Karl`s PC Help Forums

External hard drive doesn't want to play.
dr john - 1-1-2008 at 18:22

So I finally bought an external USB hard drive to use as a back-up device. A Seagate FreeAgent 320Gb drive.

I plugged it in and a little notice flashed up saying new hardware, then Seagate FreeAgent. So I opened Windows Explorer, and the drive wasn't there. I re-booted and the drive wasn't there.

I right clicked on MyComputer and clicked on Manage and then on Disk Management. The Seagate was there, plain as day.

I right clicked on the Seagate in Drive Management and made it active. I right clicked on it again and selected Open. And was told that I wasn't allowed to open it due to restrictions and to speak to the system administrator. But I'm the only user and I'm the sys admin, and listed as such!

I've tried a driver update, but it says every time I have the latest driver, and I've re-booted a few times, and even uninstalled it then rebooted (it gets detected again when I do that).

I have a tiny external USB hard drive that does get recognised, but it's only about 2 Gb, and for transferring data.

Any suggestions on how to make this plug and play device usable??

I thought I'd try here first rather than that other place (although they are helpful over there).

(XP Pro)


Topcat - 1-1-2008 at 19:24

A basic thought, you make no mention of "formatting" / partitioning doesn't it need that before Windows will recognise it.

Did you not have any instructions with it.

Topcat


dr john - 1-1-2008 at 20:21

The instructions say plug it in, use it. That's it.

It is recognised as an active partition, formatted to NTFS, straight out of the box. But Explorer can't see it, neither can any other program (only the Disk Management in Computer Management reports it's there, as well as Windows at boot time).


Topcat - 1-1-2008 at 20:45

Is there nothing in Control Panel via "Add new Hardware"

Have you tried different USB ports.

Does it change anything if you boot with / without it plugged in.

Just tossing ideas around.

Topcat.


dr john - 1-1-2008 at 21:01

The hardware has successfully been installed (several times). I have tried different usb ports. The drive is recognised by XP Pro as being installed and sees the correct size for the drive. But Windows Explorer doesn't see it, non other program sees it and I as administrator am told I don't have the rights to open it or explore it.


Wilbur - 1-1-2008 at 21:25

Have you tried the Seagate utilities to 'add this as a storage drive in your computer'....or whatever option it gives you ?
Just wondering because I had a problem with a WD drive, but downloading their 'data lifeguard' utility and choosing the 'add as a storage drive' it formatted it etc so that explorer could then see it.

Just wondering........or maybe you have done that already ?


dr john - 1-1-2008 at 21:33

It is already formatted.

I'll have a look for the Seagate utility however.


KOUROSH - 1-1-2008 at 21:42

if you use the link below on the right hand side of the screen you should be able to see the software or driver for your external hard drive download it and run it and lets see if it sorts out your prob

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=b443d21c2f32b010VgnVCM100000dd04090aRCRD


dr john - 1-1-2008 at 22:16

Thanks. I'd found it just a couple of minutes before your post and it is testing away. It too spotted the drive instantly. It's just that XP will not let me speak to it. Yet. Fingers crossed, as the test is going to take quite a while by the looks of it.


LSemmens - 1-1-2008 at 23:05

A suggestion could be that, since you can see it in disk management, would be to use disk management to remove all partitioning and re-initialise the disk, allowing disk management to re-partition and format it. Is a drive letter assigned in disk management?


dr john - 1-1-2008 at 23:18

It has just passed all the tests.

It has a drive letter. Windows knows it is there, and has acknowledged its existence at every stage. It just will not let ME look at it with Windows Explorer or any normal software, so I can't save files to it for example. I'm loath to reformat a new drive that is described as healthy, active and passes the diagnostic tests.

It's very frustrating.


Daz - 2-1-2008 at 00:26

Quote:
Originally posted by dr john
I'm loath to reformat a new drive that is described as healthy, active and passes the diagnostic tests.


But clearly something is amiss... And as the drive is new and unused, running a simple format is no major drama, so would be worth trying anyway....?

