external hard drive not showing up.

March 7, 2009 at 04:25:14
Specs: windows xp, 3gb
I recently have a computer with hp slimline with xp and my external hard drive works fine (maxtor 500gb) i bought another computer with xp sp3 on it. But, it's not recognizing my external hard drive, my 500gb maxtor external drive is soooooo important, i have over 400gb of projects on it, and i'm currently not able to access it......i've plugged it in several usb ports and no luck. i plug camera and several other things in usb port and everything else works. i searched online and right clicked my computer/manage/disk management---it's showing my external drive and it's enabled. but the drive isn't showing up.

in disk management it says 1174gb online

104gb unallocated
811gb healthy
259gb healthy


See More: external hard drive not showing up.

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March 7, 2009 at 04:44:53
First of all, if the external drive is the only source for your important files you are foolish. You should always maintain at least two copies of all files you wish to keep.

What OS were you using on the original computer?

Was the drive working OK the last time you used it on the original computer?

What type and capacity hard drive/s is in the WinXP computer?

I don't know what Disk Management is looking at with 1174 online. That is the total of the three partitions you listed.

Did you scroll while in Disk Management? Sometimes there is too much information to see on the screen at one time.

You don't state what connection type your 500GB external hard drive is. A am assuming USB? There are other connection types.

Did you see the enclosure in Device Manager?

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March 7, 2009 at 05:36:38
A computer that is running Windows XP cannot detect a USB thumb drive, an Apple iPod, or an external hard disk drive

In the Registry, take alot of care when looking for such things as --

There are many of such long numbers..be exact.

Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry

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March 7, 2009 at 06:34:29
my new computer is xp sp3, my old computer was xp sp3 and it recognized this same external hard drive, infact, i plugged this same external hard drive into the computer a few minutes ago and it recognized it.

this external hard drive is plugged through usb. it's a maxtor, it's 500gb and it has 420gb of data currently on it. I didn't think i was being foolish for putting all this data on it....because on my old computer i was using it as that....a backup drive, important stuff i would copy it on this maxtor external usb drive. When i was deciding to get this new computer---i sent everything from the old computer to the external usb hard drive----so when i got this new computer all i'd have to do was copy all my important data from my external drive over to this new hard drive...........This new computer has a 500gb internal drive already built in. My external hard drive is just a backup, but I do need to get my information off of it on to this new hard drive asap. I know xp can recognize it because my old computer recognized it.

Chuck, i don't know what to look for in registry? i'm really confused, i'm just trying to get this thing working asap, this is the same xp sp3 i used on my old computer, this computer did come with vista, but so did my old computer. thanks

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Related Solutions

March 7, 2009 at 06:36:31
i searched maxtor in registry and this is what it said.


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March 7, 2009 at 06:46:40
Glad to hear the external is just a backup. I stated it was foolish IF that was the only source. Your old hard drive still has the files on there, doesn't it?

Did you install WinXP and SP3? Did you also install the motherboard chipset drivers?

Are you also using a flash drive on the new computer? Is the external partitioned into more than one partition? You didn't indicate if you double checked to verify there isn't more information on the screen when in Disk Management.

Have you tried booting with and without the external drive connected and powered?

Do you have a safely remove icon in the tray by the clock? If so, open it to see if the drive shows there?

You also didn't verify the connection type. USB, firewire, eSATA?

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March 7, 2009 at 06:56:56
Searching can go on forever, if you click Find Again.

You can mess up your computer if you do not know what you are doing in Registry.

In that article I gave you ---
it says to navigate to this ----

and delete the mentioned filters.

The above Registry location is just like navigating through Windows Explorer. Do you know how to do that ???

