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External usb HD recognized in safe mode only

by mntnmn / March 14, 2007 12:22 AM PDT

I have a several year old Dell Dimension 4300. Decided to do a clean reinstall of win xp from a disk I made which streamlined sp2 and the win xp cd that came with the computer.
Got a Western Digital My Book essential edition USB 160GB, reformatted it from FAT32 to NTFS, backed up everything I wanted and did the clean install.
It worked. I had a few problems getting the OS to recognize my USB Canoscan, but worked that out.
My problem now is that the OS won't see the external hard drive unless I'm in safe mode. In safe mode it is assigned drive letter J, which was the same drive letter it was before the OS reinstall. It does not show up in drive manager. Nothing changes in device manager when I unplug/replug it and no new hardware is found. Device manager does show an unknown device, but that was there before anything was plugged in (which is distressing in itself!)
Please help with my protracted tale of woe and thanks in advance for any help.
Thanks Again
Dan

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Tell me about..
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 14, 2007 12:37 AM PDT

What motherboard and other drivers you added after the XP install. There are issues unless those drivers are installed as well as SP2.

Tell a little more.

Bob

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External usb HD recognized in safe mode only
by mntnmn / March 14, 2007 3:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Tell me about..

All drivers are from the Dell drivers and utilities resource cd. I also did the Windows Update thing right after reinstallation. The Western Digital install guide only instructs a device driver download from their site if you are running windows 98SE. The site says for this particular drive, "Drive utilities and device drivers are installed automatically during the installation of the drive". Since this was a fresh xp reinstall, the drive has really not yet installed. I would think the new drive would see it as a new computer. The install guide says turn on computer, connect power cord and USB cable. And that's all.
Thanks
Dan

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Now what drive letters are in Disk Management?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 14, 2007 4:02 AM PDT

Any that you can move around?

Bob

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RE:Now what drive letters are in Disk Management?
by mntnmn / March 14, 2007 4:39 AM PDT

The drives listed in Disk Management are A: which is the floppy drive, C: which is the main internal drive (local Disk), and D: and E: which are the cd and dvd drives, and F:, G:, H:, I:, which represent the flash card reader plugged into another USB port in front of the machine.
The card reader is in USB 1.1 port, the ext. drive is in a USB 2.0 port which the device manager says is working.

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I'd pull the flash card reader.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 14, 2007 4:43 AM PDT

It's a typical issue in such disappearing acts. If the drive comes back then give it a new drive letter.

Bob

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USB port
by Amos16 / March 14, 2007 4:55 AM PDT

Are all your USB ports directly on the computer, or do you have some with an extension cord in-between? Sometimes it is they who give trouble, not having sufficient power at the end. - Amos.

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Pulled flash reader / drive on PCI card
by mntnmn / March 14, 2007 7:58 AM PDT
In reply to: USB port

Card reader is out and ext. hd is plugged into a Startech 4 port USB 2.0 PCI card. Updated drivers from site. No change.
Thanks
Dan

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Last hurrah. Re-letter the drive in safe mode.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 14, 2007 8:07 AM PDT

Pick a drive letter other than those others and what you had before.

Bob

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Almost Forgot
by mntnmn / March 14, 2007 8:09 AM PDT

My UPS battery backup is plugged into the card and is detected. The flash card reader, however does not show up, regardless of the port it's plugged into on the card. The flash card reader still shows up when plugged into the old USB port (1.1). I guess it just doesn't like storage devices!
Thanks
Dan

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And what happens if you disconnect ...
by Kees Bakker / March 14, 2007 8:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Almost Forgot

that UPS battery backup from the card. That's the first thing I would do.

And one other question: is this external hard disk powered by its own power adapter (like mine) or is it powered by the USB-card (some are).

Any other USB-device to test the card with? Like a USB-printer or a USB-mouse or a USB-modem?

Did that PCI-card come with the computer (so with Dell-supplied drivers) or did you add it yourself later?

It's strange indeed that it did work before you reinstalled XP and all drivers, and doesn't work now. Either something is different softwarewise (or in some very secret hidden setting) or the USb-card hardware is breaking down. Maybe replace the card?

Just some thoughts.

Kees

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OK, this is all I tried since yesterday...
by mntnmn / March 15, 2007 7:54 AM PDT

Changed drive letter from J to K...didn't work. Disconnected UPS battery...didn't work. Plugged ext. drive into an old USB 1.1 port and it showed up immediately, so I guess it isn't the drive itself. Plugged the USB mouse into the USB 2.0 port the drive was previously in and it showed up immediately, so it isn't the PCI card either. The flash card drive works in the USB 1.1 port, but not the 2.0 port. Everything seems to work but storage devices! This 2.0 PCI card is on I swapped an old 1.1 card for, so it's not original equipment, but it worked before...A fresh windows install was supposed to fix things...argh!

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One owner almost took out the chain saw as we...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 15, 2007 8:02 AM PDT

Put the USB drive on an USB 2.0 Hub and it began to function. There's some article that explains why adding or removing an external hub fixes this.

Bob

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I connected it to a USB2.0 hub
by mntnmn / March 16, 2007 12:10 AM PDT

that is plugged into the USB PCI card...still no luck.

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OK, it's "something."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2007 12:16 AM PDT

The fallout of all this is pointing to some issue with the drive or more exact the drive usb housing. The reason it works in safe mode on that port is that USB 2.0 is not functional and the port reverts to USB 1.1 speeds. It could be as simple as a bum USB cable but I thought you changed that out.

Tests on another PC may help here to see if it's the drive housing of the USB 2.0 card.

I've yet to find this to be any other issue.

Bob

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g drive or dummy drives??
by greatgran5 / April 13, 2008 11:18 PM PDT

could you please tell me how to view the status of g drive & how to find dummy drives
thanks
greatgran5

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Don't hijack threads.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 13, 2008 11:28 PM PDT

Unless you own the Dell Dimension and such as under discussion.

-> Where I look is DISK MANAGEMENT and the DEVICE MANAGER.

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I swapped the USB cable from my printer
by mntnmn / March 16, 2007 3:12 AM PDT

It still only saw the drive in USB 1.1 ports. I'm not sure what you mean by drive housing of the USB 2.0 card. Is that the PCI slot in the computer that the card is plugged into, or do you mean there is something wrong with the USB connection in the external drive housing?
Dan

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My thoughts are one or the other.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2007 3:50 AM PDT

To sort this out, I'd be testing that drive on another machine. If another machine has issues I'd say the drive housing. If the drive worked I'd suspect the USB PCI 2.0 card.

Bob

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Good enough
by mntnmn / March 16, 2007 7:12 AM PDT

Thanks, I'll give it a try.
Dan

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Oops
by mntnmn / March 16, 2007 7:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Good enough

I'll let you know either way.
Dan

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Fixed & Thanks to All
by mntnmn / March 30, 2007 12:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Oops

Just a line to thank everyone for their help! The drive worked on another PC. A search on the Everything USB forums showed a vehement dislike for USB cards with ALi chipsets. They say "VIA and ALi USB cards will work with 80% of PCs just fine. They will, however, fail utterly on the remainder and nothing will make them work". Possibly a conflict with particular motherboards. They recommend NEC chipsets...got an NEC chipset card...problem solved. Thanks for helping me through this guys and I hope my problem helps others.

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