External hard drive doesn't play nice with computer.
September 29, 2006 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Can you help make my computer talk to my external hard drive?

Following the advice in this thread, I tried to build my own external hard drive. I bought this hard drive and this enclosure.

I am using windows XP. When I connect the drive and then go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Device Manager > Disk Drives, I see "USB Device" listed. When I click on it to see the device properties, windows tells me "This device is working properly." However, the drive doesn't show up in My Computer. None of the drivers that came with the enclosure seem to let my computer talk to the hard drive.

I contacted Newegg about my problem, and their only suggestion is that I could return the drive and enclosure. Can I get it to work, or should I return it?
posted by betterton to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Might try formatting it.
posted by one_bean at 3:54 PM on September 29, 2006

Did you make sure you set the little jumpers on the back end correctly. I'm no expert, but I screwed this up when I recently installed a seagate internal drive. Everything worked find once somebody straightened me out on what the hell I was doing. He also had me change the BIOS so that the computer knew what was going on. I've had no problems whatsoever since then. :)
posted by bim at 4:18 PM on September 29, 2006

Speaking of formatting, did you go to the seagate site and download their directions and some software stuff? Their website is pretty good.
posted by bim at 4:19 PM on September 29, 2006

Do a search on the model number for your HD and you'll get this:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Check out the install guide and such to make sure you did everything required.
posted by bim at 4:31 PM on September 29, 2006

What one_bean said. You'll need to go through "Disk Management" (within the "Computer Management" window, listed under "Storage") and initialise, partition and format the drive before Windows can see it.
posted by blag at 4:35 PM on September 29, 2006

Yeah, there's actually more to it than just plug and play like I first thought. Here's the Amazon product wiki for my drive, which I wrote because the product information included was so abysmally poor.

The formatting and partitioning process should be mostly the same for your drive.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:26 PM on September 29, 2006

Response by poster: one_bean and blag: When I go to Disk Management, my new external hard drive doesn't appear. Only my internal hard drive shows up.

bim: The Seagate site installation guide recommends using their Disk Wizard software, which I downloaded here. I installed and ran the software, which claims that it (a) recognized the drive, (b) formatted the drive and (c) created a partition successfully. (I didn't get any error messages.) However, the disk drive still doesn't show up in My Computer or in Disk Management.

What would be a good way to know if I screwed up the little jumpers on the back end?

Any other ideas what I am doing wrong?
posted by betterton at 8:12 PM on September 29, 2006

Response by poster: Mr. Gunn: thanks for the link. I looked at the wiki you wrote. It also recommends using Disk Management to format the drive. Since my drive doesn't show up in Disk Management, I'm not sure what to do.
posted by betterton at 8:17 PM on September 29, 2006

Response by poster: bim: The Seagate installation sheet for this drive claims:

Serial ATA interface disc drives are designed for easy installation. It is normally not necessary to set any jumpers, terminators, or other settings on this drive for proper operation.

So does that mean the jumpers aren't the problem?
posted by betterton at 8:23 PM on September 29, 2006

Best answer: betterton, from what you describe, your usb *enclosure* is being recognized ("usb device"), but your drive itself is NOT.
Therefore, are you sure you have hooked up your drive correctly INSIDE the enclosure? IDE cable is in the right way? No bent pins? Power cable pushed in all the way?
Is the drive itself working?
You should try: a) plugging the drive into a different computer (internally or externally) if you can, see if it works there; b) plugging a different drive into this enclosure, see if that works.
That would help you isolate the problem to the drive or the enclosure.
posted by jak68 at 11:22 PM on September 29, 2006

p.s., if you have a desktop, for example, plug your drive internally as a second internal drive, *just to see if its recognized and if the drive itself works*. Else find a friend's desktop or one at work where you can do this.
posted by jak68 at 11:25 PM on September 29, 2006

While my specific problem was't quite the same as yours, the solution still may be relevant to your non-recognized drive. Here was my situation (retrieved from my emails):

Question -- Yesterday I added a seagate 300 GB ultra ata/100 HD to my machine from a retail package. My exising HD was a seagate too. Same 7200 RPM. To make things easy, I kept the old drive with all my program stuff on it as the master. I made the new drive -- which will be used for added storage -- the slave. Installation went fine. I kept my exisiting wide ribbon, which already had a extra plug on it for power and the slave pin connector, rather than the new ribbon that came with the kit. The seagate software formatted the new drive (just one big partition). Everything seemed fine but then I noticed it had the 137 GB problem. When I ran the seagate software again (as I was looking for their help stuff), the software automatically noticed I'd hit the 137 GB barrier, said it needed to add something to the registry to fix it, it did so then reformatted the new drive again, and everything seemed fine. All 300 GB were now recognized. I thought I was done. But...there's always a but. I moved some stuff over to the new drive (I want to ultimately move my itunes music folder and all videos over to the new drive). It appears that I have no problems with opening photos from the new hard drive. No problems with playing mp3's from the new drive either. BUT I CAN"T PLAY VIDEOS (like avi, wmv etc.) PROPERLY FROM THE NEW DRIVE. THE PLAYBACK SKIPS AND JERKS AND IS CHOPPY ETC. YET THE SAME VIDEOS STILL PLAY FINE FROM MY MASTER DRIVE, AS THEY ALWAYS DID. Help! Is there some other communication problem. It seems like the hard drive is OK but it's not talking correctly to the master about video. Yikes!

Answer --

1) Make sure the new drive is jumpered Cable Select and turned to Auto in bios. If it is in both cases, then see #2.

2) Move all the stuff back. Then, use Windows Disk Management to delete all partions and make a new one, and format it. Of course, I'm assuming you're updated to SP1 or higher?

...Betterton, yes, the thing came out of the box correctly jumpered but I didn't properly let my computer know. BTW, answer # 1 worked perfectly.

I hope this helps.
posted by bim at 1:34 AM on September 30, 2006

Best answer: One other thing -- are you sure that your computer can use an SATA drive. I wasn't sure whether to get the SATA or untra ATA version (which I believe is also called IDE) of my big ass seagate drive. There were two different versions at the store. The sales dude said since my computer was about 2 - 3 years old, it likely didn't use SATA. He was right (or at least the drive that I did buy works perfectly).

Run some configuration check thing to see what your current drive is or look inside your computer.

...and as some of the other posters pointed out, a new hard drive definitely isn't plug and play...dammit.

Good luck.
posted by bim at 1:49 AM on September 30, 2006

that's ultra ATA. typo
posted by bim at 1:57 AM on September 30, 2006

Best answer: I feel your pain Betterton. I tried switching a hard drive from one external enclosure to another and have the same problem. I know the drive is fine because it works in the old enclosure and I know the new enclosure works because I've put another drive in and it works fine. However, for some reason, this particular drive won't work with this enclosure. It shows up in Device Manager but not in Disk Management. After a frustrating afternoon, I finally gave up.

Try every position with the jumper including no jumper at all. If that doesn't work, you might want to try a different enclosure.
posted by gfrobe at 2:10 AM on September 30, 2006

Best answer: by the way like bfrobe I too have seen drive-enclosure combos that didnt work, tho the enclosure was fine by itself and drive was fine by itself. Actually i have that problem right now and finally i'm assuming its the particular combo that is the problem. But you have to elminate the various possibilities by testing each part individually.
posted by jak68 at 2:45 AM on September 30, 2006

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