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 500 GB Maxtor external USB hard drive.

Normally it works fine.

But about once a week when I turn on the computer (laptop), it shows up as an unformatted hard drive.

When I double-click on the drive symbol, I get a message asking me if I want to format it.

When this happens, I've learned to unplug the USB, then plug it back in, the unplug and plug it back in about 5 more times until it finally shows up correctly with all its data (265 GB are used).

And then it works fine until the next time that I turn on the computer and it displays itself as an "unformatted drive" and I go through the same procedure.

Has anyone else experienced this? What could be the problem?

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I had an Calvary external hard drive that did the same thing. I got sick of it and popped it open and put it in a new enclosure and it worked fine. I think it was a problematic SATA to USB bridge, because I've not had the problem at all since.

share|improve this answer
    
this sounds likely. if OP's enclosure is new and under warranty, he should consider returning it for replacement. (don't return the drive, just the enclosure!) –  quack quixote Oct 18 '09 at 20:39
    
Good point on the warranty. I tend to just eat it so I didn't think of that. If they won't RMA the enclosure separately, he could copy the files off, dban the drive and get it replaced. Otherwise, decent enclosures don't cost much. –  emgee Oct 18 '09 at 20:56
    
@quack @emgee what do you mean by "taking off the enclosure", my maxtor drive looks like this dclstore.co.uk/images/products/… and the only way I can image getting into it is prying it open with a butter knife which I'm sure would void any warranty on it, etc. how do you "pop it open" as you describe? –  Edward Tanguay Oct 18 '09 at 21:00
    
If you bought the drive as a unit, you'll need to return the whole thing. Quack was assuming you had purchased a drive and a drive enclosure separately. –  CarlF Oct 18 '09 at 21:41
    
If you can copy the data off of the drive and get it replaced, you may want to do so. Otherwise, yes, you'd probably need to pry and/or break it open to get the drive out. And yes, that would definitely void the warranty. But voiding the warranty and may be better than the alternative -- getting a new, blank hard drive for free. –  emgee Oct 18 '09 at 22:13
add comment

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.