1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

External Hard Drives suddenly not detected after unplugging/replugging

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by arthurius, Feb 1, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. arthurius

    arthurius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Hi there,

    Well let me describe my set up first. I'm running a HP Pavilion dv2000 (Vista Home Premium) series laptop, and I have two external hard drives connected to the laptop through a 4-port USB Hub. The two I have are a Western Digital MyBook 1110, and a Seagate FreeAgent Pro. Both have an AC power supply and are plugged into a power strip. There have been no recent software or hardware changes.

    Now, this is what happened. A couple of days ago, when I plugged my USB Hub into my laptop, I realized that my two ext. hard drives were no longer being shown in My Computer, nor were they being shown in Disk Management. When I checked in Device Manager, they still showed up; when I right clicked on the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the system tray, they still showed. Another weird thing is that the WD MyBook comes with a virtual drive, which can still be accessed and used normally despite the actual drive not being so. When I plug them in and out of the USB hub, I know it is being 'seen' because I hear the sound Vista makes when a USB device is plugged in and out, and it is also reflected in Device Manager.. but it just refuses to show in My Computer, and I simply can't access it.

    So far, the only thing that appears to work is me rebooting the laptop, at which point it will be detected. I have tried powercycling, plugging the drives directly into the USB ports on my laptop (one at a time), and neither works. I've also tried doing clean installations of the drivers for the Hard Drives, but no to avail.

    In the past, this has never been a problem. I could plug/unplug at will and it would detect it with no problems at all. Sometimes I unplug it when it's still operating and replug when it's still operating; sometimes I unplug it when it's in sleep mode and replug it when it's in sleep mode, and every other combination in between - never had a problem.

    Please help! It's really frustrating to have to reboot every single time I take my laptop away from my workstation. Thanks in advance for any help rendered!
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    "clean installations of the drivers for the Hard Drives"

    That statement scares me a bit. There are no drivers that need to be installed for these drives since the OS supports them natively. There are none that you should need to install.

    Try cleaning up all the old USB devices. Note that you can select multiple items in the window and delete them all at once. Remove any devices that are marked as being unconnected (and leave your drives unconnected during the process).

    USB Device Cleanup
     
  3. arthurius

    arthurius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Oops, I think I meant the program that came with it to manage the disk (eg. WD SmartWare).

    Pretty amazing how many ghosted items there were, many of them duplicates. Took me quite a while to clear them all up.

    I'm at USB Device Viewer now, and I want to confirm: When you say 'Remove any devices that are marked as being unconnected', do you mean to uninstall them, or to disconnect them?

    Almost forgot my manners: Thanks again for the assist!
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    Uninstall. No need to worry. If you mistakenly uninstall something, it is easily reinstalled. But by clicking the column header, you can put all the unconnected devices together and select them.

    Yes, it is amazing how fast they accumulate. And when the number gets high with a lot of similar devices, it seems the OS gets confused. :D
     
  5. arthurius

    arthurius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Aww darn, it didn't work. Immediately upon rebooting, and logging into Vista, I plugged the drives in, and they were detected, automatically installed the drivers (?) and software and worked as per usual. But once I unplugged them again to test whether they'd work under normal plug/unplug/replug conditions, the same thing happened again - they're 'seen' but not accessible, and not visible under My Computer.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    It seems there has always been a problem with using more than one external at a time. I know I stopped doing that quite some time ago due to the instability involved, and one drive just disappearing during large file transfers.

    Try the drives individually in an actual USB port rather than a hub. You may have to experiment to get things to work as you want them to, and you may not be able to do it at all.

    Trying different USB ports may help, too.
     
  7. arthurius

    arthurius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Correction: IT LIVES!

    It appeared that not running Device Viewer as administrator would have pretty much negated the step.

    Once I did run it as administrator, the uninstallation of the unconnected devices began in earnest.

    So, yes, it works now!

    Thanks a million for all the help! And yes, if this happens a little too often in the future, I'll consider ceasing the use of one of my externals.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    Clean out the old ones once in a while, too. :D

    I still consider USB to be a bit "buggy".

    Using the same USB ports for the same devices seems to help, too, to the extent that you can remember. But cleaning solves that problem, anyway.
     
  9. arthurius

    arthurius Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Okay...

    So apparently it's not fixed after all, despite the cleanup last night. Any ideas/suggestions? :(
     
  10. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/978259

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice