It sounds like you are speaking of three different types of computer here, am I right? 1) Your old computer using Windows 98, 2) a Windows XP laptop, and 3) the computer that won't recognize the external hard drive.
If so, you do not indicate what version of windows the #3 machine is using. I will assume it is Windows 98, because XP comes with many of the drivers needed to run these types of devices. You simply plug them in, XP recognizes them and installs the driver needed to operate it. However, Windows 98 does not have these drivers bundled with it. So, usually you have to install the driver in a Windows 98 machine manually, that is to say from a disk. Put in the disk first, install the driver, then plug in the device into the USB port. Windows 98 will recognize it and will start using the driver that you just put in.
The reason the device lights up is because it is receiving power from the USB port, and this is a good start.
Check, too, if the machine you are now using is compatable. In other words, the device may only work on Windows 98 Second Edition and up, and perhaps you have plain old Windows 98. If that is the case, then it won't work.
If you don't have a driver disk, go to the manufacturer's website and download the driver you need.
EDIT - ADDITIONAL INFO: If your #3 machine is a XP machine, then it is possible that there is not enough power being supplied to the device to run it properly. (This is assuming that you do not plug the device into the wall for it's power supply). Are you able to hook two USB lines up to the device? If so, that may be what is required in this case. Another idea to try is plug the device into different USB ports and see if it will work better in a different port. I have seen this 'lack of power' problem quite often with USB ports. Of course if you are able to plug the device into the wall to power it up, then that would be the preferred method.
If these ideas don't help, then please supply us with more info, lot's of details, please.
Edited by Albert Frankenstein, 13 February 2006 - 08:24 AM.