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External HD problem, being read as Vitual CD-ROM

I have a 500gb Western Digital external hard drive.

Yesterday I was saving some last minute files and programs on it before re-installing windows on my desktop computer. I saved a program that contains an ISO.. Now when i plug in my external hard drive to my computer or laptop, it is reading my hard drive as a Virtual CD-rom, and I can only access a handful of files that this program contained.

At least thats what I am gathering. I am not too computer savvy but I hope this makes sense to someone. I have checked for my HD under mycomputer>properties>device manager and it shows up under the usb area but it says its an unknown device.
It seems that me copying that program onto my drive has somehow stopped my computer from recognizing it, and caused it to load it as if its a CD.

Someone please help! I have many files I really don't feel like losing. (please spare me the 'backup' talk, i realize i should have backed all these files up)
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about external problem read vitual rom
  1. You need to look at it in the storage management console. In windows 7 choose START and right click on computer and choose "manage". The click on disk management and see if the drive is visible there. I have known some of these drives to have a fake CD partition for backup software and then a separate partition for data storage. Have a look at that and see if you can see the drive.

    Lots of potential issues are possible, from failing drive to confused USB socket.

    You can also delete the unknown device in device manager and reboot. Then plug the drive into a different USB (try several if you have them). It may suddenly become visible on another port.

    Good Luck.
  2. Not sure why it was coming up with a virtual cd drive... but i un-installed the iso mounting program causing that, and now i get absolutely nothing showing up under my computer when connected. All I do get is a pop-up telling me USB device not recognizable, and that it has malfunctioned.

    What a bummer. I don't understand what happened but I am losing hope fast. What is strange is that the HD shows power and is quietly humming as if its running like normal. Luckily I don't have anything that I cannot live without on it, but I have 300+ gigs of music, movies, and pictures that I am going to miss.
  3. I was confused earlier. My HD is not being read as a virtual cdrom.

    For the record, I have tried uninstalling the "unknown device" in device manager, i have rebooted and plugged the HD in to all usb ports of my laptop and desktop with the same results.. "USB device not recognized. One of the usb devices attached has had a malfunction, and Windows does not recognize it."
  4. I hate to say it but it sounds like the USB to SATA controller in the external drive has failed. You might consider picking up a new external case for $20 and then move the drive over to it, as the drive might work perfectly. With a new case you should be able to save all your data. Maybe someting like this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817366040
  5. @GavinLeigh

    Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. I am curious why you think a different case would make a difference? For my specific HD, Western Digital 'Passport', the case is just a housing.. it has no connections or anything electronic.

    I'm pretty sure this is the model I have:

    http://www.amazon.com/Passport-Essential-Portable-External-Midnight/dp/B0041OSAZS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_3/184-1181466-7559051
  6. Best answer
    mang0z said:
    @GavinLeigh

    Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. I am curious why you think a different case would make a difference? For my specific HD, Western Digital 'Passport', the case is just a housing.. it has no connections or anything electronic.

    I'm pretty sure this is the model I have:

    http://www.amazon.com/Passport-Essential-Portable-External-Midnight/dp/B0041OSAZS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_3/184-1181466-7559051


    There's actually a 2.5" SATA hard drive in that case connected to a SATA to USB controller which can be disconnected. You can then move the drive to a PC and install it with the correct cable, or put it in a new housing/case. I've run into a few of these drive problems, and if your computer doesn't recognize the unit at all I would bet it's the controller which has failed (not the SATA drive). If it's the drive which fails then your computer can usually recognize the controller... but you have issues formatting the drive or copying files.

    Check out this video (I know it isn't your model, but you'll get the idea).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ0bgz3tyNk&feature=share&list=PL7F3E6B65F06EBC6E

    If you purchase a new external case it should come with the SATA to USB converter... just add the drive back into that new case and you should be able to recover all your files.
  7. Ahhh I wish it was that easy. Mine does not have that removable controller. I have removed the drive from the case, but everything inside is hardwired in, there is no way to remove it that I can tell. I will submit a photo if that helps..

    It looks like everything the controller and connections are wired into the pcb.
  8. Actually I'd like to see a picture, if you can.
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