External HDD freezes Windows Explorer

May 16, 2009 at 22:38:47
Specs: Windows Vista, Intel Core(2) Duo 2 GHz/2 GB

I have had an I/O Magic 320GB External HDD for a little over a year now. It has worked fine until this week.

Recently, attempted use of the HDD has caused Windows Explorer to freeze. When plugged into any USB port, Windows recognizes the drive. But AutoPlay cannot finish searching its contents ever, and when I attempt to open the drive to explore the contents, I can only open about two folders before it freezes and reports itself as "Not Responding." I attempted to drag and copy a folder from one of these aforementioned working screens, and Windows Explorer froze again, obviously not allowing me to initiate the transfer.

Sometimes, I can't even open the drive to view the contents to get as far as I described in the paragraph above. Sometimes it just freezes when I double-click the drive to view its contents. I've tried updating all drivers - for the HDD and the USB ports - and all are up to date. It's certainly not a power issue - the HDD always powers up and the laptop receives adequate power. I tried to do a file check on the HDD, allowing Windows permission to fix any bad sectors, but this process freezes as well, checking the first 2,000 or so filetypes before stopping and freezing.

Basically, my problem is that, while my computer recognizes my HDD, I can't access any of the files on it without Windows Explorer freezing. Sometimes it's a cursor spin freeze, sometimes the "green bar" inches along the top of the screen and freezes. I have a lot of important schoolwork on this HDD and need badly to access it. I have the ominous feeling that the HDD for whatever reason is junked and these documents cannot be recovered, but thought I'd throw this out as a last-ditch effort.

Any help you could provide would be sincerely appreciated. A lot of this stuff took me years to write, and while I have earlier versions backed up elsewhere, most of the latest drafts are saved to this malfunctioning HDD.

Thanks for any assistance on the matter.

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May 18, 2009 at 13:00:48
Might be a virus or damaged hard drive.

You might try to start system in safe mode and try it.

Could view the event log for clues, or use perfmon for ideas.

I would boot to a live cd and then view the drive. I'd look at any autorun.inf files on the drive and read them. There really shouldn't be any for most people. If so then delete or rename the autorun.inf file and make a folder called autorun.inf. The file would be hidden to you have to view the hidden files and system files. Or use attrib in command prompt.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10

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