External hard drive suddenly not working

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ziapory

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Dec 20, 2010
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Hi,
For the last 5 months, I've been using a Western Digital external hard drive that was given to me by a friend. I don't know exactly what model my hard drive is or where to find that information. Up until yesterday, it had been working flawlessly, but now it seems to have malfunctioned.

Normally, when I plug the USB cable into the computer, the drive ("G:") shows up in "My Computer" within a couple of minutes. Now, however, after plugging in the cable the drive never shows up. I googled for help on this issue, and most of the resources I found told me to look for the drive in the "Device Manager" or in "Computer Management > Disk Management," but it doesn't show up in either of those places, so I'm not sure what I should do. I've tried unplugging it and plugging it back in, and also restarting my computer, but neither of those things helped. I also tried using a different USB cable, and that didn't solve my problem either.

The USB port that I plugged the cable into is functional; both my mouse and my laptop fan work when I plug them into that port. However, when I plug the harddrive into that port, I don't hear the "ding" sound that I usually hear when other devices, like a flash drive, are plugged in. The harddrive also seems to be properly plugged into my power strip, as there the green light on the harddrive is still lit up.

I'm currently using Windows Vista. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
--Anthony
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
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1,312
The external hard drive could be failing, or there could be corruption (partition table etc...) It's possible that data recovery software can recover the files that are currently on the drive. Since the drive can't be detected at all in Windows, that may be your only option.

By the way, it's possible that the drive itself is still intact, but could have corruption of some type causing the drive not to be detected (for example; a corrupt partition table). In that situation, data recovery to backup the data is needed, then a re-format of the drive should return it to proper working condition.
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
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1,938
Go back in Disk Management.... look in the lower pane where it gives you a graphical representation of the drives and partitions... do you see your external drive? it may be a simple case of it not being assigned a Drive letter.

If it doesnt show at all then I suspect the electronics of the external enclosure have failed. The drive inside will in all likelihood be perfectly OK.
If this is the case the solution is to get yourself a new external enclosure, SATA interface I would imagine, remove the drive form the WD enclosure and fit it into your new enclosure.
It is not uncommon for an external enclosure's electronics to fail.
 
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