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Thread: External Hard Drive Disappeared

  1. #1
    Internet Ministry mrmagill's Avatar
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    External Hard Drive Disappeared

    (Not sure where to put this, Mod please move as needed)

    I'm hoping someone can help me without bashing my OS...

    I have Windows Vista Home Premium, and a Seagate 2 TB external FreeAgent drive. It has worked perfectly for nearly a year. Now, suddenly, it's drive letter disappeared from the list. It is still detected by Windows in the respect that I hear the tone after it's plugged in, but it is not accessible.

    I have run the Seagate External Drive Troubleshooter (great tool!) but it found nothing at all wrong. I moved the drive to my laptop (Windows 7) and it works NORMALLY in every respect. So this is pointing me to something that could have happened to my desktop system that it normally runs on (the Vista system) but I have not a clue what it could be. I used the same connection cables and all that between both the desktop and laptop systems to rule those out as well.

    So... This appears to be a "Silly Windows Thing That Happens" - Anybody know how to fix it? I am at expert experience level in making changes/etc, so registry hacks if needed are fine, as I have a lot of experience doing them and the danger is understood.

    Wild guesses are also welcome....
    Mark R. Magill
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  2. #2
    Custom User Title entrecon's Avatar
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    If you can find it in the system devices, remove it and then reconnect it. Let windows try and set it up for the "first" time again.
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  3. #3
    Internet Ministry mrmagill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entrecon View Post
    If you can find it in the system devices, remove it and then reconnect it. Let windows try and set it up for the "first" time again.
    It DOES show up in the system devices when it is connected, and does not when it isn't, as I would expect. So I tried the idea of connecting it, then uninstalling the driver while it was connected as you suggested.

    The system ran the "New Hardware Found" routine, re-installed the driver, and said it was ready to use.

    Still no drive letter assigned, drive not accessible. Any other ideas?

    (Thanks for helping!)

    Added later: I also right-clicked on the device while in the System Devices and had it check for updated driver software online. It said the best one was currently installed.
    Last edited by mrmagill; 10-2-11 at 05:17 PM. Reason: Added note.

  4. #4
    Former Spam Filter (EU) IanS's Avatar
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    Is it plugged in via an e-Sata or USB or Firewire connection?
    If it has a choice, change the method of connection.
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  5. #5
    Internet Ministry mrmagill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanS View Post
    Is it plugged in via an e-Sata or USB or Firewire connection?
    If it has a choice, change the method of connection.
    It's connected to USB, which is its only connection available. I've tried moving it to different ports in case one of my USB ports were damaged in some way, even tried moving it to a powered hub, but no change at all - still no drive letter, not accessible. Yet it is still detected when connected (the tone sounds) and disconnected (disconnect tone sounds).

    When I go to "Safely Remove Hardware" I can see it in the list, "Seagate Free Agent Drive" - but it has no drive letter. I then brought up its properties, then "populate" the "Volumes" tab, and it says (in case this is helpful):

    Disk: Disk 6
    Type: Basic
    Status: Online
    Partition Type: MBR
    Capacity: 1907728 MB
    Unallocated Space: 1 MB
    Reserved Space: 0 MB.

    I've scoured the 'Net looking for solutions, tried many, no resolution found yet. Still, the drive works perfectly and passes even the most rigorous diagnostics on the Seagate external drive test utility when it is connected to my laptop. And as I said, it's worked fine on THIS system up until recently.

    I'm stumped.
    Last edited by mrmagill; 10-2-11 at 07:09 PM. Reason: More info.

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    The drive letter assignment might of gotten screwed up

    if you go into CP > Admin tools > Comp Management > Disk Management does your USB drive show up? Try changing the drive letter their.

    You COULD try bashing your computer... sometimes that actually helps :-)

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    Autoload's Avatar
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    Seems to be a rather common occurrence with these drives...... I realize the thread below starts off as a MAC complaint, but there are several Windows people chiming in with the same issue. My advice after wading through Seagate forums..... Don't use this drive.

    http://forums.seagate.com/t5/GoFlex-...-OS/td-p/83864

    Also.. found lots of bad reviews at CNET.
    http://reviews.cnet.com/external-har...-34114740.html

    Not the answer you were looking for.. but sometimes it's easier to cut your losses and try something else.
    Last edited by Autoload; 10-2-11 at 09:49 PM. Reason: added link
    Autoload
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  8. #8
    Custom User Title tpoynton's Avatar
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    maybe roll back the driver? Go to manufacturer website and download a new driver if different from the installed one?

  9. #9
    Internet Ministry mrmagill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    The drive letter assignment might of gotten screwed up

    if you go into CP > Admin tools > Comp Management > Disk Management does your USB drive show up? Try changing the drive letter their.You COULD try bashing your computer... sometimes that actually helps :-)
    Hey, thanks everybody! The problem is fixed. Didn't even have to bash it!

    The last solution about changing the drive letter did the job, and I would like to thank EVERYBODY that contributed to this solution. The path to it was a little different on Vista, so here's how I got there:

    Solving Missing External Drive in Vista:
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Start Button
    Right-Click Computer, choose Manage.
    Expand "Disk Management"
    Select the drive number (6 in my case) from those listed.
    Right-click in the space that tells the size/type.
    Now Choose "Change drive letter and paths" from the context menu.
    Choose a letter not in use from the list, even the one you really want is not there. Be sure to give it plenty of time to apply the change. (It took about a minute on mine)
    Shut-down computer (just to be safe) and restart. Test new drive letter.

    Repeat, then set to drive letter you really wanted the first time, if desired.

    Only thing that worried me for a moment is that it said the file system type was "RAW" like an unformatted drive. But I decided to give it a go anyway, and told it to add a drive letter. It would not let me choose the drive letter I had before, so I chose another, applied the changes, and it worked! After a shut-down and Restart, I was able to come back to the same place and choose the original drive letter I had wanted before, as it was now released for use.

    Again, many thanks to all of you for your help.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Internet Ministry mrmagill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpoynton View Post
    maybe roll back the driver? Go to manufacturer website and download a new driver if different from the installed one?
    Definitely a good idea, which I thought of much later in the process than I should have. But alas, there was nothing newer to be had. The driver had not been changed to my knowledge but you never really know what the machines will do when your back is turned...

    It's been several hours and a couple of reboots since it was fixed, and all is still working, so it looks like we got it this time.

    Hopefully, the search engines will index this page and others will find this one solution, it may work for them as well. From what was said here in this thread, it is apparently a common issue.

  11. #11
    Former Spam Filter (EU) IanS's Avatar
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    Glad you got it working again.
    My next move would be to backup the contents in case the 'trick' doesn't work next time!
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  12. #12
    Internet Ministry mrmagill's Avatar
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by IanS View Post
    Glad you got it working again.
    My next move would be to backup the contents in case the 'trick' doesn't work next time!
    How did you guess? :-) This is a definitely great idea, and as soon as the issue was resolved I started dumping things to DVD's just in case. I figured it had to be something on this particular computer, but just could not figure it out.

    So far, a whole day has gone by, Seagate's automatic backup routine has cycled several times just as it should and it's been completely stable as before.

    People really should use these forums more often. I was at my wits end before It finally occurred to me to post here and see if anyone could help, having spent several fruitless hours on the 'net chasing my tail through various non-working ideas.

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    That is the great thing with forums, there are many people with tons of knowledge (at least they make it look that way)

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