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Windows can't detect external Hard Drive


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ppinny's Avatar
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15-Feb-2009, 11:23 PM #1
Unhappy Windows can't detect external Hard Drive
enclosure = iMicro... http://www.imicro.com/item.php?item=IMS25SATAS
HDD = Samsung 2.5in 320 Gb model number HM320JI

The external hard drive, connected by USB, lights up, runs and warms up. but is not detected by windows. It is present, however, when attempting to close USB devices.
I have tried removing all other USB connections, (low power?) mouse and External M-Audio sound card with no change.

I have followed the installation instructions, both those that came with the items and those linked below ...

http://www.samsung.com/global/busine...eshooting.html

http://www.samsung.com/global/busine...yComputer.html ......

but the boot page on my laptop does not contain the same elements as the instructions on the Samsung helper. I don't feel confident to have a stab at it where there are similarities!!

The iMicro enclosure, that states it is suitable for drives up to 200 Gb but the store said it would be fine.(!?)

Thanks for your help,
ppinny
Alex Ethridge's Avatar
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16-Feb-2009, 01:30 AM #2
I think the store is correct about drives over 200 GB. These drives are rated at 1.0A. Are you using external power? Or are you getting it from the USB port?

If from the USB port, my experience is that these drives will sometimes simply not be detected due to low power and sometimes when they are detected will just drop off line at some point.

Each USB port is supposed to furnish 500mA; but, I think the drives are either incorrectly rated or the USB ports on most machines just don't meet the spec.
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16-Feb-2009, 03:18 AM #3
Hi Alex...and thanks,

Yes the drive is powered by USB. Can i check the USBs output with a volt meter? (which pins!?).

When you say "I think the store is correct about drives over 200 GB." do you mean the store guy is right that it should still work with a 320 GB drive even though it says on the box "up to 200GB"? I wondered if the box pre-dated these bigger drives.

Am i right in thinking this should be plug and ..."pray" was it (!?) without any need to dive in the deep end, (for me at least!)?

There is no connector for and external power supply on the enclosure, as far as i can see.
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16-Feb-2009, 04:44 AM #4
The box probably predated the 320G drive.

No option for external power? I'm a little surprised. I've seen them sold without AC adapters; but, not without even a terminal to plug in your own in the event you decided to do so. Personally, with my past experience, I would not have gotten one with no option for external power.

I have one here similar to yours and one of those dual-connection USB cables, one for USB and power and another just for power to boost it from 500mA to 1.0A. It drops off occasionally on some computers so I just started always using external power to eliminate the worry.

No, you can't test it with a volt meter without endangering the main board. You would need some sophisticated connectors for that.

Does it work on any other computers?

By the way, I hear laptops are the most frequent offenders on not meeting the 500mA rating on the USB port.
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17-Feb-2009, 01:30 PM #5
Hi Alex,
Thanks again!

Yes it has a USB cable with three "ends". So i power it up through that?
If so what do i need?

I am living on a little island off the coast of Panama where there is little support for this kind of technology and a postal service where mail with overseas labelling usually disappears! Also the internet service is temperamental...hence the delay in this reply...sorry!

I don't have access to any other computers. (The salty sea air, humidity and temerature have combined to trash nearly all my electronica and i am left with the one Fujitsu Siemens Amilo laptop (which is over four years old and still going strong!!. My wife's HP Pavilion, $1500s worth, didn't make one year!)

I can get a "wall wart" with variable voltage output locally if that might help. The one i have doesn't output the voltages it says but i could check a next one with a voltmeter in the shop. Can i jerry build a connection with one of these and pins 1+ and 4ground on the spare USB?

Thanks. Paul

ps. i have a friend returning from the US soon so i could maybe ask her to bring what i need if i can't find a way to sort it out here.
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17-Feb-2009, 10:12 PM #6
Red face sh*t for brains!
...all i can say is in mitigation is that the last few days have been a bit busy at a personal level and i have been somewhat off the boil or else i am becoming senile but it only just occurred to me that the extra USB is intended to plug into another port to get more power for this very reason...........so i plugged two males into the lappy and one into the drive with the result that the drive is now detected at -control panel-add hardware. Explorer still cant see it as it is presumably not "installed". and i have been unable to achieve this either.

Of course if i use 2/3 USB ports for this i will lose my mouse or my external soundcard and i don't know if i will be able to source a USB hub!!

Is it me?????????
Cheers, ppinny
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17-Feb-2009, 10:29 PM #7
The only way I know to diagnose a problem like this is experimentation. Without anything to experiment with, I am a little lost. If this is a laptop that the drive isn't working with, that is just more evidence in favor of the possibility the laptop isn't supplying the full one-half amp on each USB port.

I haven't tested it myself; but, rumor is that many laptops are designed to supply one-half amp to be divided among all ports instead of the one-half amp per port required by the specification. If that is the case with yours, you are a victim of just another violation of the standard set by the international standards group that sets those specifications. I don't remember the name of that group; but, you get the idea. In other words some manufacturers cheat. Further, according to the rumor, the smaller, more compact and lighter the laptop, the more frequent and egregious the violation.

Back to your problem: Sorry, I just don't know how to test this thing except by connecting it to a couple of good desktop computers.

Digression/Rant:

As an example: Seagate recently had a successful class-action suit against them and had to make a settlement in the millions (a drop in the bucket to Seagate) for lying about the capacity of their hard disks for twenty+ years.

Some years back, Dell was caught violating the ATX specifications by swapping some wires on the motherboard's power terminals which would cause a loud bag, smoke and the loss of a power supply and a motherboard if one connected a non-Dell board to a Dell power supply or visa-versa. This was an abuse and egregious violation customers' trust designed to punish those who bought non-Dell replacement parts. Yet Dell still insisted their boards and power supplies adhered to the ATX standard.

Dell stopped the practice only when publicity went world-wide and to a level that even hit some major newspapers. Isn't it odd how people/companies learn how to 'do the right thing' when their pocketbooks are threatened.

All of the above was prepared hours ago; but, I forgot to press the submit button before leaving for service calls.

Perhaps you need to go into Disk Management and prepare the disk--Start> Control Panel> Administrative Tools> Computer Management> Disk Management. If you use a hub to boost power and free up USB ports, you will need a powered hub, one with its own external power source.
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17-Feb-2009, 11:48 PM #8
Do you have any unallocated space in Computer Management - Disk Management with the external drive plugged in?

Last edited by dustyjay; 17-Feb-2009 at 11:57 PM..
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18-Feb-2009, 04:29 PM #9
Hi again,

Using the two USB slots seems to have overcome the detection issue. So i have made the partition and now the hard drive is/was formatting..... i started it about 14 hrs ago and it was up to 3% just now when it stopped with "unable to complete format". It did the same when i tried a quick format too.

Yes, Dustyjay, there is a 1MB block of unallocated space after the big block representing the 320 Gb drive. Thanks for your input BTW!

Explorer now sees the disc and offers to do a format if you try to open it.
Why does the format not work and what can i do to fix it?!

...so near but so far!!!!!!!

Again my .net connection is on and off so apologies for any delay getting back to you all.

Thanks all, ppinny
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