.k.a (USB Mass Storage Device)
6) It should have a red X. Click the drive.
7) Enable it

Your problem should be fixed. :)
FAIL the drive wouldnt be disabled with an X this is still a problem for me anyone have any other tips or tricks ?
> Jack
Did you say whether or not you have tried your external drive on another computer? If so, does it do the same thing on the other computers as it is now doing on yours, or does it work on other computers right now?

You said the whole computer is freezing when you plug it into the USB? I have worked with many internal HD's (I am a PC repair tech) and sometimes I will often plug the internal drive into a USB adapter so that I can attempt to backup data for people when we know the drives are failing. More often than not, when the hard drives are starting to have a mechanical failure, when they are plugged into the USB port they act exactly as you are describing. Exclamation points in device manager, or unrecognized usb device...computer freezing until the device is disconnected. Sometimes I have left a drive plugged in for hours and windows finally unfreezes and it attempts to mount the drive, but usually it doesn't matter much when they get that far off.

You say you have a WD hard drive? What model is it? Is it a true external drive or just some IDE internal drive that you have connected to a USB bay or adapter? Is the drive still under warranty? Did it get dropped or fall or anything when you had it connected to the 360 / PS3?

It could be that if it is having mechanical failures, the PS3 and 360 are somehow mounting it differently or in a way that it would only experience problems if it ran across a file sitting on a bad sector or something. Since the PS3 and 360 could not run a scandisk or repair or anything, maybe thats why the drive appears to mount, where windows may be trying to figure out whats wrong with it and fix the problem during mounting.

If your drive fails to load in ANY computer then I would consider a replacement. Hopefully it is still under warranty. If it will load on another computer, you may want to go ahead and start getting files backed up from it while its not too late.

Also, I do not think this applies to you based on what you have described, but I noticed a few other posts here and this may help them. For people that plug a USB drive in and it looks good in device manager but just doesn't have a drive letter, sometimes windows tries to give your external device the same drive letter as something else (like a CDROM or another internal drive). When that happens, the internal drive takes precedence. You have to tell windows to give your external device another drive letter. The easiest way to do this is to right click on MY COMPUTER and go to MANAGE. Then go to DISK MANAGEMENT. There you should see your USB drive listed. I can't remember off-hand if it will show the drive letter or not if its taken the same letter as another disk, but you can right click on the USB drive and tell it "CHANGE DRIVE LETTER AND PATHS" and it will give you the opportunity to change it to an unused drive letter. I like to set my USB drives pretty high, like W, X, T, or something... this particular issue occurs more often if you frequently unplug or move the USB drive around and also have other devices that may from time to time change their drive letter.

I hope this helps! I would post a link to my website / forum but I am not sure if that is even allowed, but my website is also a forum based around PC repair. If you would like the link to it I would be happy to provide it directly to you. I can answer things more quickly there usually. Let us know how it goes and good luck, but it sounds like a failing drive to me.
> utaeladil
Thank you utaeladil.

I had exactly the problem described in your 2nd last pararaph, and was baffled, as usual.

I had an external hard drive which was assigned a drive number and when I added a partition on the internal drive, it took the drive letter of the external drive and so the external drive did not show in My Computer any more.

Following your clear instructions, the problem was fixed.

You may have saved me hours of fiddling around.

Thank you so much!
> sloakum
i read all the forums from you I have the same problem just the thing is haven't tried on ps3 ..can you please help me out in a little simple way how to show the drive in the computer I have everything in my hard drive so please help me ...ill wait for your reply thank you
> utaeladil
Hey utaeladil, I had the same problem with an external USB drive and just tried your solution of using "Change Drive Letter and Paths" in the disk management. Unfortunately it doesn't work. I can right click on my usual C drive and get that option, but when I right click on the USB drive the only option that pops up is the very un-helpful "Help".

The way the drives show up in disk management is bizarre. They show up as two separate volumes in the list above, but in the chart below they both show up side-by-side as "Disk 0". One with the drive letter C, and one with no drive letter at all. It will let me change the drive letter of C, but not of the other disk.

