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Just to be on the safe side, why not plug in your iomega drive into another known working computer and see what happens. If it works fine and is properly recognized then the anomaly lies within the software of your laptop.
U might want to contact HP - but be fore warned that they are terrible for support if your unit is "out of warranty." If that is the case I would simply google the anomaly and in all likelihood you will get links that will help you fix it yourself.
It's likely your external drive developed a fault. You could try data recovery software yourself. But the quickest and easiest way I can suggest to recovery your files is an online data recovery service like http://FreeDataRecovery.us
They offer both remote data recovery and do-it-yourself data recovery advice.
Is it a new harddrive in a external case..if so i have the same prblems and i have to remove the harddrive and insert it into my computer and format it 1st...then place it back into my external case...
If you have used it before,then the best thing to do is try it on an other computer,if that doesn,t recognize then try a different usb cable,if still no go...then the harddrive might be either virused up...then you will have to put it in your computer to virus scan.or your harddrive may be faulty...
Or the last thing...if it is a new external google your motherboard because if it is a old computer your trying to use it on..it may not regonize the harddrive if the capacity is to large..
Hope this helps..if so please take the time to rate it,and if i can be anymore help.
The Interface will have connections for Data, (Information), and Power. (Socket holes that match the pins on the SATA harddrive)
In the link above the data, and power connections for the Iomega external harddrive, will probably be a combined unit. As shown in the 8th illustration down, in the above link.
The Interface can be soldered directly to a circuit board, (PCB, or Printed Circuit Board), or will be attached to the circuit board through wires.
Usually it is the circuit board that is the problem. Components burn out, or circuit traces on the circuit board are burned apart. (Think of a circuit trace as being a very flat, thin copper wire)
There may be a situation where the harddrive itself has come loose from the Interface. Doesn't have to be very loose to make a bad connection, resulting in the external harddrive will not work.
My proposed solution:
Open the external harddrive's external enclosure, (Case), and see if you can see any readily apparent visual signs as stated above.
No visual signs that show you that you can just plug the Interface onto the harddrive, making a tight connection? Or plug the harddrive into the Interface, if the Interface is soldered to the circuit board? Or no obvious signs of blackened spots on the circuit traces?
It could be that one, or more I.C.'s are bad, and are not readily visible. (I.C. = Integrated Circuit)
Weigh buying a used Iomega Prestige 500GB USB 2.0 harddrive, and use it's circuit board, and external enclosure, against what a professional recovery service will want to recover your data. Not trying to be trite. Am asking you to weigh the costs.
One place that came up in a search just now, that is supposed to have used Iomega Prestige 500GB USB 2.0 external harddrives,
May be Philips head screws, but I'm betting on Torx. (Probably metric Torx also) You should be able to find a cheap set of Torx screwdrivers at an auto parts store. Perhaps just the bits to use in a 1/4 inch nutdriver.
Once the screws are removed the internal parts slide out of one end, or the case comes apart in two halves, and the ends come off. (Internal parts being the harddrive, and circuit board)
Not a very professional,approach, just for an added source of opening an external harddrive's case,
It is my belief that the circuit board for your Western Digital external harddrive, has failure problems. Simply put, the circuit board is No good.
I don't know your computer hardware expertise, so please bear with me, if I detail the following information in basic format. It is my intention to explain the basics of how a harddrive works, (Internal or External), so that my solution may be understood in general terms.
What you see right now is an external case. Inside the case is a desktop style harddrive. (3.5 inches in width)
Inside the harddrive are round Platters, that resemble a CD disk. Depending on the harddrive, there are 3 to 6 Platters. Information is stored on the platters, by means of arranging a magnetic media on both sides of each platter. (There is magnetic media on both sides of each platter)
The magnetic media is arranged by Read/Write heads. These heads are attached to an 'Arm'. The Arm moves the Read/Write head back, and forth, across the platter. (Like the arm of a phonograph player)
There are Two Read/Write heads for Each platter. One above the platter, one below. The Write option of the Read/Write head, arranges the magnetic media, for the information put on the platter.
The Read option of the Read/Write head, 'Reads' the information stored on the platter.
All of the above named components are inside a hermetically sealed case, which has an opening to equal pressure with the atmosphere outside of it. There is a special filter in this opening.
