View Full Version : Hard Drive issues

Wondering Nomad
07-26-2010, 6:06 AM
I've recently had an external hard drive fail. I removed HD from its enclosure and placed it in a USB dock. My computer will not recognize it as it does other drives that I use in the dock. In the past I have taken a known good HD out of my DVR and it too will not show in windows explorer. Any ideas why these drives are not showing?

07-26-2010, 7:15 AM
Bad dock? I've had a couple come in DOA over the years. Or a bad USB port? Or if you keep pulling a device out without using the safe hardware removal applet Windows will eventually stop recognizing the device.

07-26-2010, 9:13 AM
Fry's carries a very useful tool to have in your home computing arsenal.

It's called "Deluxe USB 2.0 to IDE Cable" Fry's number: Powmax EN2535A KIT

Basically allows you to power and connect any bare drive to your system, PC or Mac and is only 19.95

07-26-2010, 10:28 AM
In the past I have taken a known good HD out of my DVR and it too will not show in windows explorer. Any ideas why these drives are not showing?

Because they are not partitioned & formatted in a method identified by Windows.

The Custard Pirate
07-26-2010, 11:16 AM
Have you tried running the Find New Hardware utility?

07-26-2010, 12:57 PM
HDD can "not show up in windows" for all kinds of software reasons
* Hardware problem (isufficient power, USB adapter bad, drive bad, recognizing it).
* Not formatted in an OS Windows recognizes
* Not assigned a drive letter.

(This should apply to XP, Vista, Windows 7)
Right click on the My Computer Icon, select manage
Select Storage/Disk management (probably somewhere else in a different rev of windows, I forget)
Q: Is the disk listed? You can also assign drive letters here (sometimes windows doesn't do this automatically).

Now, if you see it in the BIOS but it doesn't show up in the HW...
Q: Does the drive require more power than your USB connector can supply? Sometimes, these USB to SATA adapters have two USB plugs for this very reason as the USB bus-powered spec says the max any port can supply is 500mA.
If you are using a USB dock and that dock doesn't have an external power supply AND the HDD you are plugging in wasn't meant to be used with the dock , this insufficient current could be your problem.

Q: Get a SMART HDD utility monitor SW and see if there are any errors being reported (drive going bad).
I've used this one

Q: Can you connect the drive to the PC via SATA (vs. going through a dock)? This way, you can check to see if the PC's BIOS will recognize the drive.
You might not be able to do this if you have a laptop and no eSATA port.


07-26-2010, 3:15 PM
You probably have to assign it a drive letter in Disk Management, just right click My Computer, select Manage and go down to Disk Management. Then just right click the partition to assign a drive letter. If that doesn't work and you cannot partition/format the drive then it must be dead.

07-31-2010, 1:19 PM
If you're looking for open source, I suggest checking out this web site. It has quite a bit of information


I can't remember the utility I used works with windows partitioned drives or NTFS file systems. I'm strictly a unix guy so most of what I do tends to be very low level copies of data and trying to recover that way.

08-01-2010, 9:31 PM
The failed drive may not show up when mounted on a USB port because the boot sector or partition table may be damaged -- or -- the NTSF file system was damaged beyond Window's ability to recognize it.

I would suggest getting a recent live USB Linux distribution and see if you can read the disk with that. If not, save what you can of the partition image with ddrescue and use Spinrite from GRC (http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm) to repair the damaged sectors.