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Can't See my External Harddrive

Last response: in Storage
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April 8, 2010 12:02:35 AM

I have Windows XP and just bought a 500Gig Verbatim External HD. It's a portable external, and has the firewire plug (which my computer isnt equipped with) and the dual USB plug. I've also tried it on my desktop which is Vista. Both recongize the device with the chime, and the symbol in the taskbar.but I can't see anything under my computer. On another forum someone suggested tweak UI, but all the drives are "active". I got the drive from TigerDirect, I'm at an loss. Help Please!!

More about : external harddrive

a b G Storage
April 8, 2010 1:15:05 AM

Go to Start -> Settings -> Control panel. From there, open administrative tools, open hardware settings? or hardware configuration (some day I gotta go to windows and write this down so I just have to copy and past, not try to remember) and go to the storage option within this program. You should see the drives which are attached graphically represented, hopefully including this new one. If it shows up without any partitions in it, you will have to format it by right clicking on it and selecting format. I don't think that an external drive would come unformatted, but it's something to try.
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April 8, 2010 1:53:33 AM

Under Administrative Tools I see Componet Services, Event Viewer, Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Configuration, Performance, Data Sources (ODBC), Computer Management, Local Security Policy, Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Wizards, Services. All are shortcuts.
Under computer management I see storage. Under that there is Removable Storage, Disk Defragmenter, Disk Management (Local).
Whne I click on the Removable storage icon an error window pops up saying "The service cannot be started, either because it is disabled or because it has no enabeled devices associated with it."
New line: "THis snapin's display may be inconsistent with the removable storage service. If the problem persist please restart the snapin."

The lights are on, on the external and you can hear the drive inside. The removable storage icon is in the task bar, but nothing under my computer....
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a b G Storage
April 8, 2010 2:03:58 AM

Sorry, I'll go boot up windows and get the RIGHT path.
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a b G Storage
April 8, 2010 2:16:27 AM

OK, here is the RIGHT path:
Start->settings->control panel->performance and maintenance->administrative tools->computer management->storage->disk management (local).
There. No wonder I couldn't remember it.
This should show all the drives that windows detects, whether it can utilize them or not.
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April 8, 2010 2:39:47 AM

Under the list, I see Disk 1 it says:
Disk 1
Basic
465.76GB
Online
In the next collum it shows:
465.76GB
Unallocated
When I click on the second collum it gets dashed lines in it.

Where I see the (C:)  drive and Mediadirect I don't see my external...
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April 8, 2010 2:40:19 AM

excuse the smiliey..
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a b G Storage
April 8, 2010 3:24:44 AM

;) 
Is your C: drive a 500 gig drive? If not, it would seem that this unalocated 500 gig space is your external, waiting to be assigned a partition.
(going to bed now, see you tomorrow :sleep:  )
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Best solution

a c 342 G Storage
April 8, 2010 3:59:49 AM

OK, you got to seeing the new drive in Disk Management. It is represented in the LOWER RIGHT pane as one horizontal block with a small label block at the left end. To the right of that is one very large block labeled "Unallocated Space". On that you RIGHT-Click and choose to Create a Partition. The resulting menu system will allow you to choose things. Make it a Primary Partition but not bootable (you won't boot from this unit), and set its size to all the space available. IF you are in a Wizard it also will show you choices for the Format operation. You should choose the NTFS File System and a Quick Format to get the job done in about 15 minutes. You can choose Full Format to have the entire HDD checked for errors, but it will take many hours and may not be necessary with a new drive. Run the task. On the other hand, if you don't see any of these Format options, you may not have a Wizard helping you. On that case just make the Partition. When that is done, RIGHT-Click on the new Partition and choose to Format it. Use the options above and run this second task. When done, exit out of Disk Management and reboot so Windows can adjust its Registry, and your drive will show up in My Computer.
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a b G Storage
April 8, 2010 11:24:55 AM

^^Thanks, I was too tired to finish this thread up.
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April 8, 2010 7:56:01 PM

TaDa, working! Thank You. Is it common to have to do this with new drives. I have a few 250Gig, but never had to partition them. Thanks again guys!
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April 8, 2010 7:57:08 PM

Best answer selected by gi_hoke.
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a c 342 G Storage
April 9, 2010 3:51:05 AM

Actually, I'm amazed at how often there are posts here that come down to the fact that buyers / installers of new hard drives have no idea that they require the Creation of one or more Partitions on them, AND the formatting of those Partitions, before the OS can use them. HDD makers provide information and free downloadable utilities to "prepare" a disk for use, but too many people are unaware that they are useful. I must admit, it often appears that computer and mobo makers do not cover this detail as they assure you that you can add any hard drive you like to their system to expand its storage space. I think it comes from earlier times when HDD's were so much smaller (and especially in the DOS days even up through Win 98) that computer geeks got used to using a famous tool, FDISK, followed by a plain Windows Format. They were not aware that FDISK really was a command-line interface Partitioning tool. It is only as drives got up over about 50 GB that people started to consider creating more than one Partition and had to learn the tricks. I still see notes around here about "Format your Drive" as if that were the total preparation process.

Bottom line for your future work: ANY hard drive MUST have at least one Partition created on it, and then Formatted, to be usable by an OS. You can do more than one Partition, and there can be a couple of types, and there are lots more things to learn if you really want to. A Partition is just one contiguous chunk of space on the HDD unit that will be used by the OS as a "drive". Then you must Format the "drive" you have created, and this establishes in this Partition only the File System - that is, all the hidden files that track use of disk sectors by files. An old disk could have more than one Partition on it. In fact, if it has a couple and one has significant data structure errors in it, you will never see that damaged Partition in tools like My Computer. The only tools Windows has built in to examine all the info is Disk Management, and especially its lower right pane.
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January 6, 2013 3:37:02 AM

According to Paperdoc’s answer, you have to format your drive.
Is there something important on this drive?
Honestly, last week, I also met the similar problem.
My WD 1TB hard drive received a "not formatted error" after inserting to my laptop. I t was just like a thunder in the sunny day to me since many my important work files were storing there. At that moment, I was so stupid that did not know what to do next. But, my friend recommended me to apply a free recovery program, which had recovered all of my needed work files back. It was worth trying.
Therefore, if someone encounters the similar problem, I think it can be the good choice before the formatting process.
Good luck!
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