All of the above named components are installed in that hermetically sealed case, while in a Clean Room. This room is 99.9% dust free, and the assemblers wear special suits that would make NASA jealous.
The harddrive case Can be opened, But SHOULD NOT be opened! Once the case is opened in anything but a special Clean Room, the harddrive will only last for a few hours.
At the bottom of this case is a Circuit Board. A PCB. (Printed Circuit Board) This circuit board is made specifically for THAT style, size, and type of harddrive, for it's manufacturer. (Western Digital)
This circuit board is a Control Board, for the components I named off above. The circuit board has components on it that can fail very easily. (Electrolytic Capacitors are the ones with the highest fail rate)
It is this component that I believe has failed. You have the option to buy the same type, style, size, and model of Western Digital harddrive, and borrow it's circuit board.
The circuit board is attached with screws to the bottom of the main harddrive case. There are small connectors to disconnect, and that's it. Remove the circuit board from your defunct one, install this one. I would transfer all of your important information, then trash this harddrive. Replace the circuit board back into the one you bought, and use it.
(Your external harddrive case opens like a clamshell. It's made of two halves. There are screws that hold the two halves together. 4 of them. The screw heads are hidden under the labels of the case)
I apologize for the length of this solution, and hope you can make sense of it.
A new harddrive, and borrowing the circuit board from it, will be MUCH cheaper than having a data recovery shop recover your information! (Generally they charge $75 an hour, and it usually takes a while. You can buy a new harddrive for Much less, http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3326100&CatId=2458
The above is an example. It is Not a direct example. You need to view the model number that is on the case's label, for the harddrive inside your external harddrive enclosure. You need THE same one)
The problem that has been inherent with all LaCie external harddrives, is the interface in the case itself.
Interface: All external harddrives have a Style of harddrive that is used in a laptop, or one that is used in a desktop computer. Laptop harddrives are 2-1/2 inches across in width. Desktops are 3-1/2 inches across. Your LaCie will have a 3.5, (3-1/2) inch desktop style harddrive, inside the case.
There are two main Types of harddrives. IDE and SATA. (There is also a newcomer. SSD. SSD isn't being used in LaCie external harddrives at the moment, to my knowledge)
Your LaCie will use a SATA harddrive inside it. This is an example of an average SATA harddrive, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hdd.jpg The photo of this harddrive is tilted at an angle, that doesn't readily show the interface connection, but it helps to explain.
At the bottom of this harddrive in the photo, and to the left, is the interface area.
Viewing the harddrive, look at the four metal pins on the extreme right of the harddrive. To the left of these pins is the Jumper pin area. (Has a white jumper on two of those pins)
To the left of the Jumper area is an opening, and to the left of that, is a long slot. The first small slot area is for the 7-pin Interface cable. (Data cable) The next slot to the left, is for the 15-pin power cable.
This 7-pin Interface mates up to socket holes in a connector, of the case of the LaCie external harddrive.
It is this interface connector, inside the LaCie external harddrive case, that is the problem. Solution? Buy a quality, in-expensive External Enclosure, take the harddrive out of the LaCie, and install it in this enclosure.
Examples of 3.5 Sata External Enclosures, http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=2780&name=3.5-eSATA-enclosure&Nav=|c:2778|&Sort=0&Recs=10 (From $15 to $35, is a good range for a decent external enclosure)
Does it happen to be a Maxtor II? I had a very similar issue with my external and it devastated my backup program.
If the power light is coming on but not being recognized by the OS, your first step is (as you said) trying a different USB/Firewire cable. If that does not work and you don't care about voiding an expired warranty, you can open the case and remove the HDD. It will have several screws in the back; just undo them and slide it out. Try hooking the HDD up through IDE (or SATA if equipped) and after powering up, go into BIOS and see if it shows up on the IDE(SATA) list. If it doesn't, then as far as I know, your only other option is to try a pricey data recovery service.
If its a 3.5" the first thing I'd check is the fuse in the plug for the power supply (if you're in the UK)?
If changing the fuse doesn't work it could be a problem with the power pack within the external HDD. Is it under warranty? You my be able to get it repaired or a new one (Don't forget, if you open up the fasia of the hard drive you will void the warranty). I assume you're not worried about data on the drive as you are happy to format it. If you are worried about data and it isn't under warranty/garantee I can tell you how to get the data off if you need me to?