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External USB hardrives not always accessible

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by seanchk, Nov 22, 2008.

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  1. seanchk

    seanchk Thread Starter

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    I am having a problem with 2 external hardrives. The drives are in external enclosures and connected to my laptop via USB. My OS is XP.

    When I first connect either drive, I sometimes get the requestor with the standard Open to View Files options, however sometime I don't and if I click on the drive icon in My Computer instead of being given the option to Open to View Files, it only gives me the Open With menu.

    If the drive connects correctly and I get the Open to View Files option and open the drive, if I then close that window I am then unable to re-open the drive to see the files.

    This is really frustrating and I've searched all over the place to figure out whats going on.

    Hopefully someone here might be able to help.

    Thanks

    Sean
     
  2. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge

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    I really don't know where to go with this at the moment; but, when this problem presents, will restarting the computer clear the problem?
     
  3. seanchk

    seanchk Thread Starter

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    Hello Alex,

    Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately restarting does not fix the problem. I was able to access one of the partitions on one of the drives last night and as it didnt have too many files on it, I was able to move them to another drive and format that partition. That has resulted in that partition being properly accessible.

    The remaining partition on the drive shows up but is still inaccessible by normal means. I discovered however that if I right click and select autoplay then I'm given the menu with the Open Folder to View Files option and I can access that partition.

    Its a little bit kludgy and but at least I can get at the contents of the drive.

    These drives came out of my desktops PCs when I moved from Hong Kong to Bangkok (it was easier to only take the drives rather than 3 PCs). So far I've connected 2 of the 6 drives I brought with me and both have exhibited this annoying behaviour.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Sean
     
  4. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge

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    This may or may not be helpful:

    Windows XP cannot address drives larger than 137 Gigabytes. Addressing drives larger than that requires Service Pack 1 or later.

    Do you have SP1 (or later) installed?
     
  5. seanchk

    seanchk Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    I'm running XP pro with service pack 3, so that isn't the issue.

    I was leaning towards it being a jumper issue, but it isn't that either.

    The drives are identical 160 gig units and the enclosures are identical high quality powered cases.

    I've effectively solved the problem by shifting the contents of each drive/partition until each one was empty and then formatting them.

    After formatting they work as expected. It's odd that they didn't behave correctly right out of the box (so to speak) and it would be nice to know why for future reference, plus I still have the other drives waiting to be hooked up.
     
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