Any other ideas? I'm desperate. :)
Brilliant after reading ALL the different suggestions, and still none working it occoured to me, In computer managmenet/ Disk management


right click the External USB device, and select accesable by path/assign path options, give it a path name (X)

and viola, instantly works, opens up using autoplay etc, etc

Dont have to reformat (Enless your drive IS actually damaged , but if its working and recognizable then its NOT ;)


simply put the device is recognizable , but not assisgning itself a path.

Once assigned in your diskmanagmenet its now recognized and avilable , in MY COMPUTER
But in Disk Management I don't seem to have External USB device at all, only The C: drive and something calling itself Healthy (GPT Protective Partition)

Could someone help? I have all the symptoms - it shows up under disk drives, but not in my computer and I need to store a very large file on it to get it off my heaving PC.

Thanks
> PJCox
no - hold on- it's there but it won't let me change the drive as that's all greyed out.
> PJCox
The last few problems listed here (it shows up in device manager, but not in DISK MANAGEMENT and no-where else), I would try this...

First, try going to the DEVICE MANAGER (I'm sure you know how to get there, but for anyone who does not) by either RIGHT CLICKING on MY COMPUTER and going to MANAGE, then you have a DEVICE MANAGER section on the right, or you can RIGHT CLICK on MY COMPUTER, go to PROPERTIES, then go to the HARDWARE tab and hit the DEVICE MANAGER button.

Next, expand the sections for DISK DRIVES and also UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS CONTROLLERS. Find anything pertaining to your external drive. (For instance, on my PC under DISK DRIVES I have "WD 10EACS External USB Device". Under my UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS CONTROLLERS, I have "USB Mass Storage Device"). If they are listed as something similar, they can be removed by right clicking on them and selecting UNINSTALL or yo can click on them and hit the DEL key on the keyboard.

If they are not listed anywhere that you can easily identify, make sure nothing in there says UNKNOWN USB DEVICE, or that nothing has a yellow question mark or yellow exclamation point on them. If those are there, it could be that your Windows just didn't set the drivers up right the last time it loaded, for whatever reason. You can also delete those from the device manager.

Finally, you can click the button above the DEVICE MANAGER window that says SCAN FOR HARDWARE CHANGES, or you can RIGHT CLICK on the very top of the device manager list where it says COMPUTER and pick SCAN FOR HARDWARE CHANGES. (If you can't find either, you can reboot the PC and that should do it).
NOTE: You could optionally just power off your USB drives (or unplug the power cable if they have no button). When you power them back on, Windows should try to set them up again.

If that works, they may just start working again. (Or you could then check the DISK MANAGEMENT as listed in one of my previous posts and try to see if you then have the option to do the CHANGE DRIVE LETTERS AND PATHS fix.

If after Windows scans for new hardware, if it sets them back up as UNKNOWN USB DEVICE or something similar, or continues to give them a yellow question mark or exclamation point, then you may have some other problem with it, either the device could be going bad or it could possibly even need to have a new cable tried on it. Or you could UNINSTALL the drivers and move them to a completely new USB port incase the USB port is going bad. (Make sure you aren't using a USB HUB incase the USB HUB is going bad or running low on power or something.

Hopefully some of that will help! Let us know...
I actually had the EXACT same problem. It is really annoying. You want to play videos on your XBOX but then you also want to be able to USE your hard disk after you do this. I'm not really sure what the deal was but it took a bit of messing around to fix the problem. First off, I went into my device manager and deleted the USB mass storage device and the USB controllers for the front buses, then restarted. This sadly still didn't work. So I when I searched more I found many people saying it could be a lack of power problem. I wasn't really in the mood to do a full power supply change so I thought that was stupid. Anyways after messing around I finally decided to make sure nothing else using power was connected to the front USB port and BINGO my WD passport drive was working. I guess it was a power issue after all. Now whenever I have both the printer and the USB drive plugged in the USB drive always messes up. Unless the USB drive was plugged in first. Its all very stupid. I guess the moral of the story is, that you don't want to have two power consuming devices plugged into the front ports. If you are using back ports I really don't know. But I hope that helped anyways.

