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I just restored my laptop to factory settings. When I plug my external HDD in it says there's nothing in it, but I swear I put about 20 GB of stuff init for backup. Does anyone know what happen? What can I do prevent it inthe future?

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Can you describe the problem in some kind of detail. You sau, "it says there's nothing in it". But what does that mean exactly? What shows up in the Disk Manager? What shows up in the Device Manager? Do you get an error message? – David Schwartz Nov 18 '12 at 23:10
If possible try plugging it into another computer and see if you get the same result. – martineau Nov 19 '12 at 2:12
Sure. when I do properties it says 4.95 Gb left which whas how much it had left, but when I open the folder it says it's empty in disk manager it says everything is fine. and what's disk manager. once i got an error message saying that the location is inaccesable then it just says its empty – Moinak Nath Nov 19 '12 at 2:34
Question: What operating system did you restore onto the laptop? It may be that you formatted the external hard drive as NTFS or FAT32 (which isn't by itself a problem), but that the OS version you restored the laptop to can only read FAT16 volumes. For example - Windows 95, and old versions of linux. Perhaps the laptop needs special driver software to access the external hard drive? – Charles Lindsay Nov 19 '12 at 7:52
I restored Windows 7 on it – Moinak Nath Nov 19 '12 at 16:46

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