im not sure how bad your hard drive is but if it works on another computer
click start control panel administrive tools ,computer management ,device manager look through all of your devices if you see a yellow question mark?or exclamation mark ! or red x right click to reinstall drivers or if you can see your usb but its not working ports(com&lpt)right click update driver sometimes the wires inside the cable will be damaged due to bending or stretching or placing heavy equipment upon the cable, just replace the cable of the hard disk, when you plugged the external disk drive you got that windows could recognize the USB device change the cable everything should work fine again, check the USB leads that attach to the motherboard usually red-white-green-black make sure they are securely seated and have no dust build up on them dust will cause static and a lot of unforeseen problems also make sure the computers Ram and Cmos battery are securely seated hope this helps also you could run the chkdsk utility click start run type cmd then type chkdsk/r/f which will scan for and attempt to repair any bad sectors and automatically fix any corrupt files on your hard drive another way of running the chkdsk utility click start control panel administrive tools,computer management ,disk management right click on your drive select properties click tools you should see click check now click start two boxes automatically fix files and scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors place then a tick in both boxes then select check now,start should schedule this task when restart do not do anything while the chkdsk utility is in progress any input may damage your computer then defragment your hard drive also you might download and use this registry cleaner it is totally free to use http://download.cnet.com/ccleaner/
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