External hard drives not showing up, safe mode virus check running clean

Hello,I've been having a number of problems with my computer. I'm not sure if all of these are related, but am including all the details.

I have a 2005 Sony Viao desktop with two external hard drives (2007 Lacie 250GB and a 2010 SimpleDrive 1TB). My operating system is Windows Home and I am using CA Security Suite as my anti-virus/spam/malware.

About a month ago I noticed that my Lacie hard drive was not showing up on the list when I went into explore my files. I just figured the unit wasn't on. It was, so I turned if off and back on, tried a different USB port, restarted the computer, and repeated. No luck. I tried it on my work computer, but no luck. I then took it to Geek Squad at Best Buy, as it was a Sunday and nothing else was open and I figured it was the cord because the unit sounded normal when it ran and was not warm. The Geek told me he hooked it up with all their stuff in back and that it was not doing anything, so it was toast. "As old as the unit is, it was just going to go any time." My options were to (1) pay them $600 for data recovery, as the unit would need to be "cracked open" (solid case) and "*hopefully* they would be able to save some of my data"; or (2) stick the unit in the freezer so it would not overheat and try to get some of my files off, because that should work for about 15 minutes. Considering that there is 250GB of photos and PHD dissertation material on there... I said I would be saving my money up and come back at a later time.

A few days ago I noticed that my SimpleDrive was not showing up either. The fact that I had two external drives go in no time at all, I haven't done anything to the units, and I haven't had a power surge... seems a bit fishy to me! So, I did the entire process of plugging in different USBs and rebooting. No luck. I brought it to work and it worked on my work computer. HA! It was also at this time that I remembered that my Lacie drive required software installation, so that could be why it is not working on the Geek Squad and my work computers.

Now the problem is figuring out what is wrong with the computer. I went into the safe mode last night and ran a virus and spam checks. Everything came up clean. I just had the computer in back in May to clean a virus up that had damaged a number of registries and was given the CA Security Suite because it would 'be my best option to prevent future problems'. Yeah...

I'm not a computer guru, but am short on cash, do not have any computer-savvy friends nearby, and need to have a functional computer to finish my dissertation (using the computer at work is not an option). Please help!!! Detailed steps that easily explain what I need to do would be much appreciated! Thanks!
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More about external hard drives showing safe mode virus check running clean
  1. Start-->control panel-->system-->hardware tab-->expand the universal serial bus controllers-->right click and uninstall all of the USB root hubs-->restart-->they will reinstall on restart.

    To check for malware, use the guide in my signature.
  2. Had the same exact same problem with a LACIE Big disk model. Ended up being the power supply was going bad. The green light on the PS would light up and the unit would power on. It would even show up in the hardware list ( But not in " my Computer"). Talked to a tech at Lacie and after a lengthy trial and error session I switched power supply with an unused one and WALA! Hope this helps.
  3. If what aford10 said to do with your USB root hubs doesn't fix it, crack open the case yourself. External drives are just internal drives in a case with USB interface and a power supply.

    New external cases are cheap (in the $20.00 range). Mount the drive in a new case and see it work again. Most problems I've had with external drives have been the USB interface goes out, but a new case solves problems. It's cheaper than $600 to the goon squad.
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