Why is my external hard drive not detected anymore?

Anonymous January 6, 2014
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My 500 GB Seagate portable drive is not detected anymore in My Computer but it shows up in Disk Management. When I start the disk management it tries to initialize the disk but reports an I/O error and shows the portable drive as Disk1-unallocated and unknown drive. Right-clicking on it gives options such as initialize, offline, properties and help, but it does not allow me to format or rename the drive. Is there any way I could get my drive back to use and if possible without losing the data in it?

  1. Roger
    January 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    I probably should have mentioned that Nirsoft Utilities includes a couple of password crackers that may trigger a false positive in your antivirus system. I finally got smart enough to whitelist the utilities so Avast doesn't keep removing them. YMMV

  2. Roger
    January 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I live by the old adage...... KISS or keep it simple stupid!
    My first approach for a USB issue is to replace the driver. Nirsoft Utilities has a utility called USB Devices that allows you to view, disable, or delete USB devices (drivers) and that has always solved my problem. When you attach a USB device Windows automatically installs a driver so if you delete ALL USB drivers and install a new device a new driver is installed. You can easily go into Control Panel, Device Manager and delete ALL USB drivers then Reboot. All devices installed will get a new driver and all drivers previously installed with nothing attached will be gone forever.
    You can build yourself a simple toolbox, all for free, by downloading WCSS, Windows Control Center System, (Google will find it for you), install it, upgrade it immediately, and it will install a pot full of highly desirable utilities from Nirsoft, Sysinternals, etc. and you will have USB Devices tool ready to go.
    Unplug your drive.
    Remove all USB drivers from Device Manager that have nothing attached.
    Reboot.
    Plug in your USB device and a fresh unadulterated driver will be automatically installed!
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

  3. Hovsep A
    January 6, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Manage Your Hard Disk Partitions Like A Pro With EaseUS Partition Master [Windows]
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/manage-your-hard-disk-partitions-like-a-pro-with-easeus-partition-master-windows/
    try to format with EaseUs Partition Master, i think only The Pro version offer bootable cd alternative.
    http://www.partition-tool.com/easeus-partition-manager/comparison.html

  4. Oron J
    January 6, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Try initialising the drive, that will include partitioning and formatting the disk. If it fails, your drive is probably faulty, buy you could test it by booting the computer from a Linux live CD (e.g. Ubuntu) and trying to initialise it there before giving up on it.

    • Borat B
      January 7, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Thanks for the suggestion. I don't have a Linux Live CD right now, but I'll try that for sure an let you know.