I have a maxtor 320GB hard drive which I have been using as external storage with my Toshiba laptop. It has been working fine for about 2 years. Recently, when i plugged it in, it came up with the message 'Do you want to scan for errors and fix (recommended)' It did not get around to doing this though.
I plugged it in ysterday and it said 'Do you want to format this disk'? I tried restarting with it plugged and unplugged, different USB ports etc. I can see it in device manager and in my computer. But, if I click properties and try to change anythign, it says 'windows cannot access this disc'. I cannot open the driveusing explorer either.
But, if i take it home and plug into my home pc - just a 8 year old computer with AMD athlon motherboard, running windos xp - it works fine. i can also play the movie files on my plasma tv as well.
I have been googling for sometime now but cant seem to find anything.
If the filesystem is old or "corrupted", that may be the reason why you can see it in XP but not Vista.
I would suggest this so that you start clean:
1) Transfer all the data on the external somewhere else temporarily, like another PC or another HDD.
2) Perform a low-level format (not a quick format) to the drive in either NTFS or FAT32.
3) Copy all data back to the external and try the drive in Vista again.
This same issue can occur after a certain number of writes to a flash drive.