Seagate 500GB ext drive not recog by Win Vista

Hello,
I have a new Seagate 500GB (p/n 9SF2A2-500) and have been able to xfer a couple gig of files to it. However, now when I connect it to the laptop (HP/Compaq Presario CQ60) autoplay doesn't run. No indication that there has been anything connected to the computer. The ext drive has its own power supply and is USB. The power light works on the drive and I can hear it spin up when power is applied. It does not appear in Windows Explorer.
The "Safely Remove Hardware" icon will appear the the lower corner, and will say "Safely Remove USB Mass Storage Device" but there is no drive letter designated. I can remove the hardware and when the drive is reconnected, the Safely Remove Hardware icon reappears, but it does not show in Windows Explorer.

Any ideas? Seagate has been no help, and data recovery specialists want several hundred $$$ just to have a peek at it.

Thanks!
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More about seagate 500gb drive recog vista
  1. Windows will sometimes fail to assign a drive-letter to an external drive, even though that same drive may have worked okay before on the same computer.

    Go into the Disk Management console:
    "Control Panel > Admin Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management".

    In the bottom-right pane, find the ribbon which relates to that drive.
    Right-click on it and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths".
    Click "New", then choose a drive-letter from the drop-down alphabet.
    Click 'OK'.
  2. How do either of the following utilities detect your drive? Are they able to see its correct model number (ST3500xxxAS) and full capacity?

    HD Sentinel (DOS / Windows / Linux):
    http://www.hdsentinel.com/

    HDDScan for Windows:
    http://hddscan.com/
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