External Hard Drive Problem

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Scarlett | 00:00 Sat 07th Dec 2013 | Technology
15 Answers
When I plug it in, it goes bong bong! and lights up- so the power is on, and the PC recognises it is plugged in, but when I try and find it in My Computer, it's not there. Any ideas what's gone wrong?


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Try leaving it plugged in, restarting your computer, (then, assuming that it's still not recognised) unplugging it and plugging it back in. (I've no idea why that should work but personal experience has found that it sometimes does!).

If that doesn't work, the next step is to see if it's recognised by the Disk Management tool:
Question Author
Okay thanks, so should I unplug it and re-plug it in when the PC is on, won't that damage the hard drive?
Question Author
I've looked under disk management and it's not there in the list either..
Well I've forced my PC to recognise my camera that way several times and the camera (which is functioning as a hard drive for downloading images) still works OK! (Millions of people, all around the world, will forget to 'properly' unplug USB devices every day, with reports of damage being incredibly rare; the risk, if any, is actually very low)

If you don't want to try that step, go straight to the Disk Management tool.
Oops! Crossed posts.

The next step is to try the drive with another computer. (If you've got a laptop as well as a PC, try that. If not, ask a friend or relative if you can borrow their computer or try it at work). If it still doesn't show up, either in 'My Computer' or under Disk Management, then the drive might regrettably have gone the way of Monty Python's Norwegian Blue parrot. If it does show up elsewhere then it's possibly a driver problem with your computer.
I had that problem the other day; turned out to be the latest update to Avast security that had caused the poblem.
Question Author
Hmm well i still can't find it. Tried the disk management and still nothing. How worrying. I did plug it into a different computer a little while back and it didn't show up there either. I wonder if PC Word can rescue stuff like this?
Question Author
jno what did you do to recover it?
I followed bibblebub's advice here

switched off Avast and my EHD was instantly recognised. (Best to switch off the internet while trying this.) I just wondered if you had Avast, as you may have got the same troublesome update as I did.
Question Author
I don't have Avast but I did recently install CCleaner and SuperAntiSpyware trials, both which have expired at the moment?!
they don't sound as if they should be a problem but Buenchico will be better able to advise.
If the drive doesn't show up on any computer I can't see how the problem could be related to any particular program on your home PC. (Try it on a few more computers, if possible).

PC World probably offer data recovery services but they're unlikely to be the cheapest. (Phone 0844 561 1234 to ask for a quote). Google 'data recovery' for further options but, irrespective of who you use, expect to pay over £100.
Try if LINUX can help you
Download this Mint ISO to your PC and use the freeware "Imgburn" to burn it to a DVD

A small guide is here:

nb: if not, I am afraid your disk (head crash) is died.
It recognises it is there, but it doesn't recognise it as a disk drive, which sounds major. Is there a way you can force it to be found in disk management (I've not checked) ? Or can you go into system and delete whatever it has found (may show a red x or yellow exclamation mark) and then tell it to search for new kit ? If that fails then is sounds like a hardware problem, might be the drive, or it might be the interface it uses to connect to the PC. Worst comes to worst you could buy another external drive enclosure and try the drive in that.
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