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advice re unplugging external hard drive

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mcgillra, Nov 3, 2011.

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  1. mcgillra

    mcgillra Thread Starter

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    I use Win XP with SP3. I bought a Western Digital external drive to store photos on.

    Yesterday when I unplugged the USB cable, the computer rebooted of it's own accord, and now that USB port doesn't work (the power cable was plugged in). I'm pretty sure i have done this before without issues. I don't recall having any instructions about which plug to disconnect, or connect first, when using the drive.

    Any advice much appreciated. The adjacent USB is working still.

    Thanks.
     
  2. raybro

    raybro

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    Sounds very much like the USB port was damaged in some way when you unplugged the connector.

    Have you inspected the USB port closely?

    Does the external HDD still function properly in another USB port?

    Did you go through the safely remove hardware sequence before disconnecting the USB port?

    Did you shut off the power on the external HDD before disconnecting the USB port?
     
  3. mcgillra

    mcgillra Thread Starter

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    I haven't taken the case off, but can't see anything externally.

    Yes the drive functions perfectly on another USB port.

    No - I have read that as long as the device isn't being used, that it's ok to disconnect or remove it, and that's what I've been doing for some time now.

    No the power was connected.


    Thanks for your response.
     
  4. raybro

    raybro

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    You answered one of my questions. What about the others?
     
  5. mcgillra

    mcgillra Thread Starter

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    I've addressed each question with what I did or didn't do, and in some instances provided reasons for my actions ...
     
  6. raybro

    raybro

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    That's really weird... When I last looked at your response, all that was there was the last lines.
    Thus my last post

    More to the point. If the drive still functions normally on another port, it almost certainly a result of damage of some sort to the USB port on the computer.

    Personally, I make a consistent practice of using the safely remove hardware sequence and I never unplug any device while it is powered up. I do unplug USB ports from the computer when it is operation, but I always shut down what ever peripheral I intend to unplug before I do so.
     
  7. jiml8

    jiml8 Guest

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    USB ports should be safe to unplug when the system is operating. If you didn't dismount the drive first (choose the "safely remove" option) then this should have at the most corrupted data on the external drive.

    However, maybe somehow you got a corrupted USB driver instead. If there was some kind of ground problem with either the drive or your computer then maybe there is some chance that the USB port was damaged, but that would be a very strange thing.

    I'm having a hard time believing that you have a hardware problem as a result of unplugging the drive. I'd be trying other things first. Does any other device work in that USB port? What does the device manager have to say?
     
  8. mcgillra

    mcgillra Thread Starter

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    Okay - this is very weird.

    External drive works fine on another USB port but not on the problematic one.

    On the problematic port:
    - some USB flash drives with photos are recognised, and some not (I haven't checked them all)
    - printer works
    - scanner works

    Device Manager has no alerts or messages by any of the USB controllers.

    Maybe the connectors in some devices?? I don't know.
     
  9. raybro

    raybro

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    Perhaps the cable? We are down to guesswork at this point.
     
  10. jiml8

    jiml8 Guest

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    Because some devices work in that USB port, probably the software is OK.

    Best guess is there is a bad/bent connector inside the USB port. You MIGHT make it work if you shine a light into the connector so you can see the pins, and find one bent a bit out of position, and manage to move it with a pick.

    I'm actually experiencing the same problem right now, and I KNOW what it is. I'm trying to work on a box that is at a client's facility about 35 miles from here, and I can't talk to the USB stick that I KNOW is plugged into that box. But I also know that the USB port in that box is a bit flaky. So I'm just sitting here cursing, since I'm going to have to go there to jack around with that *#$#$)&* port.
     
  11. mcgillra

    mcgillra Thread Starter

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    I had a look but nothing obvious, the pins look the same as the adjacent port. I've simply swapped the printer to the "dodgy" port, so the good one is free for other things.

    Thanks for your responses.
     
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