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I'm using an external USB box for one of my harddisks in Windows 7. At random moments, windows shows me the popup asking me what I want to do with the connected USB drive. It seems Windows somehow loses the connection to the drive and then 'discovers' it again. Sometimes it happens that the drive just 'disappears' and doesn't come back.

At first I thought it may have something to do with the USB device switching itself off after some timeout, but it also happens when I'm in the middle of a movie, playing from that harddrive, causing the player to stop. So I don't think it has anything to do with the disk being idle.

So I wonder if this is a software/driver problem, or a problem with the hardware.

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2.5 (self powered) or 3.5 inch (external PSU) drive? –  Journeyman Geek Sep 22 '11 at 7:42
    
3.5" with an external PSU –  Bart van Wissen Sep 24 '11 at 12:52
    
that rules out insufficient power at the USB port, but rules in wallwart issues, as silverfire mentioned –  Journeyman Geek Sep 24 '11 at 14:07
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3 Answers

This sounds like a loose hardware connection. Check the connection between your hard drive and its casing. Test the hard drive with other USB ports and other computers to isolate the source of the issue. If the same problem happens on other computers, you might want to swap the casing or connect the hard drive directly to the motherboard via SATA.

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there is a full update set to the USB drivers at windows update. And YES, there are external USB boxes that the hard drive will go to sleep. this occurance is aparentaly internal to the hard drive controller (in the box) and hard drive. that is all i got.

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Try using another USB cable or a shorter USB cable. make sure the cable is not running over any transformers/wallwarts or wound around/near any mains power cables, these may be causing interference.

What is your mains power like? do you ever get power problems?

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