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Author Topic: win7 + external HDD  (Read 3290 times)

Target

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win7 + external HDD
« on: January 03, 2013, 12:37:29 AM »
I'm starting to think Win7 isn't all it's cracked up to be...

I have an external HDD I use everyday without issue on a x86 win7 machine, however my home machine (x64 win7) won't even detect it.   

The drive is a 320G Seagate portable expansion drive (contains an Hitachi HDD), and it works fine on my other machines (XP laptop, win7 netbook), but as far as my main machine is concerned it doesn't exist.

I've tried all the ports, several cables, and a couple of hubs without success, but the fact that it works fine on the other machines would seem to indicate the 'fault' isn't with the drive

Google says this is a pretty common experience, though as with my WSOD issue, there don't appear to be any definitive causes or fixes.

Up till now it's been a minor irritation, but I wanted to get some largish video files off it over the break and couldn't (OK, I probably could have, but I wasn't prepared to go through all the jiggery pokery required at the time)

Anyone else had a similar experience and resolved it (and how?)

4wd

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 01:22:26 AM »
Perhaps try GhostBuster to remove any non-plugged in devices, then try again.

MilesAhead

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 01:38:58 AM »
I would ask here

From things I'm hearing here and there I don't think W7 64 bit is as solid as Vista64. I did a custom install of 32 bit W7 over Vista 32 bit. It worked out fine. I tried the same thing only with W7 64 bit on top of Vista64. I had to restore from my saved image to put Vista64 back on. The system would boot. But it was too flaky to use like that.

Target

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 04:35:22 PM »
From things I'm hearing here and there I don't think W7 64 bit is as solid as Vista64. I did a custom install of 32 bit W7 over Vista 32 bit. It worked out fine. I tried the same thing only with W7 64 bit on top of Vista64. I had to restore from my saved image to put Vista64 back on. The system would boot. But it was too flaky to use like that.

interesting, but mine was a clean install to a brand new (SSD) drive

I shall investigate further

4wd

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 11:04:26 PM »
Something easy to try, plug the drive into a USB 2.0 port on the suspect computer and boot off of a Linux LiveCD - it will at least isolate it to software or hardware.

Target

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 12:16:55 AM »
Something easy to try, plug the drive into a USB 2.0 port on the suspect computer and boot off of a Linux LiveCD - it will at least isolate it to software or hardware.

great idea! :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

4wd

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 04:34:20 AM »
I meant to also add, it might pay to reset your BIOS to defaults and then make sure any USB settings are all enabled.

BTW, with most modern computers any USB storage device should show up in the Boot list, (when you press F11 or F12 usually at boot instead of Del), does it ?

If it's not showing up in the boot list then that might indicate a problem with either BIOS settings or the motherboard.

Stoic Joker

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 06:49:32 AM »
Does the machine react (installing USB device) to the drive being plugged in at all? I've seen several storage devices try to grab the same drive letter as a mapped drive, which causes both to try and show up under the same letter. If that's the case the disk management console will let you force it to an accessible drive letter.

40hz

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 10:50:38 AM »
I noticed you mentioned different hubs earlier.

It's generally not recommended you plug an external HD into a hub.

At the risk of asking an unnecessary question, did you try plugging it in directly to the PC?

f0dder

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 10:59:15 AM »
Also, if you launch diskmgmt.msc (the Disk Management thingamajig), does the drive show up? Does it show up under "Device Manager -> Disk drives"? Are there any warnings in device manager?

I've had a few issues with USB storage not getting drive letters assigned, but that was back in the early XP days - haven't seen it since, and I've had a lot of drives attached to my current system (I've got 7 external USB2 disks, one eSata enclosure, one USB3 disk, and a bunch of different pendrives). Can't remember how I resolved it back then, but iirc it was nuking some registry keys or similar.

Windows does seem to handle USB devices somewhat lamely - re-installing/attaching/whatever drivers if you plug a device into a new USB port and whatnot.
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Target

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 05:43:25 PM »
BTW, with most modern computers any USB storage device should show up in the Boot list, (when you press F11 or F12 usually at boot instead of Del), does it ?

nope, doesn't show up in bios (it's a uefi board, if that makes any difference)

If there was a hardware issue with the mobo I'd expect to have trouble with the USB ports consistently, not just with a particular device

Does the machine react (installing USB device) to the drive being plugged in at all? I've seen several storage devices try to grab the same drive letter as a mapped drive, which causes both to try and show up under the same letter. If that's the case the disk management console will let you force it to an accessible drive letter.

been caught by this one before, but nope, it's not detected, at all

That said, the lite on the drive flickers, so there is something happening

It's generally not recommended you plug an external HD into a hub.