Cheers
try install net framework 3.5 from WINDOWS UPDATE'MICROSOFT'.
it works for me.
Posts
19675
Registration date
Wednesday October 8, 2008
Status
Moderator
Last seen
June 15, 2019
5727
Lets see if you have a master boot record (MBR) problem.

go to device manager - disk drives - Right click your USB drive

select properties - volumes - populate

under "partition" it should list "master boot record"

If it doesn't then you have a MBR problem - but, I can't see how the PS3 can read the drive if the MBR is bad.
kegar89
Posts
6
Registration date
Tuesday October 21, 2008
Status
Member
Last seen
October 23, 2008

Well, everything listed under Properties is just a single dash mark. I go to click 'Volumes', and everything freezes until I unplug the USB cord. I'm guessing I have an MBR problem? How do I fix this?
Posts
19675
Registration date
Wednesday October 8, 2008
Status
Moderator
Last seen
June 15, 2019
5727
I also think you have a MBR (master boot record) problem - there is a fix - but there is also some danger. Before you try to fix the MBR - have you tried to use the external drive on another computer?

Google MbrFix - download the program - burn it to a CD - boot from the CD (you might need to change the boot order in the BIOS to boot from the CD). I have never used this program and don't know the syntax for the command line interface. You will need to read the instructions.

fix the MBR on drive 2 your E drive (((( NOT on drive 0 which is your C drive))))
kegar89
Posts
6
Registration date
Tuesday October 21, 2008
Status
Member
Last seen
October 23, 2008

Yeah, I've tried it on other computers. It still doesn't work. I'll try this out.

EDIT: Just tried this FixMBR program, it doesn't work for me. I really don't know what to do. Anything else?
Posts
1
Registration date
Friday March 6, 2009
Status
Member
Last seen
March 6, 2009

Hey, folks.

I found this board while desperately searching for a fix for my Ext. HD.

My sister unplugged it today while it was writing, and now it won't recognize properly. It used to designate itself properly as the F:\ as soon as it hooked up. Since the unplug, it calls itself a USB Mass Storage Device in Device Manager, can't be recognized in Disk Management (so I can't designate a letter drive [f:\ etc.]), doesn't show up in My Computer, and doesn't need a driver as it says its driver is up-to-date (I have reinstalled the driver anyway, to no avail).

I've tried it with my laptop (which the HD was pulled out of) and my PC; the above results happen with both. I've tried razac's suggestion, and uninstalled the Mass Storage Device in Device Manager, but when I reboot the drive, it reinstalls itself as Mass Storage Device, not as it did as F:\.

When I first purchased it, it ran just perfect out of the box, no additional drivers needed. It did have start-up files on it, but obviously I can't get to those. I've got a few other Ext. HDs and they still boot up and run perfectly. The USB ports aren't the problem, either. I've run iPods, other HDs, and a mouse through all the ports.

The drive is a Comstar 1TB External HD. I'm running Windows XP on both computers. I've got over 200GBs on it, and as I run most of my applications off it, I'm really high n' dry.

Any help would be so appreciated. I'm desperate. If someone is so kind as to help and needs more info, please let me know.

TJ
xpcman
Posts
19675
Registration date
Wednesday October 8, 2008
Status
Moderator
Last seen
June 15, 2019
5727
I suspect that the Master Boot Record (MBR) is damaged. Look at the instructions for fixing the MBR at this site:

http://www.arsgeek.com/2008/01/15/how-to-fix-your-windows-mbr-with-an-ubuntu-livecd/
I have the exact same problem... I am not a computer person... and I have tried every solution that I have found... and at the end I just took the HD out of the case... Inside there is two pieces, I adjust them .. and it worked... I can guess that when I pulled the usb by accident ,somehow I loose the two pieces ... I have a simpletch HD that does not have screws I had to literally broke the case apart... I am just baking up all my data and see how I can replace the case... hope it helps Thanks
try changing the security permissions - I had this problem and it only occured after I messed with my network - if you have messed with any shares or networks it could be that you have accidently locked yourself out of the harddrives
can`t get your external harddrive to work. ( Windows do not want to read your harddrive)

Very easy to fixed that problem

first you must switch your computer on
then connect your external harddrive
right click on My Computer
choose manage

Now do the following

check for storage
choose Disk Management
On your right hand sight right click on your external harddrive and choose Mark Partition as active

if this does not work you need to format you external harddrive