Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a WD My Passport Essential (Model number WD 2500ME/2500BEV) connected to a USB 2.0 front connector in an old Emachines box. Occasionally (thus far only observed in Windows XP) the drive will randomly disconnect with the general Windows dings, pause for a few seconds, then reconnect. This seems to occur when the drive is not in active use, although I'm not sure if an active portable program thats in the background quality as active use.

At first I thought this was overheating, but the drive itself is not hot, just a little warm. And even then its pretty close to a floor AC vent and sitting on top of the case. The drive nor its cable isn't touched before the disconnect, so that rules out accidental jostling. Nothing software wise should be affecting it. As I said earlier I've only noticed it in Windows XP, but that could simply be because I don't use Linux as my primary OS right now. The drive itself runs fine with no weird noises or system crashes.

With all the above, what could cause an issue like this? I'm really at a loss here and its getting annoying when I'm running a portable app and it crashes because the drive got disconnected.

(and before you label this a dup of this or this, those are with Mac's and different drives)

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Checking the obvious - have you tried other devices on the same port and cable, other cables, other ports?

In particular, have you tried a shorter, better quality USB cable?

I'm hazarding a guess that there might be some noise that means data isn't always making it through reliably, so sometimes it disconnects due to a timeout. Very likely there's some kind of "heartbeat" signal used purely to keep a connection open which (guessing) might deliberately not be quite so robust (error correction, retries) as "real" data.

If so, you might expect problems with other devices on the same port, and a different port or cable might make just enough difference.

Also, check Windows update. There's an off-chance that you might need a driver update for your motherboard.

Finally, if overheating is an issue, the problem might be internal to your PC. Clearing out dust and checking the fans are running is never a bad idea. That does seem an unlikely cause for what you describe, though.

If the drive itself were overheating, I'd expect it to cut out for a significant period of time - not just a few seconds.

share|improve this answer
    
Whats funny is that I plugged my other external HD right under the problem one and haven't heard anything yet. Anyway, I don't have any other cable that can actually power this thing, probably because all my usb hubs are old. I'm fully updated in Windows and use DriverMax to stay on top of my drivers. As I said earlier I'm testing another drive as well. Some cleaning could help here though, I'll try and pick some up. I'll accept this if nobody else answers –  TheLQ Jul 14 '10 at 22:52

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.