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External Hard Drive not Recognized


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#1 Cephalon

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 07:39 AM

I once again need your guys expertise help in solving another problem. THis was my last result, I have been trolling through forums after forums and I can not find an answer just more questions..... Any help would be awesome!!!!

PROBLEM: I have a Seagate Freeagent Go 640gb external Hard Drive, I have had this drive for a little over a year now, Just today when I hook it to my laptop(usb) windows says the device is not recognized and its malfunctioning... It worked this morning, I hit "remove safe hardware" it said it was safe to remove and I removed it and went to school. Then when I get home and I try it, says it can not be recognized. I have tried several things. I have checked device manager and it does not show up as hard drive, rather it shows as unrecognized USB port. I have tried this drive on 3 other computers laptops and desktops, all running windows, 2 windows 7 and the 1 on XP and says the same thing. I have uninstalled the USB driver and reinstalled (found on forums) and did not fix it. Another thing I have tried is plugging it into a USB wall converter to power it and still same problem. I am freaking out....

When I plug it in, the light on the external hard drive comes on, sometimes it will beep for a few then just go dead. Under the My Computer Tab where the C:/ drive is located it does not show up as a drive, I tried to do chkdsk g: /r and it does not show at all. I have tried everything I have read on other forums. Seagate the company said they would repair and save all my data for $700, yes seven hundred dollars, wow. I dont have $700 lol. The only thing it says is, Windows can not recognize this device, (running windows 7 64 bit) same with windows xp service pack 3. So I know its not a USB port problem, its the external hard drive, I can not get windows to recognize it no matter what I DO. I am very frustrated. It worked before I left and now its shot....

QUESTION: Does this mean my external hard drive is done?? Like its dead, non reparable (for I have had no help reading forums and Seagate is the most unhelpful people I have spent 4 hours on hold talking to.) some of my data is backed up, save expect a handful of movies, music, games and most important school work. Can I pry open the plastic case and use it as an internal hard drive? (I know this voids the warranty, which mine is probably expired) I do need about 20gb of data off of it for college, ( that I do not have backed up yet) I am scared I lost everything, I can not get any of the PC's to recognize it, I have tried all trouble shooting steps offered by Seagate (most worthless advice) I am running Windows 7 atm, My External Hard Drive will not show up as a drive, it says Unrecognized USB device, Device is malfunctioning. I hope I did not lose all my data... I am willing to try anything to access my data, if worst comes to worst I wll pry it open (dont know how yet) But I want to explore all my options first. I am ready for a solution as every forum I have read there is over 20 people with the same problem all with Seagate external hard drives. Worked this morning but does not want to work now, Not recognizable device. Device manager can not read it as a drive... Anyways any help is much appreciated, I am ready to pry open the plastic case, (small red case) I dont know what else to try...

Bleeping computer has always been good to me in solving these problems I hope someone can offer me some good advice...

Thank you so much for your time :)

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#2 abauw

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:54 AM

Could you find a Linux Computer? if yes, please plugged it first on Linux and see does it could be read on Linux.
If it could be read please back up all of your Data on that Hardrive.

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#3 AustrAlien

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:35 PM

Can I pry open the plastic case and use it as an internal hard drive?

Yes: That would be my first suggestion to try. Do you have a desktop PC that will provide the necessary SATA port and power cable to connect it?

Have a look at the following topic: How can a dead external HD be recovered?

When dealing with a problem on any external hard drive, suspicion falls first on the adapter used (in this case a SATA to USB adapter). This is always the weakest link in the chain (probably due to it generally being a cheap and poorly made component?). That is why the first step is always to remove the hard drive from its enclosure and connect it directly to the motherboard of a desktop PC.


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#4 Cephalon

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 06:26 PM

I do not have a Linux PC so I cant try it on that. Thank you for the suggestion tho :) Can all external hard drives be open and used as an internal hard drive? Big or small? Mine is about 3 1/2 inches by 4 inches, I do have a desktop PC but I am not sure if it has a SATA spot, or IDE, ill have to look when I get the chance. And how would I power it? Because my external hard Drive only have a USB port (outside the plastic tho) ill try and post a picture of it. Im good with software on PC's but not so good with hardware. I am willing to learn. Thank you guys for your fast responses and the help you give me :) So there is no software to make the external hard drive like reset? Well I guess my next step is to open the casing... Here is a picture of my external hard drive (i hope it posts correctly)
external hard drive

#5 AustrAlien

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:00 PM

You asked: "Can all external hard drives be open and used as an internal hard drive?"
Yes: Inside the enclosure, the hard drive is the same as one you would fit into either a laptop or a desktop PC. Yours is the smaller variety (a 2.5" laptop hard drive) from what you have described. These can be powered from the USB connection alone and do not need a separate power supply (but the hard drive itself will have a connection for the power supply).

