External hard drive not recognized. - Disk Drives (HDD, CD/DVD, Blu-ray) Forum - Disk Drives - Dell Community

External hard drive not recognized.

Disk Drives

Disk Drives
Disk Drives (Floppy, USB, HDD, CD/DVD/BD) discussion

External hard drive not recognized.

  • Computer - Dell Inspiron E1505

    CPU - 1.73 GHz

    RAM - 1.0 GB

    32 Bit OS 

    Operating system - Vista Home Premium

    Service Pack 1 installed 

    Internal hard drive -  80 GB Hitachi HT541680J


    I bought an iomega 160 GB eGo external USB-powered hard drive which is supposed to be pre-formatted and ready to go (plug-and-play).  When I plug it in to a USB port the computer "dings", the power light on the drive lights up and I can hear the drive running if I put it up to my ear.


    However, when I go to START > COMPUTER  the drive doesn't show up on the list of drives.  All that show is the C: drive, the D: Recovery partition of the C: drive, the DVD drive and, if I have it attached, my HP 3180 inkjet printer.


    If I go to START and right-click COMPUTER and then select MANAGE to get the Computer Management screen and then select Disk Management, I get the screen showing all the drives connected.  This screen shows the C: drive as Disk 0 and the external iomega drive as Drive 1.  It shows them both to be online. It also shows the DVD drive and the printer if I have it connected.  Right-clicking the Drive 1 here and selecting Properties brings up a box labeled TOSHIBA MK1646GSX [the iomega 2.5" drive] USB Device Properties.  Under General it says "This device is working properly"



    OK - The external drive is running.  The computer recognizes that the drive is there. Why doesn't the drive show up in the list under START > COMPUTER?  If it doesn't show up there with a letter assigned I can't use it.  Stranger yet, when the drive is connected to another Vista PC it shows up instantly.  Same thing with a Windows XP machine.  It just doesn't work with mine.


    iomega doesn't have customer support.  The Geeks at Best Buy don't have a clue why it's acting this way.  

  • Assuming the drive has a formatted partition on it, try a powered hub or an external power supply - many external drives draw too much power for a single USB port.


  • i had the EXACT same issue with my new external hard drive (320gb seagate momentus). after hours of searching online for solutions, i tried something else. this is what fixed it:

    in disk management (control panel>administrative tools>computer management>disk management), right-click on drive 1 (which currently has a black bar across the top). choose the only available option on the list (it's 'initialize disk' or 'optimize disk'). follow the steps (prompts) and then the bar changes to blue.

    the disk should now show up in 'computer.' you'll just need to format it (pop-up option when you first double-click on the drive). i chose 'quick format,' but you can go thru the regular one (takes a LONG time).

    if, however, the drive doens't show up in 'computer,' go back to disk management and right-click the drive again. this time, choose the available option ('extend volume'). once that's completed, the drive will show up in 'computer' and need to be formatted.

    note: this isn't quite as detailed-specific as possible, because once i did the steps, i couldn't go back and see what they were, so this is all from memory.

    hope this works for you, too!

  • I'm sure your suggested fix would work just fine, unless, like what I've experienced, the external drive does not appear in the "Disk Management" window.  The drive works just fine on both my Dell Dimension desktops, as well as my Compaq laptop; however, when connected to my Dell Inspiron, even with both the Type A connectors in place, the drive light glows bright green, but the computer can't see it.  I'm beginning to think Dell laptops are just not made for this sort of application.

  • I have a Dell Dimension 8300 computer running Windows XP Home.  It will not recognize my external hard drive plugged into any USB port.  That is, the external drive does not appear in My Computer and or on the list of drop-down drives.  The external hard drive does work on my Dell 4100 series computer (really ancient).  The hard drive itself was made at about the same time as the 8300 series computer (ca. 2001).  I am not a technie, but can anyone tell me how to get the 8300 computer to interface with the external hard drive?  Thanks in advance.

