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External Hard Drive -- too much power for my USB port on my computer

I purchased a Western Digital My Passport Essential Portable hard drive (320 GB) (model WD3200ME-01; order WDME3200TN). When I insert the USB cord into my 600M Inspiron Dell computer, the computer states the USB device has exceeded the power limits of its hub port. What does this mean and how do I fix it? Do I have to buy another type of external hard drive?

Thank you.

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  • 3 more comments 
  • mhjohn Apr 18, 2008

    Thank you - this fixed my problem.

  • dbcollier Apr 19, 2008

    I am not getting any indication that power is being supplied to the HD. The blue light is not lighting up and I am getting the error message that the device is using too much power for my USB port.

  • Anonymous Jul 30, 2008

    now harddisk is workıng but the computer doest know ıt

  • Anonymous Apr 19, 2009

    same problem. exceeding power limit. WD 320 GB

  • Anonymous Mar 28, 2014

    I am unable to download the software to get this external hard drive running on my Windows 8.1 computer. Any advice would be appreciated

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  • 202 Answers

Hi mhjohn

First, this is actually a good thing in a way. The reason is, it is actually telling you right up front that your USB bus is underpowered for this device. That's a huge improvement over issues caused by underpowered USB buses in the previous model computers. In those, we were left to having to figure out what the problem was when a USB device inexplicably stopped or didn't work.

What is happening is, your new external hard disk drive (HDD) is trying to run off of power taken from your laptop's USB "bus" (circuitry). This is OK for devices needing low power. But in the case of external hard disks, it's "iffy" whether there'll be enough power on the USB bus to support them. Particularly on laptop computers.

You need only attach an A/C adapter to your external hard disk drive (HDD) and you should be OK. If that is not an option, connect a **powered** USB hub to your laptop and plug the external HDD to the hub instead.

By "powered" I mean a USB hub that comes w/ an A/C adapter. In either case, using a powered USB hub or attaching an A/C adapter to your hard disk drive will remove the external hard disk's power load from your laptop's USB bus and provide sufficient power for the HDD to run.

You can find USB hubs at Newegg.com and lots of other online high tech stores. I like Newegg because their prices are competitive, their customer service is excellent and there're customer reviews of most of their products there as well.

If you have any more questions, comments, observations - anything at all, just let us know. We're here to help.

Thank you,
BJ @:)

Posted on Apr 15, 2008

  • 2 more comments 
  • B Joan Rapier
    B Joan Rapier Apr 15, 2008

    ***IMPORTANT NOTE***
    Once you assign ratings to the experts' contributions, the problem will be automatically closed and we'll no longer be able to assist you. So, please, wait until your problem has been resolved before assigning ratings and choosing the "Best Solution". As long as the problem remains open, we will continue to work w/ you until it is resolved.

  • B Joan Rapier
    B Joan Rapier Apr 15, 2008

    A USB hub is a device that splits one USB port on your computer into multiple (more) USB ports.



    This enables those computers w/ a limited number of USB ports to support more USB devices than there are USB ports available on the computer.


  • B Joan Rapier
    B Joan Rapier Apr 17, 2008

    Hello mhjohn,

    How did it go? Did the information I provided you w/ enable
    you to correct the issue of insufficient power for your external hard disk drive?


    I DO hope that is the case. :) If it isn't, just post back here and we'll continue to work w/ you.





    If
    it is the case, would you kindly take just a moment to reward my efforts at
    helping you w/ a FIXYA rating for my "solution"? I would be very grateful for your kindness and the show of appreciation.





    Thank you once again for using FixYa! Have a beautiful day.


    BJ @:)

  • B Joan Rapier
    B Joan Rapier Apr 18, 2008

    Hi mhjohn,



    That's terrific! I'm very pleased you were able to resolve the issue w/ low power on your laptop's USB bus.



    I'm very please I was able to help. Thank you v-e-r-y much for the FIXYA rating, too! :)



    Please, come back to FixYa anytime you need help w/ one of your gadgets or have questions. We're here to help.



    BJ @:)

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