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External Hard Disk not showing up

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July 29, 2011 4:48:07 PM

I have an external hard disk that currently doesn't show up via the My Computer shortcut in Windows 7. When I plug it in, I see the Removable Hardware come up on the bottom right. The Hard disk is also viewable in the Control Panel - Devices and Printers section.

I have managed to open up the Disk Management, but I can't seem to actually manage the malfunctioning external disk. I've included a screen shot as follows:


What are my options here? Is my External HD irrecoverable? Any help would be appreciated!
a c 342 G Storage
July 29, 2011 8:33:31 PM

The information shown for the second HDD unit, "Disk 1", says it contains one tiny Partition of 200 MB (0.2 GB) as a "System Partition" with no letter name. It has been made deliberately difficult to access to prevent alteration, and that Partition with no name will NOT show up in My Computer. Likewise the tiny left-over block at the right end labeled "Unallocated Space" of 0.12 GB is not a "drive" and won't show up. But now look at the major middle block that contains 299.77 GB and is said to be a Healthy Primary Partition, but with no letter name assigned. The lack of a name means it also cannot be shown and used in My Computer, but that should be fix-able.

First important question about your screen shot: how did that mini-menu show up? - what did you click to get it? Ideally, you should be able to RIGHT-click on that middle 299.77 GB Partition to get such a mini-menu. BUT one of its choices available should be to Change Drive Letter... In your screen shot that choice is grayed out, which I can understand if the right-click was done on either of the other two blocks. If you can get the choice to Change the Drive Letter of the large middle Partition, just choose that and give it any letter not in use already. If that works, back out of Disk Management and reboot Windows to get it working.

By the way, you should realize that the Lower Right pane of Disk Management SCROLLS to show you all the disk devices. I note that the Upper Right pane shows a Disk called "D:" of 200.43 GB size that is not present in the lower hardware list. That makes me think there is more to be seen there.

For clarification: is there data on this HDD you need to preserve? Not clear from your post. If there is data in that large middle Partition with no name, that makes it a good idea NOT to Delete the Partition and start fresh. But giving it a letter name as I suggest will do no damage to its data.
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a b G Storage
July 29, 2011 11:10:28 PM

D: could be on Drive 0, hidden by that popup. I don't think it's on a putative Disk 2 (although that is possible).

That small partition at the front of the mystery drive is marked as an EFI partition, suggesting that it has been used as the boot drive on a EFI/UEFI computer. That doesn't seem likely on an external drive.

The 297GB partition is marked as a healthy primary partition, but no file system is listed - that's ominous. It's shaded, so it's probably the "current" focus. If that right-click menu is the result of clicking on that partition, it suggests that Windows doesn't know what is on that partition - it offers the ability to delete the volume, but nothing more.

If there is no data on there that you need, you could click Delete Volume, then allocate a fresh partition there. Be really really certain that you don't want the data, before you do that.
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a c 104 G Storage
August 1, 2011 1:05:26 PM

Hello,

The key piece of missing information is whether the Disk 1 middle partition 297GB has important data on it from prior use as a boot drive. It appears it was used on a system using a GPT, rather than a MBR style partition table system, before being added here as a secondary drive.

The D drive is behind the context menu, since the C drive has a 97GB partition size and the drive is 300GB.

If there is no important data on Disk 1, then there are several choices to remove all the volumes and repartition it as a secondary drive to use for backUp.
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August 2, 2011 7:36:36 PM

Is the drive encrypted where you have to enter a password after running a small app located on the CD drive icon that appears when you connect the drive? I have an external drive like this that will not appear until after entering a password.
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May 22, 2012 9:58:47 AM

I am having the exact same issue. Everything the same as the screenshot. Only difference is different size HD. Everything the same. My drive comes from a dead mac book pro (the bootable drive obviously). I have put it in an external case and thats what I get. I don't care much about the drive as it's only 260gb but I really want whats on it. Anyone have any ideas? Not sure how to ad my email for notification so ill put it here. If anyone has thoughts please email c_cawthorn@hotmail.com

Cheers
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