Open up the enclosure as best you can. Be careful with the hard drive, as they can easily be damaged by rough treatment. Do not drop it or bump it sharply.

When you get the hard drive out, you will see the 7 pin connection for the SATA data cable, and next to that the 15 pin connection for the power supply.

------------------
Open up the box of your desktop PC so you can get a look inside. Check whether it has SATA ports. You will also need a SATA data cable: If you don't have a spare, you may be able to use one from another component such as the optical drive if that is using a SATA data cable.

Look at the cables coming from the power supply. The connections available on the power supply wiring could be 15 pin or the old 4 pin Molex type, or possibly some of each. You will need one of the 15 pin type connectors to plug into the hard drive to power it. There should be some spare ones, but if you are using the SATA data cable from the optical drive, you may be able to use the power cable from the optical drive too.
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#6 Cephalon

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:11 PM

I popped the case off, now its enclosed in a metal case with a USB like chip on the end... Do i need to take the USB chip off? Sry for all the questions, I am great with software but hardware not so much, Not at all actually. Do I need to take the silver metal inside case off?

#7 AustrAlien

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:29 PM

Sorry, I am not familiar with pulling this particular item to pieces.

From what you write, it does sound as though you have now got to remove a metal case before finding the hard drive inside. I just can't be sure: If you have any doubts, perhaps a pic might help, or you can google to find out what a 2.5" hard drive is supposed to look like.
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#8 Cephalon

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:30 PM

Alright I made some progress, I popped off the USB chip and I found that my desktop is SATA, and I have the 15 pin plugged in but the 7 pin I only have 1 red cable and its connected to my hard drive in the machine, I need another red cable to plug it in to the mother board is what it looks like

#9 AustrAlien

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:36 PM

I take it then that the optical drive is connected using an IDE ribbon cable, and not a SATA data cable. Is that correct?

If that is so, then yes, it does look like you may need to get hold of a SATA data cable to connect the hard drive in question.
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#10 Cephalon

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:46 PM

The hard drive that is in the desktop is connected with a SATA cable, but its connected to my hard drive in the machine, there is no DUAL switch, I have it plugged into the power supply, i unplugged the hard drive in the machine and pluged my external into the mother board using the SATA cable but my old hard drive (native one) is nto plugged, my Dad said if I could get to a dos prompt I can retrieve the data that way, but I am lost cause my PC is stuck at Auto-Detecting Pri Master... If I had another red SATA cable then I could have both plugged in at once. (which i think is what Im supposed to do) I restarted it, I have in my windows 7 disk and Im gonna try to get to a dos promt, says windows is loading files.... Thank you again for your patience and time you have spent with me today on this issue, thats why I love Bleeping Computer, you guys really are the best on the net.

Now it wants me to install windows on it, so it reads the drive it looks like, cause why else would it ask me to install windows?? I thought this Windows 7 disc would work but I hit a brick wall again, IF i was to install windows, would my data be there? or would it be over written with Windows data files...? Im so lost, I think I am making progress but then I come to a wall. My windows disk is not a recovery disk its just a windows 7 install disk... I do not have a recovery disk, I do for my laptop but it will not work on my desktop only my laptop. So basically I need another cable, then once I have one I have to go into BIOS and tell the machine that there are 2 hard drives in the machine. It is a SATA connecter tho, so thats a good sign. Now all i need is another cable because mine has only one output and one input, My power supply has multiple connectors, Just need that damn cable. ANyways thank you guys for all your help. Like you said in the other posts, its 90% learning and 10% doing. I have learned so much already, I just want my data..

Edited by Cephalon, 29 November 2011 - 11:17 PM.


#11 Cephalon

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:34 PM

Sorry for the double post, and Im sorry that my previous post is not very clear. I am trying my best to explain my situation. But unless there is another way to get my desktop to read the disk with out the old hard drive plugged in, then Im SOL until I can get another SATA cable. I was thinking tomorrow I will go to Frys electronics and buy another SATA cable, use it to retrieve my data then return it, lol. I really appreciate all the help you have given me. I plugged in native hard drive to my desktop started it and it works so at least I didnt damage my desktop trying to get this data. Seagate external Hard Drives are no good. The people at best buy told me the same thing. So I need to get another SATA cable in order to continue, I just hope that the data will be available when I get it. My dad has about 6 external hard drives, so when I can retrieve my data I have a way to back it all up until I get a new External. Any Suggestions on which brands are best for external hard drives?? Well looks like Im stuck for the night I cant continue until I get another SATA cable. Thank you very much for your help and your patience. Bleeping Computer is the best place on the net hands down for all your computing needs :) Thank you again!!!