I did this after trying all the motherboard ports - a bit desperate, but there's no logic here so...

I use 'high powered' hubs (external 2A PS) so power shouldn't be an issue, but who knows

Something easy to try, plug the drive into a USB 2.0 port on the suspect computer and boot off of a Linux LiveCD - it will at least isolate it to software or hardware.

fail...

Tried Mint x32 and it didn't recognise the drive at all (I'm not a linux user so maybe there's something 'special' I needed to do)

I'm wondering if this isn't some sort of firmware issue in the HDD, though there doesn't seem to be an update available, and as I said, the issue doesn't appear to be specific to any make or model of drive.


4wd

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 09:11:33 PM »
That said, the lite on the drive flickers, so there is something happening

That seems to me like the drive isn't spinning up, when you plug it in do you hear the drive spin up ?

Or, do you hear nothing or a soft clicking ?

Target

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 09:39:30 PM »
That said, the lite on the drive flickers, so there is something happening

That seems to me like the drive isn't spinning up, when you plug it in do you hear the drive spin up ?

Or, do you hear nothing or a soft clicking ?

nothing, but that's normal, ie when I use the drive normally (on the laptop) it makes no noise either

would the drive spin up if it wasn't detected?  I don't know anything about the low level operation of these things, but I would assume not, as it wouldn't get any indication from 'the system' to do so

4wd

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 10:07:06 PM »
That said, the lite on the drive flickers, so there is something happening

That seems to me like the drive isn't spinning up, when you plug it in do you hear the drive spin up ?

Or, do you hear nothing or a soft clicking ?

nothing, but that's normal, ie when I use the drive normally (on the laptop) it makes no noise either

Press it against your ear, I've yet to hear a completely silent HDD :)

Plus you should feel it vibrate.

Quote
would the drive spin up if it wasn't detected?  I don't know anything about the low level operation of these things, but I would assume not, as it wouldn't get any indication from 'the system' to do so

I've yet to see an external HDD, (2.5" or 3.5"), not spin up when first plugged in, (doesn't mean they don't exist), but I did have a external Seagate, (and others), that goes to sleep after inactivity.

The flashing LED you mentioned above normally indicates to me, (in the case of a 2.5" external), a lack of power to spin the drive up, (which sometimes results in a soft clicking).

BTW, we are talking about a 2.5" external ?

Also, does the computer in question have any USB3 ports ?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 10:20:19 PM by 4wd »

Target

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 10:57:19 PM »
Press it against your ear, I've yet to hear a completely silent HDD :)

Plus you should feel it vibrate.

As a rule I refrain from handling any external drives while they're running (call me superstitous), but I can feel it vibrating now (but I'm at work, so that means nothing)

Quote
I've yet to see an external HDD, (2.5" or 3.5"), not spin up when first plugged in, (doesn't mean they don't exist), but I did have a external Seagate, (and others), that goes to sleep after inactivity.

The flashing LED you mentioned above normally indicates to me, (in the case of a 2.5" external), a lack of power to spin the drive up, (which sometimes results in a soft clicking).

BTW, we are talking about a 2.5" external ?

Also, does the computer in question have any USB3 ports ?

yes, it is a 2.5" external, and yes it does have usb3 ports

This is a usb 2 device, and I've been using the usb 2 ports

4wd

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2013, 11:15:23 PM »
yes, it is a 2.5" external, and yes it does have usb3 ports

This is a usb 2 device, and I've been using the usb 2 ports

Plug it into one of the USB3 ports when you get home.

USB3 ports can supply up to 900mA according to specs, USB2 only supplies 500mA.

Almost every 2.5" HDD needs over 500mA to spin up - if the over-current protection on your USB2 is a bit overzealous or the USB2 interface ICs are "crap", (as some of VIA' chips were), then the drive won't be getting the power required to spin the drive up.

By rights, the drive should have been provided with a Y cable for powering it from USB2 ports, (to provide 1000mA), but they're too stingy to do that these days.

IMG_5699.JPG

I don't know why it wouldn't have worked going through your self-powered hub but that, naturally, introduces another unknown so best to avoid from the start - possibly the hub also current limits.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 11:54:57 PM by 4wd »

4wd

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Re: win7 + external HDD
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2013, 06:22:28 AM »
Inquiring minds and all that....what happened?