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March 7, 2009 at 07:05:09
thanks for your response Onthehill, i went online locally and found a small computer shop this guy had in his house, he installed xp sp3, and all the drivers except the tv tuner. this computer has the input for flash drives, but i'm only using usb ports.

i'm sort of computer illiterate, but in disk management, it has disk 0 465gb healthy (that is my main hard drive c. whis is 500gb partioned to 465gb)

disk 1 (which i'm assuming has to be my maxtor usb external hard drive that i'm trying to use) 1174gb online

104gb unallocated
811gb healthy
259gb healthy

it says device is working properly and enabled.

there's a bunch of other disk (through 5) which says no media--those are these little memory card drives that i don't have anything in. then there's cd rom DVD drive --no media since i don't have a cd or dvd in there.

my connection type? if your referring to how i log online---that's ethernet, if your referring to this maxtor external hard drive i connect through usb port.

i have tried powering off the computer and plugging in the external hard drive, i've tried doing it with the computer on, etc.

the safely remove hardrive thing has USB Mass Storage device, location 0 (one touch)---1 touch is the name of the maxtor hard drive. device is working properly.


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March 7, 2009 at 07:05:38
To make a comment. I am not trying to work against the advice being given by Chuck 2. I am just verifying there isn't a more obvious reason you are not finding the drive.

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March 7, 2009 at 07:15:45

I picked up some time ago that you are another old geezer, like me.
Any advice given by me can be taken with a grain of salt.

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March 7, 2009 at 07:22:20
"there isn't a more obvious reason you are not finding the drive.

well thank both of you for your advice, i'm working with both, lol. but what's the "obvious reason" i'm not finding the drive? thanks

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March 7, 2009 at 07:24:09
I am not saying there is, just looking for one, LOL. You still didn't comment on some of the things I listed.

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March 7, 2009 at 07:32:55
Also try ---
In Windows XP HELP, click Index, then type:


Below that double click "List of Troubleshooters"
Try some of those. They ask you a series of
questions, and give solutions along the way.

Click 'Hardware' troubleshooter.

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March 7, 2009 at 07:39:58
onthehill you are post must have got crossed, i responded, response 7, Chuck, i tried with no luck. thanks

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March 7, 2009 at 07:50:45
Chuck, i tried with no luck.

What was that ???
If the Registry deletion thing, then I think you have to do a Restart.

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March 7, 2009 at 08:38:13
I am going to copy all this post to the open forum.

There is at least one other poster following this thread. Better to post in the open forum. What I was asking is how the external drive connects to your computer.

The totals for the external far exceed to capacity of a 500GB drive. (1174GB) The online could refer to an external drive but where is Disk Management seeing the extra space? Also, normally external hard drives are left as ONE partition. The list indicates at least three.

Are you connected to a network of any kind. Are there letters assigned to the three partitions?

Now I do see in #7 you did respond to most.

Double click on the safely remove icon and it should open a dialog box on the screen. If the Maxtor is listed there is there a + sign next to it? If so, click on it to expand. Do you now see the actual drive?

While you have that dialog box open go to My computer and see if you have any additional drive letters showing.

You mention listings in Disk Management for removable memory cards. Verify that those drive letters are actually for that. If push comes to shove you may need to temporarily diconnect the card reader from the motherboard. I suspect that will allow the external 500GB to show.

If that is the case there may be a fix by assigning a high (X,Y,Z) to the external before reconnecting the USB card reader.

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March 7, 2009 at 10:16:58
my apologies Onthehill and Chuck, it appears i may have a bigger problem, i plugged this external hard drive into my old computer and it's not showing up...........................it was showing up there, now nothing.......................

what are my options? even though i have the majority of this data on my old hard drive, i will miss around 150gb of stuff i really can't afford to lose, i know that's foolish. i once used a data recovery program to get back some data on an old hard drive. So if your gonna recommend formatting or partioning will i still be able to recover my data? i don't even know how to format or partion this drive if it's not being recognized there's nothing i can click on to perform such a task. i went to maxtor's website there is no driver and no cd came with this hard drive, for xp you just plug and play. thanks for your help.

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March 7, 2009 at 10:29:48
I suggest that you remove the drive from the enclosure and connect directly to the motherboard, if possible.

There are many variables here. The drive is most likely a 3.5" model but may be a different interface than you have available.

