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Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue

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Carol Haynes:
The path of least resistance would seem to be making a backup of the laptop drive using the laptop, using a cd-based backup tool at boot time, and a usb stick or an external usb dock/drive, and then telling client to replace the hard drive.
With the cost of hard drives, my advice would ALWAYS be, at the very first sign of trouble that has even a 1% chance of being hard drive related, is to backup the hard drive, then replace it and put the original on the shelf.
-mouser (June 23, 2017, 01:26 PM)
--- End quote ---

I'd love to do that but given that it won't recognise a USB drive to backup  :huh:

@Carol Haynes: The problem you describe sounds familiar.
My suggestion (though it looks like you have already attempted this) for a likely shortest route for problem elimination and analysis would be to isolate the drive by removing it from the laptop and plugging it into a separate portable hard drive enclosure or other USB3 slot, connected to another PC which functions just fine and has HDS (Hard Disk Sentinel) installed. Then run HDS and (say) Malwarebytes and MS Defender for malware checks (just in case) over that drive. You could also make a clone copy (e.g., using AOMEI Backupper) whilst you were at it. The HDS report will be the main thing to look at, assuming there is no virus problem.

By passively analysing and copying the drive in this fashion, you will not be directly changing anything on the drive, though if it is failing (and it sounds like it could be), then the thing will automatically be trying to dynamically self-correct any bad sectors detected whilst it is being read from - which could well cause hangs/crashes on the host laptop it belongs to.

If the disk is not identifiable/addressable on another PC, then it may be corrupted or failing. You may be able to set/change some of the SMART switches (using HDS or other hard drive hacking tools) and that could correct some issues around identification/addressability (e.g., parity bit?), though I have not needed to use that feature where it was available, so am not sure how much use it would be.
It may be that some of the drive's SMART or firmware settings are non-generic and are peculiar to that make/model of laptop, though I have no experience of that sort of situation.

Sorry can't be of more help. Not trying to teach you how to suck eggs.

Carol Haynes:
I have tried connecting the laptop drive to a desktop computer - Drive is listed as healthy and given a drive letter but won't load - the only thing I can think of is cloning it and trying to deal with it on the orginial laptop

Not sure if it helps, but you could try to use a piece of software, called: PartitionGuru.  It comes as feature limited freeware, but it might help you to access the data of the drive when you take it out of the laptop, into a dock connected to your computer.

As you say, the drive is correctly recognized by the Windows management software, but won't allow you access. Software, such as PartitionGuru, might give you that access as it can circumvent standard Windows controls. Perhaps it could be an idea to use a linux liveCD to access the data from that docked drive. If you can't beat Windows into submission with Windows based tools, liveCD's might provide the proper (read-only) stick. It all depends on how the data access is locked.

The advantage of this is that you won't have to open the laptop in ways you are not comfortable with. Still, if you are able to clone the disk first, do so. And use the tools and skills of your choice on the cloned copy.

I did a Duckgo search of "Windows does not allow access to a USB hard drive", and came up with several hits. This one looked interesting (and reminded me of when I went and deleted some obscure settings about USB drives in the registry, when a single USB port on a laptop couldn't access a perfectly OK USB hard drive):
Windows 7 - Notices but does not 'see' external usb hard drive
I upgraded from Vista Home Premium SP2 (32Bit) to Windows 7 Home Premium (32Bit) and after the upgrade my external usb hard drive can not be seen. The system notices it when it is plugged in and/or powered on but does not show it under My Computer or any other drive display option.

I have seen other posts about this all without a solution- could I have missed the solution - if so please forgive this posting and please point me in the right direction.
If there hasn't been a solution posted and you know how to solve this issue I am very interested.
The Windows 7 Hardware Compatibility indicates this drive is supported and the upgrade advisor did not object to it.
Thanks ...
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 workLionel B. Dyck

--- End quote ---

Not sure whether it will help.


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