Why does my computer not detect my external hard disk?

StrangelyYours January 27, 2013
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I use a fairly old computer. P4 with Windows XP. The 1 TB external Seagate hard disk I use is powered by an external power source.

When I plug it in, I can hear the hard disk working and it slightly vibrates in my hand as it usually does. The lights on the hard disk turn on normally as well. This hard disk has been working fine for the past 6 months now, but the computer can no longer detect it since yesterday.

I have tried plugging the hard disk in every port my PC has, front and back panels, but it won’t detect. Tried restarting the computer as well.

It has all my data and hence I really need this device to start working again.
Desperately need some help and suggestions

  1. andrew macaulay
    February 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I wanted to move a data disc to another computer.

    I found that clicking import disc in device manager worked for me. (changed from "foreign").

    If you can "see" it in device manager but not in "my computer" this may make you happy.

  2. John Delgado
    February 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    it would take sometime before a P4 system to recognise a 1 TB external hd..try leaving it for hours..P4 is too slow for your external hd

    • dragonmouth
      February 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      We are talking about a P4, not an 8086. If the drive is not recognized within one or two minutes, it will never be recognized because there is a problem.

  3. Danny Zamolxis
    January 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    i have a bad feeling that is the board who connects the hdd to usb port and for that you have to take the hdd out of the box and connect it directly to the mother board of the pc or useing an adaptor or an external hdd rack


  4. Miguel Guzman
    January 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Sometimes, the hardisk gots a drive letter used by other (usually fixed) disk. Go to disk manager (Administrative tools...), search for your disk and change the disk letter

  5. TerryM
    January 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    If your version of Windows XP does not have SP1 or SP2 it will not recognize a hard drive beyond 127GB.

    Also make sure the external drive casing will recognize your 1TB drive.

    If both of these conditions are met, go into your disk manager from your Control panel and see if the drive is recognized but not assigned a drive letter. Assign a drive letter and you should be able to access from your Windows Explorer.

    Control Panel -> Performance and Maintenance (or Administrative Tools) -> Computer Management -> Disk Management

  6. Tech Nech
    January 28, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Go to device manager and check for the hard disk. See if it has yellow icon then uninstall the driver and check for any updates and install the driver back again. Hope this helps!

  7. Kostas P
    January 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Computer > Right Click-Manage > Disk Management > Change Drive Letter

  8. Gary
    January 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    The drive may not have a mount point. Go to Start run > type "diskmgmt.msc" without the quotes. If you drive shows up then right click it and go to "change Drive letters and paths". Click add and assign it a Mount letter.

    If that doesn't work it could be an issue of the drive not getting enough power in which case you could always take off the external HDD case and plug it straight into your computer with a standard Sata cable (assuming your motherboard has support for Sata drives). I would do this only as a last resort as it will no longer be a portable drive and will essentially just be another internal hard drive. It's always better to try though as you will have access to your files.

  9. Christian Cawley
    January 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    You don't say whether it is an IDE or a SATA cable connection, but if it is an older computer you should probably change the for a new one, regardless - best to rule everything out.

    Also might try adaptor cables: http://www.usbnow.co.uk/Adapters_&_Connectors-USB_to_IDE_Adapters/c42_46/index.html

  10. Jim
    January 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Take the hard drive to a different working computer, whether at a friend's, public library, church, other, and see if it is recognized. If it is recognized, the problem is with your pc. If it is not recognized, the problem is with the hard drive.

    January 28, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Hello, have you tried uninstalling the usb drivers? once you uninstall the driver from device manager, restart your computer and the driver will be installed by itself. Once that is done, try connecting the external.

    • Vertika
      May 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      I went to Devices and printers selected my passports properties and uninstalled the drivers,unplugged the device,replugged it and it worked.
      this was really helpful. Thank you :)

      May 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      I am glad it work out for you.

      May 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      I am glad it worked out for you.

  12. Breno Buckup Suleiman
    January 28, 2013 at 1:58 am

    if works in other pcs, u should chechk your software. if not, change the cable

  13. Alex Schnapps
    January 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    "1 TB external Seagate hard disk.."
    Does it drive an optional external power supply? Or Y-cable? Old computer can deliver not enough current (0.5 A or less ) to the USB only for such a powerful drive normal work.

  14. Ahmed Musani
    January 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    scan your drive with seagate tools. http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/

  15. Earl John Dela Cruz
    January 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Try inserting the disk with another computer. If the disk was recognized then there's a problem with the previous computer that you're using. But if it wasn't recognized, the disk might be damaged.

  16. ha14
    January 27, 2013 at 11:56 am

    go to device manager and see if your hard drive is listed there and if you see yellow sign, right click on it and choose uninstall (do not delete), while the hard drive is plugged reboot and see if windows will refresh the driver so that to be recognized.

    • Susan Tucker
      January 31, 2013 at 1:44 am

      I have the same problem with my hard drive.... bought it not even 3 weeks ago... I went into device manage .... what it the hard drive doesnt show up

      • ha14
        January 31, 2013 at 9:29 am

        does it work on another pc?

        while the hard drive is plugged run this utiltiy

        go into the BIOS and adjust the settings for Legacy USB Support or USB Device Legacy Support

        1. Go to run and type cmd then right click on it and choose run as administrator
        2. type DISKPART and hit enter
        3. type : LIST DISK. This will show you all the connected disk with the offline one.
        4. Now select the offline disk using the next command SELECT DISK where disk_no is the offline disk number which you can get from step 3 result.
        5. Now you have selected the offline disk. Now enter command ONLINE DISK.

  17. Kuriakopoulos Marios
    January 27, 2013 at 11:13 am

    try the disk with an other computer. Maybe the problem is with the disk

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