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My XP PC won't recognize portable Western Digital hard drives

I am using a PC with Windows XP as the OS. I have not been able to get my PC to recognize any portable Western Digital hard drives (Caviar brand especially). I have a hard drive case where I can make any hard drive portable. I just plug in any IDE hard drive and I am able to access the hard drive via USB.
I have tried to read multiple Western Digital Caviar hard drives, but I am unable to. Other brands work fine except for some Seagate drives. First off, no drive letter is created once I plug in the USB cord, which is not normal. Second, I cannot see the hard drive when I open up Computer Management/Disk Management. The only time I see the hard drive is in the Device Manager under Disk Drives. I am following all the directions that come with the hard drive case (i.e. set the jumpers to Master or Single drive, etc.)
I need to make a ghost image of a drive (a Western Digital Caviar 2120), but I can't really do this when no drive letter is assigned to it nor can I assign a drive letter to it.
Please help if you can.

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  • melkra935 Jun 15, 2009

    Thanks for the response. I did check the jumper settings and tried no jumpers and the Master jumper, but neither method worked.

    Thanks for your help as well. I read the 3 links you sent me and none of them really helped, but I can peruse that website some more and see if I can find what I'm looking for.

    I was finally able to ghost the drive, but I had to find an older PC cabinet. I plugged the WD drive in as a slave and the newer drive as the Master. I just ghosted the WD drive to the newer drive that way. What a pain.

    The equipment I was trying to use was a NextStar 3 External Hard Drive Enclosure. Neither that enclosure or a different enclosure worked for me. I've used these enclosures with different brands of drives and they worked just fine.

  • melkra935 Jun 18, 2009

    Thanks everyone for your responses. The next time I have to read a WD drive using my enclosure, I'll use all your advice. I had to re-install the drive into a computer, so I don't have it on hand to try out the advice you've all given me.



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Not sure how to help without knowing what hardware you're using to read the drives.
But here are a couple of links from WD that may prove and here.or here.
I'd look for something similar on the support site for your device.

I hope this information allows you to resolve this issue. If you need further assistance, please post back with a comment to this thread.
If I've managed to answer your question or solve a problem, please take just a moment to rate this post....thanks!

Posted on Jun 15, 2009

  • efs_perpends
    efs_perpends Jun 16, 2009

    It may be that you're experiencing a problem with your xp registry that's affecting some drives. See link here and links within that article, expecially here and here. Some of these xp usb problems are challenging to track down, but make sure you are using a rear usb port, consider using a powered hub if you have other usb devices that are competing for power on your system. Maybe the drives you're having trouble with require more power to spin up? Here's an article that may help troubleshoot the usb.,

  • efs_perpends
    efs_perpends Jun 16, 2009

    BTW, I see a lot of folks who seem to have problems with WD external drives that i see are caused by connecting/disconnecting the drives improperly. They seem to think all usb devices can be plugged/unplugged at any old time, and have corrupted the drives to the point where they're no longer recognized. That was my intent in directing you to the WD make sure you were exercising appropriate caution.

    In retrospect I think maybe it's a usb conflict/or device issue. Sometimes simply rearranging the order of the usb devices will correct problems of this sort, but powered hubs seem to help.


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Look into the jumper settings for your drive, which will either be posted on the drive itself or is easily found on the manufacturers' website. Most USB/IDE adapters require that the drive be set into 'Master' mode. The default configuration for most drives is 'Cable Select'.

Shortcut: Western Digital drives typically have a jumperless "Single Device Master" setting, try pulling the plastic jumper(s) completely out before use.

Good Luck!

Posted on Jun 15, 2009

  • jcoady
    jcoady Jun 18, 2009

    This comes from Vantec's web site

    "Q. My computer sometimes recognizes the NexStar, but sometimes gives me errors.

    A. If your computer is giving you problems with the NexStar, be
    sure to connect the USB cable to a rear port, directly off the
    motherboard or USB PCI card. The cables connecting front USB ports are
    not always properly shielded and cannot properly handle USB 2.0 speeds,
    thereby corrupting the signal between the NexStar and the computer. "

    Unfortunately all other references I've run across mentioning this enclosure and WD drives suggests that the only solution is getting your money back and purchasing a different enclosure.



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