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I have a WD external hard drive that I was able to load several pictures onto (and stupidly deleted them off of my computer once they were loaded.) Now, whenever I plug the hard drive into a computer (I've tried it on 3), the computer recognizes that I've plugged something in, but I can't access it. In my device manager, it is listed as a disk drive, but how do I get into it from there? This is very frustrating!

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  • wriz23 Oct 06, 2009

    the only way i can even view that the hard drive is attached is if i go to device manager. i doesn't show up under my computer.

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One or more of the hints below will probably sort out most USB problems with most USB portable / external hard drives and OTHER devices (though not always)

A few things to check but assumes USB and Windows for other interfaces / operating systems (mac/ Linux) similar steps may be adapted to suit.

1. Ensure it is connected directly to the computer to a USB 2.0 port not a USB 1.0 port as this can have effects on performance and reliability

2. Use only the cables that came with it NOT one that fits that may have been lying around or is longer. Not all USB cables are equal even though they should be)

3. Do not connect through an external USB HUB unless that hub is USB 2.0 AND has its own power supply.

4. Use ONLY the power supply that came with it if it has an external power supply Don’t use any other unless you know it has both the same voltage and current rating e.g. 12V 500mA anything rated below that would not work properly.

5. Always use the same port for connecting your devices. Some devices do not like being switched about. If switched they may want to install software / drivers again. This can be especially true if you move a HUB to another port
6. For FLASH DRIVES you should ensure that the device is set for "quick removal" using the drive control panel properties or use the USB "Safely Remove Hardware" option. If you dont do this there is a very strong chance that any files you transfer may not be there when you plug into another computer.

If you checked and fixed anything there and still have issues then check your hardware from CONTROL PANEL / SYSTEM / HARDWARE.
Any exclamation marks by hardware need fixing before you investigate any further

USB flash drives can fail for no apparent reason.
Sandisk Cruzers are especially bad for this.

USB hard drives should be treated with extreme care.
This is a real hard drive ! and knocks and bumps can quite literally kill them.

It is possible to remove drives from the enclosures in most cases and connect directly inside a PC to fully check it.
You should also do this to cheack the drives connections are not bad inside the enclosure

Note that if you hear a drive clicking or pinging this could be the worst thing you would hear.
Known as "The Click Of Death"

If none of the above steps help look at updating the drivers from the manufacturers web site in the support section.

Posted on Oct 02, 2009

  • Project NOMAD
    Project NOMAD Oct 06, 2009

    You may want to take the drive out of its enclosure and connect it directly to a suitable computer.



    This would tell you right away if it was the drive or the enclosure.

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Go to my computer, right click the drive, go to properties, tools and run error checking on the drive.
If the computer is writing cache files on the drive and you unplug it without ejecting it first it goes retarded.

Posted on Oct 02, 2009

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Look up on the main WD site the model number of your drive and make sure you have the correct drivers installed. external drives need drivers too. also make sure your plug and play is accepting external drives.

Posted on Oct 02, 2009

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