Why can’t my Dell laptop detect my HP portable hard drive?

nishan patel October 9, 2012

I have a Dell XPS 15z laptop and a HP portable hard drive. My laptop does not recognize it. The hard drive sounds like it is rotating but the LED does not blink. When I try another laptop it works fine. Any ideas?

  1. Jim Chambers
    October 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Does your portable HD use a std or mini USB connector? Some laptop's mini USB connectors don't supply power. If this is the case you need an adapter.

  2. Zhong Jiang
    October 12, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Go to device manager, try to remove the detected driver and reinstall. Then check for any optional hardware updates for the device if needed. One of the possible symptoms could be usb malfunction which could lead to such possible results. If the solution differ, prepare for disinfection to remove any malware contamination and tried into safe mode. Last impending method would be system restore to the date when the original settings were not modified.

  3. Anonymous
    October 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Sounds like you just plug in and unplug your USB devices without using the "Safely Remove Hardware" application and have too many instances of the same device in your computer settings.
    To solve your issue or at least get a better hint at what is wrong, restart your computer, enter "Safe Mode" by pressing the F8 function key. Right click on "Computer" icon in the Start Menu, go to Properties, go to "Device Manager", uninstall all USB instances under Universal Serial Bus controllers. Restart your computer, and you should be fine afterwards, always remember to use the "Safely Remove Hardware" application in the Notification area in lower right hand corner.
    If this doesn't solve your issue, then perhaps the hard drive is a brick

  4. ha14
    October 10, 2012 at 7:40 am

    perhaps usb port blocked in BIOS
    1. Reboot your computer
    2. Enter BIOS
    3. Select Advanced
    4. Select USB Configuration and press enter
    5. Select the option to enable USB ports

    1.Plug in and turn on the external USB hard drive
    2.OPen device manager
    3.Expand the USB list
    4.Find the USB device for your USB Hard Drive.
    5.Right mouse click - Uninstall
    6.UnplugUSB hard drive
    7.Replug external USB hard drive and let it find and install the driver

  5. Dimal Chandrasiri
    October 10, 2012 at 4:24 am

    seems like, the USB power output is not enough to power the hard drive. you can fix this by purchasing a cable with two USB ends on a side and a single USB end on the other end. connect the two USB connectors to the laptop and the other end to the HDD. this will draw power from two USB slots.

    • Harish Jonnalagadda
      October 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Yeah this is what worked for me with an old HDD I had.

  6. Jack Cola
    October 10, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Does another USB device or plugging it into another USB port work? Does the HDD have an external power supply?

  7. Edwin Williams
    October 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    The Dell laptop might not be outputting enough power for your hard drive to run, maybe just enough power for it to make noise :\

    Good luck!

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