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I'm using a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB USB3.0 portable hard drive and my desktop computer uses a H55M-E33 motherboard. I've found that each time when I try to plug the hard drive into the USB port in the front panel, it won't be recognized at all. Plugging the hard drive into the USB port at the back panel won't have any problem. I've Googled this issue and seems basically it is an issue of the power supply to the USB port. Some people say that the reason goes to the chassis and some say the reason goes to the motherboard.

So what is the reason for this problem and how should I solve it?

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If it is a power issue, try using a powered hub. –  soandos Jan 16 '12 at 0:32
    
Do other devices work in those ports? –  David Schwartz Jan 16 '12 at 1:47
    
When you say they won't be recognized at all, does that mean nothing shows in the Device Manager and you get no 'bee-boop' sound? –  David Schwartz Jan 16 '12 at 2:13
    
@DavidSchwartz: Actually I get "bee-boop" sound but just the disk won't get recognized. –  derekhh Jan 16 '12 at 4:05
    
What shows in the Device Manager? If you get the "bee-boop" sound, something should show. –  David Schwartz Jan 16 '12 at 4:11
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In my experience this is due to (as you said) the front usb ports having less power. Its also a possibility that while the motherboard has USB 3.0 ports, the case does not.

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Many USB 3.0 hard drives will work in USB 2.0 ports, mainly at reduced speeds –  Canadian Luke Jan 16 '12 at 1:35
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@Luke: But only if self-powered. USB 3.0 provides a much higher current to bus powered devices than the USB 2.0 maximum (which was 500mA). –  Ben Voigt Jan 16 '12 at 1:54
    
@BenVoigt Didnt know that –  Canadian Luke Jan 16 '12 at 4:35
    
USB 3.0 devices tend to be flaky on some usb 2.0 ports as suggested by Ben Voigt, I have one usb3.0 2.5" portable drive and I have to plug it twice to some of my usb ports (monitor ports), first time it does not recognize it, then unplug, wait 10 seconds, plug back in to the same port and it gets recognized but can lose connectivity during file copy to and from the drive. –  Moab Jan 16 '12 at 5:55
    
I have a WD USB 3.0 hdd which works perfectly on all the 2.0 ports (across machines) that i have tried .So its just a case of variation form manufacturer to manufacturer. @derekhh : its a power issue, if you prefer using the front port , use a Y cable (provided you have 2 ports in the front) –  Shakehar Jan 16 '12 at 13:22
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Most likely, the front USB ports aren't connected to anything at all. Check inside the case and make sure they're actually hooked up to the motherboard.

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Actually the front USB ports are working, as my iPhone can get charged when plugged to them. –  derekhh Jan 16 '12 at 1:51
    
That proves that they at least are connected to power. It doesn't prove their data lines are connected. But I admit it's quite rare to have the power connected and not the data. The only way I could see this happening is if they were connected to a motherboard port that connects to a different controller and you didn't have drivers loaded for that controller or the controller was disabled in the BIOS. –  David Schwartz Jan 16 '12 at 1:52
    
And if we plug a flash disk into that USB port, it will be recognized without any problem... –  derekhh Jan 16 '12 at 2:01
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