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Help!! Burnt fingers and fried usb mass storage devices!

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Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 24, 2010 3:41:11 AM

Hello all,

Just finished a build and I was beginning the process of transferring all my files via my Western Digital external hard drive. The problem (which only got worse) was that windows 7 (64) wouldn't recognize the hard drive. The light was on and the disc was spinning but still nothing in windows 7 including disk management. So I decided to give my 8gb flash drive a try. Nothing. Next I tried both the flash drive and the external in the rear USB ports. Still nothing, of course, but this time when I pulled the flash drive out after only a few moments it was extremely hot to the touch. And also the external hard drive was pretty warm.
Quickly I realized that I most likely(or my motherboard teamed up with and adolescent windows 7 most likely) destroyed both drives. So I plugged the flash drive into my laptop running xp sp3 to test this sad story. The flash drive again heated up extremely fast and was not recognized. Next I decided to test the fate of the external hard drive. The usb light on the hard drive flashed and it sounded as if it was trying to spin when windows xp gave the error message "usb power surge".
So now neither computer will recognized either storage device and I've most likely lost all those files. I feel certain the flash drive is down for the count because it is/was extremely hot. Any ideas about salvaging either or the files they contain? Also I'd like to resolve this so that future mass storage devices don't get baked. Anyone have any clue what just happened to me? Because I'm confused and have a burnt index finger.


Any thoughts would be appreciated.

~J-bone

Deviant system of concern contains:

Amd phenom II quad core
Asus M4A78T-E AM3 Motherboard (aka slayer of thumb drives)
Windows 7 pro
April 26, 2010 6:11:55 AM

What's the model number of your Western Digital USB-based external hard drive?

Have you tried removing the WD drive from its USB box and testing it in a known-good PC?

What's the make & model # of the power supply you were using with your ASUS 'board?
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a c 342 G Storage
April 27, 2010 4:54:01 AM

It is possible that the damage to the external drive was limited to its own electronics and USB interface, and the hard drive unit itself inside the case is still OK. As NIJ-VI suggests, you could remove that HDD unit form the case and connect it directly into a desktop machine to see if it works OK.

Are the USB ports you used all part of the mobo itself? Or, are they on mounting brackets with cables you had to connect to mobo pinout ports? There is one booby trap waiting for people on some mobo's. The connectors for USB ports and for Firewire ports on the mobo look identical (2 x 5 pins, with one pin not used/missing), BUT the actual electrical signals are VERY different. So it is possible to plug the cable to a USB connector into a mobo socket intended for Firewire ports and end up damaging your hardware! If you have that kind of set-up, you must be VERY careful to connect cables to the correct mobo pinout.

However, if that is not your situation, you could have a faulty mobo.
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April 27, 2010 7:11:56 AM

+1 on watching out for the USB/FW header mixup.

On most of the PC mainboards I've seen thus far FireWire headers are red in color and USB headers are blue.

However, on my ASUS P4P800-E Deluxe one of its two USB headers is yellow...

Being a former Mac user I enjoy the configuration options (and general compatibility) which PC hardware has on offer, and thus I study every mainboard manual thoroughly before plugging anything in.

It seems that every 'board has it's unique design quirks.
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