USB hard drives turning off on their own.

This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.


Thread Starter
Mar 16, 2010
This is a problem that first started manifesting itself in Windows XP for me, just a couple of weeks ago.This explanation is going to be quite lengthly, my apologies.

I started experiencing lockups when booting into Windows XP. I isolated these to the built in USB ports on my motherboard, which seem to be no longer operational. I disabled the onboard USB in the motherboard Bios and bought a couple of PCI slot USB cards. I no longer experienced lockups but a new problem started presenting itself - my external hard drives would power off whenever they felt like it.

I run my iTunes off of one of my external drives, and both have backups of my pictures - around 200gb of data all told. Sometimes the drives would remain on and working for most of the day. Sometimes, they'd shut off almost immediately after being switched on (for the one that has a switch). I have two of these external drives - one is a Comstar with an external power supply, the other is a Toshiba that pulls its power from the USB connection.

As an experiment, and because I was pretty sure this wasn't a hardware problem, I installed Ubuntu on a second internal hard drive. Sure enough, both drives work just fine in Ubuntu - no unwanted shutoffs.

I decided that since it was a Windows XP problem, I should just upgrade to Windows 7 like I'd been planning. The problem is now, if anything, even worse than before. In both XP and 7, I disabled as many power management settings as I could find, including unchecking the boxes in the USB root hub options in Device Manager allowing the system to shut off USB devices to save power.

Autorun in particular draws the problem out - if I turn on one of the drives and ignore the autorun dialogue, it seems to stay powered up longer than if I select any option or X out of the autorun box - that causes almost immediate powerdown of the device. I can navigate the drives when they're powered up - everything is there, and nothing is corrupted. Windows just keeps telling them to shut down somehow.
Jan 17, 2008
Ok! now heres what i thank is your problem, if i read it right, i thank its your power supply! you see each part of your system needs so much power. My own experance was the same as yours I changed my supply and it stopped. Also I've read that some Ext. HHDs that use's its own power will not have this but the ones that pulls its power from the USB will cause this, so check out your power supply, so not to cost you money just take your ext. hhds and use them on some other PC and if they do the same thing there you are!!!!!

Hope this helps, good luck!!


Feb 23, 2010
Enough power supply isnt available for you External USB Drives.
Try upgrading the PSU and see how much power do the external USB ports supply to the HD
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

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 807,865 other people just like you!

Latest posts

Staff online