Why won’t my USB 2.0 media player pick up my USB 3.0 hard drive, despite backwards compatibility?

Liezl May 14, 2013

I have a media player that is USB 2.0 compatible. My previous external hard drive used to work perfectly through the media player and recently I bought a new hard drive that uses USB 3.0. It clearly states that it is compatible with USB 2.0 devices, but the media player does not pick up my hard drive.

Why is this? Shouldn’t these work together?

  1. Jan Fritsch
    May 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    The most common problems are wrong file system, drive size or power supply.

    New drives usually come pre-formatted for the device they are intended to be used with e.g. NTFS for Windows or HFS+ for Mac compatible drives. Media devices however mostly require a drive to be formatted in the old FAT32 file system.

    In that case you'd have to backup all data currently on it, reformat it in FAT32 and restore/copy the backed up files to the drive again.

    It is also worth looking into your media players manual for compatibility information. As it was said older devices might have a problem with todays large hard drives.

    Finally, unless your hard drive comes with an external power supply it will be bus powered. The problem here is that for older devices the USB Host port may only supply like 300mA wherein all newer ports usually go up to 500mA. Since your drive is new it may have higher power requirements than the USB Host port on your media player can supply.

  2. ha14
    May 14, 2013 at 8:18 am

    perhaps to update media player firmware

  3. Bruce Epper
    May 14, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Is the external drive using a drive format that the media player recognizes? Is the formatted size of the drive larger than what the media player can handle? Some USB 2.0 devices cannot "see" hard drives larger than 2TB. I've even seen a couple that can't use anything greater than 1TB.