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  1.    21 Dec 2015 #1
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 56
    Windows 10

    External Hard drive off and on


    Hope this is in the right place. In the past few days my external hard drive makes the sound (windows notification) like when I unplug it from my desktop. Then about 5 seconds later I get another sound and notification asking me how I would like to view content for G: (my external hard drive). I only have it attached to use for backups and I've checked my back up program (easeus) and my backups haven't been happening either. I used crystaldisk to check it and it's healthy. Any idea why it would be essentially shutting itself off and on with no help from me? Is it dying? Is something screwed up in windows?
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  2.    21 Dec 2015 #2
    Join Date : Apr 2014
    Posts : 3,361
    W10 Pro x64/W7 Ultimate x64 dual boot main - W10 Pro Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64 - remote pc

    Sounds all too familiar as far as having an intermittent connection. Is this a usb or eSata type external HD you have there?

    For usb a port can show signs of wear when you keep hearing the connect and disconnect over and over as a bit of play forms in the port itself if not wear on the usb plug for the driver or other external device in use. This can even be a problem seen with usb keyboards and mice since the plugging in as well as unplugging things when going to clean a case from dust buildup will also tend to loosen things up inside the port or simply start to wear it out.

    Here I just replaced an addon 4 porrt usb hub with a brand new 7 port hub(both USB 2.0) and have another 4 port 3.0 hub waiting to see an extension cable. The old 4 port would hear or not even hear the disconnect and reconnect at times while keeping flash drives plugged in and going to boot from one to find it needed to be unplugged and replugged back in to be redetected all over again.

    As for any Windows problem you would immediately find that no usb drives or devices would be working properly if the usb drivers were missing. Or you would see the prompting that a device needed a driver where Windows then does the automatic search online if not able to use a generic driver already available. The drive of course would be the last item on the list if the controller circuit card was having a problem if not the plug or any cold solder point.

    Years back I simply ended up pulling a WD Essentials 500gb drive out of the external casing and installed it internally to run as any typical Sata II drive on an older build. The casing got too hot with the early model external HDs back then. Besides that however you might want to try something else on the same port after trying the external drive on another port to see if the problem persists. That would be a start in finding out how good that particular port is or whether the problem is at the drive end?
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  3.    22 Dec 2015 #3
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 56
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    My desktop is only a year old and I never plug and unplug the usb, it's been sitting there since I plugged it in when I got the computer. I did switch around which port I plug it into hoping that was the case and it's still doing the same thing. The other usb that I plugged where the external drive was has not had an issue. So it's got to be something with the drive itself but not sure what would cause it. I'm thinking my last alternative is to buy a new external hard drive? Hate too, strapped with Christmas purchases right now!
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  4.    22 Dec 2015 #4
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    Posts : 4,888
    windows 10 Home threshold2

    I have the similar situation.
    I would plug in my external hard drive, the computer made a sound to acknowledge the hdd, then another same type of sound, and I had to wait a bit before the hdd appeared in File Explorer.
    This happens only lately. I cannot pinpoint when because I did not really pay attention to that.
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  5.    22 Dec 2015 #5
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 56
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Mine just started a couple days ago. I recently did the big windows 10 update, wondering if there was something that may have caused it? Although, I doubt it. So mad, it's worked absolutely fine for a couple years now. Just to update, I also went into device manager and right clicked on all the usb root hubs and unclicked "let computer power off when not in use" (not exact words, not at home so can't remember the wording".
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  6.    22 Dec 2015 #6
    Join Date : Apr 2014
    Posts : 3,361
    W10 Pro x64/W7 Ultimate x64 dual boot main - W10 Pro Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64 - remote pc

    Another factor that wouldn't involve any wear would simply be dust and dirt particles as well as a thought about the usb cable sitting idle for a year and stiffening up on you. The plug end would see an accumulation of dust in that amount of time and most systems will need a good can of air cleaner a little sooner then that.

    The cable getting stiff over time especially when getting slightly warmed up each time you start the machine and then shut down to see it cool off will tend to make them stiff and evenly a bit brittle. The fact that you already have tried moving between ports does suggest a problem at the drive end however. What make and model HD is that? With many rather then tossing the drive there is a method of removing the drive from the casing and seeing it either placed in another external enclosure, Preferrably one fan cooled! for long term use, or contiplate seeing the drive installed internally as another option to "save the drive! dump the enxlosure!"