#12 AustrAlien

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:42 PM

OK .... now you have said that you have other external hard drives ... there is another way to do this now!

Make yourself a Linux LiveCD to use as the operating system. Then connect the hard drive that you wish to get the data from, as well as one of the external USB hard drives that you have available. Boot to the LiveCD and transfer the data. Done!

------------------
Use Puppy: Quickest way!

If your computer is not able to boot into Windows or simply not able to access the internet, you can use a LIVE Linux operating system run from a bootable CD or flashdrive instead of Windows, to access the internet, to access files on the HDD(s) and do other tasks.

:step1: Using a working computer:
  • If you wish to use a LIVE CD ...
  • Download the Linux version of your choice (usually an .ISO image file).
  • There are many options to use for a LIVE CD. I suggest that you try one of the following:
  • Puppy Linux (smallest download file size at 128 MB)
  • Linux Mint 11 Katya (versions for a CD, and larger versions that need to be burned to a DVD disk)
[*]Burn the .ISO image to CD: If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
  • Download and install ImgBurn.
  • Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
  • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
  • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image
[*]When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.
[/list][*]OR ... if you wish to use a LIVE flashdrive ...
  • Go to UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads and at the top of the page, click on Download (for Windows) to download the application.
  • Follow the instructions further down the page under the heading Installation & Screenshots.
  • Run the application to download and install the Linux version of choice to your flashdrive.
  • I suggest that you try one of the following:
  • Puppy Linux (smallest download file size at 128 MB)
  • Linux Mint 11 Katya (download file size depends on version)
[/list][/list]
:step2: Boot the problematic machine from the LIVE CD or flashdrive.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD drive or the flashdrive, which ever you are using.)
  • Choose to run the Linux operating system from the CD or flashdrive without making any changes to your computer.
    Do NOT install Linux on your hard drive.
  • When the Linux operating system loads ...
  • You will be able to navigate to all the files on your HDD.
  • You can backup your files by copying them to a flashdrive or an external hard drive.
  • Before using the internet (if you choose to use Puppy, for example) you may have to:
  • Configure/set up the internet connection
  • Download a favourite browser
    (With Linux Mint the foregoing should not be necessary.)
[/list]You may find one of the following guides useful:
Recover files from Windows XP hard disk using Puppy Linux

Recover files from Windows Vista hard disk using Puppy Linux

Recover files from Windows 7 hard disk using Puppy Linux

The easiest way to copy files/folders in Puppy is to drag-and-drop from one window to another. To do this open a window showing what you want to copy. Open another window showing the location that you wish to copy to .... and move the windows so that you can conveniently see both at the same time.

Now, simply drag the items you wish to copy from one window into the other. Simple.

----------------
Recent news, November 2011: You may be interested to have a look at the following:

The most popular Linux is...

No itís not Fedora, openSUSE, or even Ubuntu. Itís Linux Mint.


AustrAlien
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#13 Cephalon

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:00 AM

Okay that sounds good. One question... So i dont need the native hard drive plugged into the machine, only the one I want to retrieve data from needs to be hooked up with my one sata cable, then have the machine boot from disk, correct? so in other words the one hard drive (broken one) plugged into the machine internaly and then the other external hard drive (the one I am using to back up my data) plugged into the machine using USB...? I will try this now, thank you again for all your help :) I will try this now. You put a HUGE smile on my face, I was just looking up how much SATA cables cost. Thank you again I am downloading Puppy Linux now, says it will take about 45 minutes to download. I have Magic Iso, that should work to burn with I hope. WOW thank you again, You are awesome!!!

Edited by Cephalon, 30 November 2011 - 12:05 AM.


#14 AustrAlien

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:04 AM

SATA data cable: about $3.50 here. Might be more in a shop?

You asked: "So i dont need the native hard drive plugged into the machine, only the one I want to retrieve data from needs to be hooked up with my one sata cable, then have the machine boot from disk, correct?"
You got it in one: That is correct. You can then transfer your data (files) to a connected USB external hard drive.
AustrAlien
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#15 Cephalon

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:09 AM

You are great help. Thank you so much for your time, Once this is done downloading I will make the disc. I believe Magic Iso will work, if not then i will use image burn, for I am familiar with ISO files, (I have around 30 ISO files on my broken external that i am trying to retrieve.) THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!




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