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My external hard drive is no longer being recognized by my laptop. After having my laptop's boot drive reformatted I began reconnecting all of the peripherals. The computer would not recognize the external drive. The light on the drive would come on when I plugged it into one of the USB ports but Windows XP did not recognize it. No messages, it just isn't recognized (does not show up under my computer). I called the manufacturer (Hitachi) and they had me try a couple of things, including trying it on another PC. That machine didn't recognize it either. They did ask if I had another USB cable but I didn't. Could that be the problem? They did say that it was under warranty but I don't want to lose the data or pay the exorbitant recovery fees to get the data back. Any help you can give would be much appreciated. Its a Fibrek Simpledrive from Hitachi. Thank you.

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I doubt it is the USB cable as it has no moving parts that could fail. If it is in good physical shape then it is probably good.

Frequently, external drives are not accessible because the computer is already using the drive letter that the external drive wants to use.

Open Windows Help and Support. Search for "drive letter".

Select "Assign, change, or remove a drive letter." and follow the instructions.

I recommend picking a letter towards the end of the alphabet such as W, X or Y.

If this doesn't work it would be good to test it on another computer. If it works on a different computer then the drive is good and your computer is where the problem lies.

Although it may void your warranty, removing the hard drive from the USB enclosure and connecting it directly to the PATA or SATA connector on your motherboard should allow you to access it if it is the USB enclosure that has failed. This is a task that most computer shops can perform for you. (E.g. Best Buy's Geek Squad)

I hope this helps.

FYI: I have been servicing computers for 12-years now and Hitachi has the highest failure rate of any hard drive I have ever encountered. IBM bought Hitachi's hard drive division serveral years ago and they had so many failures they sold the division back to Hitachi! Needless to say, you should also stay away from IBM hard drives. The most reliable drives I have encountered are Western Digital and Seagate. I have mixed experience with Maxtor, Fujitsu and Toshiba drives.

Posted on Feb 02, 2010

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