External hard drives are great for backup. Connect it, do the backup, and then disconnect. Using them for routine storage is more challenging and subject to some difficulties…
Longtime subscriber Peter Dunckelmann wrote to ask for help in solving an external hard drive problem:
My laptop runs Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit.
I run five external USB HDD, recently two of them became inaccessible without any advance warning. Both units, despite being plugged-in are not powered-up and invisible to the OS. There ought to be an easy and quick solution to this problem. Any help will be appreciated.
I am thanking you in advance.
I wrote back to Peter to tell him that, if they’re plugged in and not powered up, that symptom could mean that their USB connection isn’t recognized by the computer.
It could be that their cables have become unplugged, or pulled out slightly and not making contact, at the external drive end of the cable or at the computer end of the USB cable.
Are you connecting directly to USB connections on your motherboard? If so, do you have some more USB connections that you could try?
What about a powered USB hub – if you’re using one, the power connector on it may have come loose.
Or, you might have unplugged its power supply (especially if it’s connecting to a power strip that’s at foot level).
Or, someone else in the family might have disconnected the power connector to connect something else.
It’s unlikely that two USB connectors on your computer went bad at the same time. Similarly, it’s unlikely that two external drives went bad simultaneously.