It's the first thing I'd have done TBH anyway, I always like to prepare drives myself, so I know it's been done properly....


dr john - 2-1-2008 at 01:17

I'm still thinking about this.

Windows does know the drive is there and does show it to me in drive management. So there is clearly no fault with the drive, but with Windows itself not giving me access to it. Windows is ignoring me as administrator. How do I make Windows let me use it?

Also a tiny amount of the disk is used by something, which might be required to make it run through the usb connection.

It's late. I'm off to bed.


dr john - 2-1-2008 at 11:43

At Last!

I went through Seagate's online troubleshooting document and one of the things I hadn't yet tried was changing the drive letter.

So as it is a FreeAgent drive, I called it F: and now I can look at it.
I suspect that my USB flash drives are claiming E: for themselves and the system got confused.

So if it happens to you, try changing the drive letter. Tens seconds to do. Ten hours to find the info however.

Thanks to all those who tried to help.


KOUROSH - 2-1-2008 at 16:49

we are glad you got it but had you reformatted it, it would have given it a name and you prob would have been over


dr john - 2-1-2008 at 19:48

Ah, but there was no USB Flash drive using E: connected at any time, so it is still likely it would have ended up as E: again, and then had a problem all over again. If I'd search a fraction longer on the Seagate site, I'd have seen their troubleshooting guide sooner and fixed it in the time it took to read it.

Re-formatting would have removed the warranty + support guide , the autorun set-up and the cute little icon. I always look on re-formatting as the absolute last final desperate act of despair. The last time I ever needed to re-format a drive was at least six years ago, probably more. Although of course this time I'd only have lost a tiny amount of stuff. Normally when you re-format, you then spend days putting all the software back, downloading OS and program updates, searching for things you can't remember where you downloaded them from, and so on.

RTFM works.
But they should have included the troubleshooting guide with the drive. As they point out, there is plenty of room in the box for more info.


LSemmens - 3-1-2008 at 10:23

You grew up on windoze didn't you, dr john? For those who grew up with DOS a format and reload is nothing. With preparation, I can have my system fully functional again within a couple of hours. A disk, only in the time it takes to format.


dr john - 3-1-2008 at 14:33

No, I didn't grow up with Windows, I started with Commodore 64 in 1979 and then a a Sinclair Spectrum about 1981, and then moved to a PC and DOS 3.1 in 1986. ;)
(Excluding using a mainframe or three in 1975 and 1979 for research.)

With an empty disk I know how short a process it would have been, but as I said several times, it was Windows that was stopping me from using a perfectly okay hard disk and not a faulty disk that needed re-formatting. I merely wished to know how to make Windows give me access me to the perfectly health disk that it knew was connected. Re-formatting the disk was trying to solve the wrong problem - the disk wasn't faulty. For many problems it is also a way of saying I don't know the answer, let's wipe everything off and start again. So very often rhe correct problem isn't solved when you just re-format things. And in this case it took a few minutes to read the troubleshooting guide and a couple of seconds to fix things. Properly.

I haven't needed to resort to re-formatting for a very long time, yet I know people who end up re-formatting almost every year whenever they hit a problem. Re-formatting is surrendering, not a solution.

Really, Seagate should have included their troubleshooting guide with the drive.

PS Rather annoyingly, I did think of changing the drive letter during the first 10 or 20 minutes I was playing with it, I just kept thinking "But windows can see it as E: so surely that's not the problem."


LSemmens - 4-1-2008 at 04:43

My apologies, John, I made a wrong assumption. I have known of windoze to corrupt boot sectors and FATs, some can be fixed with a simple /fixmbr or chkdsk. As far as I am concerned the computer is a tool to be used and not one to "tinker" with. in other words, I will always opt for the quickest solution over the "elegant" one every time. My time is too valuable to waste attempting to repair something that I know can be fixed in less time by replacement. (within reason - of course)

That said, if I feel that something is repairable in a reasonable time, or critical, then, yes I will spend time on it. In your case, an HDD that wouldn't work, quicker to try the obvious than spend days searching for a solution which may, or may not in this case, be the same as the things you'd tried. As you said, you'd, considered changing the drive letter an disregarded it, as might have I.