  • I am having the same trouble, except that the cpu is new and the external hard drive has a lot of files (like my entire music library) which I would rather not lose.  The device is listed, but I can't find a way to open the drive or to see what files I have listed there to use them.  Is there a way to open the drive without having to reformat and lose everything there?

  • Hi, celestinia:

    When you say, "the cpu is new," I assume you mean you have a new computer. Would you please tell me the model and operating system of your new computer? When you plug in the external drive, do you see a drive letter for it in My Computer? If you double click that drive letter, do you then see a list of files and folders?

  • I was told by dell support that I have to buy the power cord for the external hard drive. When you plug in the external hard drive to the USB port, it is taken power from

    the laptop. I may try to borrow a power cord or buy one and see if it works.

  • Welcome to the forums Yes





    I was told by dell support that I have to buy the power cord for the external hard drive.


    If you can find the proper power cord, all good and well.  But you might want to consider getting yourself a powered USB hub instead Idea

    They're widely available (usually 4-port and 7-port), and many are inexpensive to buy.

    For instance... Newegg sell them from as little as $9 (+ S&H).


    The benefit of a powered USB hub vs a power cable, is that you can only supply mains power to your external drive from a power cable, whereas you can supply mains power to however many devices there are ports for on a [powered] hub - which is obviously handy for any future devices you might add Wink

    From experience, I've found that:   “Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder”!!


    XPS M1730:

    Smoke Grey Magnesium Alloy Chassis - with White LED Backlights
    17" UltraSharp WUXGA Widescreen TFT (1920 x 1200) with TrueLife
    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9300 @ 2.50GHz (800 MHz FSB, 4MB L2 cache)
    4GB (2x 2GB) Patriot Signature PC2-5400 @ 667MHz
    DUAL 512MB Nvidia 8800M GTX cards in SLi + 128MB Ageia PhysX
    640GB SATA II (2x 320GB WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm)
    8x Super-Multi DVD±RW
    Creative X-Fi Notebook (ExpressCard) + Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II
    Integrated 2MP Webcam
    Dell Wireless 355 Bluetooth 2.0 Module
    Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-Card
    TV Tuner and Dell Travel Remote Control
    4-in-1 Flash Card Reader (SSD/MMC/MS Pro/xD)

    230W AC Adapter / 9-cell Lithium-Ion Battery

    Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)

  • I got the power supply and the computer still does not recognize the external hard drive.

  • I got the power supply and the computer still does not recognize the external hard drive.

    if someone can contact DELL will be greate. I think it is time for DELL to get their act together and once and

    for all tell us whether these computers were designed to handle external hard drives. My computer is

    a Inspiron 1150 with XP professional.

  • I'm also having external HD problems.  FYI I am using eSATA, not USB, with either a GForce 2TB drive or a GForce 4TB drive.  The machine doesn't recognize the 4TB drive  at all, and if the 2TB drive is powered on when I turn on the laptop, it freezes, and I have to use an earlier restore point to correct the corruption of system files.  And, when I say "doesn't recognize" I mean that it does not show up on the RAID control screen (which shows only my SSD bood drive) and it doesn't show up in disk management.

    The one thing I haven't checked is the BIOS settings to be sure that eSATA is enabled.  Does anyone know how to bring up the BIOS in this computer.  I've tried DEL and F10.  Neither seems to give me access to the BIOS.

  • F2 is the key that trips the BIOS setup.

  • Hello , I have an inspiron n7010 laptop that I purchased iN

  • hello , I have a Dell Inspiron  N7010 laptop that I purchased in Jan 2011 with Windows 7. I also have a Segate 1000GB external HD that worked with my previous computer. My new Inspiron does not recognize the Seagate .There is no drive recognized in Windows explorer or MY computer. The Seagate HD plugs  in a wall socket , so that power is not a problem.

    I have tried other usb ports too. Does anyone have any advice ?