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External USB Hard drive not seen by windows


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#1 nymersic

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 05:45 AM

Dear bleepingcomputerfolk,

I bought a Fantom 1TB (GF1000EU I think is the model number) external hard drive under a year ago, and have been using it as my backup. Only turned it on 10-15 times since I've had it, and never moved it once.
Regrettably, I'm in dire straits here because my other hard drive had a head crash about two weeks ago, and I'm in need of the backed-up stuff...
but as soon as I needed it, it seems to have failed me.
The Details:
I turn it on, it powers up and spins just fine. No bad sounds. Everything is properly plugged in; cables and connections seem fine, but they shouldn't be a problem, since I didn't touch any of the wires between when it was last working and when my trusty laptop stopped seeing it.
Windows XP just doesn't see it. It's not that it's corrupted and unrecognizable, but it seems my computer isn't receiving any data from it. It's not an unassigned drive letter or anything - nothing is showing up for it in disk management, for example.
All 6 of my USB ports are fully functional and getting the proper power. They see all other USB devices, such as flash drives and mice, etc. The Fantom drive doesn't work in any of these ports (or on other computers). Regrettably I don't have any other USB cables I can test to make sure this one isn't bad, but I've enough experience to say I'm 99% sure that there are no physical problems with the USB/power cables or the connections for them on the drive/my computer.
It seems like it's obviously a hardware issue with the drive, but what's strange is I've never heard of an issue like this with any hard drive. (I've also tried researching problems with this hard drive itself, it seems like it's known for being pretty freakin' reliable.) It's a lot simpler to figure out when windows just sees something it doesn't recognize, but right now it's seeing nothing. Sadly I don't have another computer [or OS] to try it on, but I don't see any way that that could be the problem.
I've tried all the obvious solutions, restarting the drive, my computer, etc; removing, checking, re-inserting all cables. Its getting full power.
Nothing happened that I think could have damaged it. After my previous hard drive woe a couple weeks beforehand that I mentioned, I've even wen't so far as to 'safely remove hardware' when using it :D It couldn't have been a power surge or anything like that. I updated no software [the HD of course doesn't require software] and made no settings changes. USB drivers are good; of course I've had this drive (and quite a few others) working on this computer many times before. It just seems purely random [if God hating me constitutes randomness].
So, if it's a hardware issue with the drive, what could it be? A connection issue with a cable or where it plugs into seems the most obvious, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Does the controller card in a drive ever malfunction in a way that would allow the drive to spin up fine but never communicate any data? Anything like that? I've never heard of this happening, and the interwebs are failing me. Does it sound like a bad idea to crack it open and try plugging in the two 500GB drives contained individually, and see if they work? I think the drive would probably still be under warranty, but I don't think I have the info anymore, so I'm not worried about that. I really just need the stuff on the discs. (and I don't really have too much experience opening these things up, either).
(And the computer I'm using is a Dell Inspiron E1705 with a rather updated Windows XP, with no history of hardware problems, and I can't see any way a virus could cause this, but I'm all clean as per Norton and AVG.)
Sorry if anything above is confusing or unorderly; it's 6am and I've been awake waaaay too long.

Thanks ahead of time, even if just for reading this,
~nymersic

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:35 AM

Well...it would seem that it's either a problem with the hard drive itself...or with the enclosure.

IMO, the only way to find out is to remove the hard drive from the enclosure...run the long test of the correct respective hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic on it, after directly attaching it to the motherboard of a system.

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 11 February 2010 - 08:46 PM.


#3 rnelson

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 08:09 PM

I have almost the exact same problem with a Seagate external drive. It spins fine, but is not seen by the PC. I have even removed it from the case and plugged it in directly to the motherboard using the SATA connection. Nothing, except to cause a blip in starting up. It is not seen in device manager or disc management. I also could not see it in the Bios settings re drives. Because it cannot be seen, I cannot run any diagnostic programs on it, as Seagate keeps suggesting. Any thoughts?

#4 hamluis

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 08:52 PM

If it's a SATA drive...connected to a SATA motherboard port...and it doesn't appear in Disk Management...it's dead or your connection is somehow bad...or you have a motherboard that supports SATA I drives and you have a SATA II drive.

If the latter applies, then you would have to check the documentation at the hard drive manufacturer's website...to see whether a jumper setting is involved to achieve SATA I compatibility with the motherboard/system.

Since the drive seems to fail all normal drive-recognition tests (BIOS, Disk Management, USB enclosure)...I would say it's dead.

Louis




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