Also, neither of your available computers may be 48 bit LBA compliant. If I understood you correctly that both computers originally came with Vista pre-installed then that shouldn't be a problem, nor should the interface. If the drive is a SATA then it should connect right up to existing SATA controllers and power connections. That assumes you have extra ports and cabling.

As far as recovering data goes, if the drive is rotating there is a good chance of recovery. The issue may not be with the actual drive itself, but with the enclosure circuitry.

Unfortunately many enclosures do not provide adequate cooling and heat can damage the drive.

You need to try and connect it up. If you get it up you need to be prepared to start recovery. The drive may not start again.

There are various recovery programs available and live versions of Linux can sometimes read files.

Unfortunately I am fearful that the drive is DOA. If the file system was messed up you would be able to see the drive but it may say it is not formatted or some such thing.

Try connecting it internally and post back.

Can you feel the drive rotating now while still in the enclosure?

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March 7, 2009 at 10:31:18
I had this identical issue with an external hd, and it wouldn't get recognized by xp correctly. It was that I had not installed the chipset driver after installing the OS. After I did that, it was fine.
Go to your PC maker's website and download the chipset driver for your model.

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March 7, 2009 at 13:57:19
yes the drive is rotating, i took it out it's sharply carved enclousure. unfortunately its a different interface than i'm accustomed to, never saw this one before.

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March 7, 2009 at 14:34:01
Does the drive look like the drive and connectors in the links below.



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March 14, 2009 at 20:19:07
well it's a week since i last posted---because i'm just getting my computer back. i took it to a guy who does data recovery. come to find out i partioned part of the drive when i was downgrading to xp, i should have unplugged the drive. he got back most of my data BUT, there's thousands of folders with crazy names like recoup dir 1, recoup dir 800, etc......i had over 400gb of videos and personal music that i have done with my groups and all the songs are called numbers. for example, a song called i love you is now called something like 3847512918743. There's no way i can go through all the folders and put all these things in there right locations. i'm happy to have everything back, but i'm sort of confused. i guess i'll make a new post to see if there anything that can batch all of this stuff back to the correct names, i know that's a long shot, but...........

thank you to everyone who gave me advice. Thanks alot!

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March 15, 2009 at 04:54:10
So then you don't have backups of all your personal files?

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March 15, 2009 at 06:36:24
I have WindowsXP MCE 2005 SP2 and whenever I attach my externial H.D. a 320G.B. Seagate Free Agent USB or any of the several thumb drives I have they are listed in My Computer ! I just find it curious that some are saying they would not be listed ? Also has he tgried looking in the System Information Utility to see if they are mentioned there ?
GoodLuck Nick

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March 15, 2009 at 12:33:43
nick r the drive had mistakenly been partioned (not even completely partioned) so for whatever reason the computer wasn't reading it. it was in device manager but wasn't able to be accessed. I searched online many had similiar situations and thought their hard drives were fryed, the repairman said many times it's the enclousure. the hard drive was fine, soon as he took it out the enclousure it read, but since it had been partly partioned the data was erased. He tried several data recovery programs with no luck. Then he used Linux and that got my data back but it was all scrabbled in 1609 folders with crazy numerical names, files had numerical names, etc...... I tried a couple of data programs and got things the way they were!!

onthehill, right now i'm copying imporant files on 2 hard drives so i can backup my work. Last time things were backed up-----see when i was gonna downgrade from vista to xp--i copied from my main hard drive to my external--which was already being used as a backup. So i wiped my main drive clean and reinstalled xp. Unfortunately i left the external drive plugged in and it some how partioned part of that---so i ended up losing the data on both hard drives. For today i'll copy important data on both hard drives and later in the week i'll go pick up another external and copy over there and put that drive up somewhere for backup.

by the way the old external which my computer wasn't recognizing----the repairman took it out of the enclousure and installed it as a slave internal. He said the hard drive is fine and believes the main problem was something wrong with the enclousure. He gets that problem alot with external drives. thanks

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