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External Hard Drive Problem

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by EatinSquirrel, Aug 6, 2006.

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  1. EatinSquirrel

    EatinSquirrel Thread Starter

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    Well where do i start, i have a packard bell 400 Gb external hard drive for USB 2.0, now everything has been working fine, i have USB 2.0 and for a few months its been running perfect, now a few weeks ago it just suddently has stopped working, the drive spins and is perfectly fine yet it slows down windows to a crawl and can crash it, if i turn it off it seems to recover itself. I have norton ghost so i restored a previous image in the hopes that it was software and something screwed up. But no hopes there, and for some reason my digital camera also doesnt work, doesnt seem to find it, only thing that works is my USB modem, i did have problems with bandwidth issues but its seem okay. I even just recently bought a USB 2.0 card thinking maybe the motherboard USB was kinda screwed up, but still there is no luck, it will not function. So im asking for a little guidence, i am lost as to what to do now. Thanks for any help and your cooperation
     
  2. qldit

    qldit

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
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    Good Morning EatinSquirrel, welcome to TSG.
    USB systems can be quite complex, the actual controllers are partially driven by software.
    This may well be your problem.
    There is a "clever cookie" on this site by name JohnWill that developed a routine procedure for refreshing this driver system that most often appears to fix these kind of problems.

    I will see if I can see a post with this routine for you and repost the info, otherwise check his posts and you can search on them.

    Cheers, qldit.
     
  3. qldit

    qldit

    Joined:
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    Here is Johns routine, what he neglects to mention is the position of your hands when you do this.
    Your hands should be palms flat and facing one another vertically beneath your chin!

    Create a file with NOTEPAD containing the following lines and save it as FIX.REG
    -------------------------- Use text after this line --------------------------------
    REGEDIT4

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment]

    "DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES"="1"
    -------------------------- Use text before this line --------------------------------

    Double click on FIX.REG and say yes to the Merge Into Registry question.

    Unplug ALL USB devices.
    Open Device Manager.
    View, Show Hidden Devices.
    Uninstall all devices under USB Controllers.
    Uninstall all devices under Disk Drives that you know are not present.
    Uninstall all devices under Storage Volumes. Say no to any reboot prompts until you are finished. Also, if a Storage Volume doesn't uninstall, ignore it and move to the next one.
    If you have a yellow ? with unknown devices, uninstall all of the entries there as well.

    When this is done, reboot TWICE.

    Reconnect the USB devices and see if they're recognized properly.

    NOTE: If you have a USB keyboard and/or mouse, you'll have to modify the instructions and leave enough parts for those to function. I don't have one yet, so I haven't had time to modify the instructions.

    Fanning with a folded newspaper may help to remove any smoke emanating from your machine or from your head after doing this. (LOL!)
    qldit,
     
  4. EatinSquirrel

    EatinSquirrel Thread Starter

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    Well i did everything that was in the fix, thank you very much for getting for me by the way, there was a ton of devices on there hidden, was quite shocked. But sad news is that it didnt work, it still hangs up my computer when i turn it on :(. Anything else that can be done, i already took the external drive apart, thinking ill try and get some room for it in the computer somewhere.
     
  5. qldit

    qldit

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,390
    Good Morning EatinSquirrel, that is a pain!
    When these kinds of problems happen it is difficult to try to discern if it is a hardware or a software problem.

    As you would be aware it doesn't take much for windows to misbehave.

    Although there may be indications the the drive has some problem it is difficult to precisely "nail" it.
    Sometimes plugging into another machine is helpful.

    I found using a Live Linux system was very useful to trouble-shoot these kinds of problems.
    The actual modules (drivers) that are loaded are different and very easily allow a USB controller operation to be checked.
    Drives are also read differently which can be useful in some instances.
    This is an interesting exercise if you might like to give it a try.
    It does involve a minor learning curve.

    Alternatively it is nice to use a slide in caddy containing the hard drive but that needs a spare 5.25 drive bay.
    These things are quite cheap but give improved reliability as for a standard internal drive and can be configged to provide other operational possibilities apart from back-ups etc.
    The machine needs to be turned off for any caddy insert or removal procedure.

    There is a possibility that your drive may have developed some magnetic surface problem, if so windows may hesitate to read it.
    If you wanted to check that possibility you would need to set that drive directly in your machine somehow to make it appear (detected) as the main drive, then run this HDDRegenerator program.
    http://www.dposoft.net/
    This is a free to try shareware program that will actually repair one magnetic block problem on a drive.
    Regardless of that ability, it has a very nice little scanner in it that does not affect any data on the drive, so as an intelligence gathering tool it is very handy to determine problems.
    The file makes a bootable CD or floppy.


    It may be an idea to run the HDDRegen before running a Chkdisk or Scandisk because some drive files may be lost or location may be altered by these other programs if drive surface problems are present.

    Cheers, qldit.
     
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