    Recently for 10 I had to replace a pair of 1tb internal storage drives now a full 5yrs old which were Sata 3 for a pair of Enterprise grade Sata II 2tb drives which solved the Disk 0 and Disk 1 assignment to the storage not pair of OS drives which are both Sata II 1tb also the same aga having been put in from the start.

    The problem you have there however would seem to suggest the connections inside the usb plug or internally for a cold solder point as two possible explanations. If the cable did stiffen up as suspected it may have caused a pull on the wiring inside the cable itself at either end. With care however with most external self contained drives they tend to use something like the WD Green edition energy saver type drive over the standard or performance model for the particular brand.

    In fact since the AccomData is vented well but not actually fan cooled I now have plugged into a second desktop I'm grabbing up the last Sabrent USB 2.0/ESATA TO 3.5 Inch IDE or SATA/SATA II Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure Case with Cooling Fan (EC-UEIS7) seen in stock at Amazon which I will put to use on the main build since I can leave this one running without seeing any drive get too warm in contrast to the other versatile IDE or Sata enclosure I was keeping on hand to savage thing from much older systems. The main here also has eSata as well as the usb ports that can make things easier at times. Amazon.com: AcomData Samba 3.5 USB 2.0 (PATA-IDE/ SATA) Hard Drive Enclosure Kit, Radiant Red (SMBXXXU2E-RD): Electronics

    One of the pair of 1tb drives replaced is now in the two drive mini tower for the remote 7 with 10 Insider build dual boot while the WD Green 1tb I had bought some years back is now back in the enclosure while the second Black Edition storage will be put into the new enclosure for a last look since that was acting up and hard to access until replaced. Once in the enclosure however it seemed to work normal but slower then it should have. where you then have to suspect a worn drive.
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  7.    22 Dec 2015 #7
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 56
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    I'm not that computer literate, I think of myself as an intermediate but most of what you have said is complete jibberish to me, sorry. Far above my thought process. I don't have the time nor the skills to take the drive out of it's enclosure and try to open up my desktop and install it there, I wouldn't want to take the chance. Because the other peripheral that is plugged into the usb drive that the external hdd was plugged into is not having problems I'm quite sure it's got to be the external itself or like you said, maybe the usb cord. I'll check it later when I'm home but when I switched the cords around last night I didn't notice anything hard or brittle and have never experienced that, ever. I don't turn my computer off and on very much, just when I need a restart for updates pretty much.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    22 Dec 2015 #8

    Quote Originally Posted by andreah1 View Post
    Hope this is in the right place. In the past few days my external hard drive makes the sound (windows notification) like when I unplug it from my desktop. Then about 5 seconds later I get another sound and notification asking me how I would like to view content for G: (my external hard drive). I only have it attached to use for backups and I've checked my back up program (easeus) and my backups haven't been happening either. I used crystaldisk to check it and it's healthy. Any idea why it would be essentially shutting itself off and on with no help from me? Is it dying? Is something screwed up in windows?
    Just a guess , but perhaps your PC is set up to power save by shutting down the USB ports not in use , my sons Headphone charger and mini-USB light kept going off , unplugging and re-plugging them would turn them back on temporarily , only to have them turn off again.

    Turns out , one of the Windows updates reset his USB power settings to let the PC turn them off when it thought they were not in use , me going into the system hardware details and going against each port and checking the option to 'never turn off' each one , has fixed it permanently for him.

    Might be worth checking there.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    22 Dec 2015 #9
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 56
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Already did that. I unclicked all of them but didn't help.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    22 Dec 2015 #10
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 56
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    I checked the usb cord, nothing wrong with it, blew out all the ports. We'll see. I've only been on here for about 5 minutes, it usually does it about 5 times before I leave the computer (approx 1 1/2).

    Edit - no such luck, it's still doing it. I guess the only thing left I can think of is to buy a new one. Dang it. Maybe there will be an after Christmas sale?
    Last edited by andreah1; 22 Dec 2015 at 18:40.
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