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This is a Western Digital external drive, and my laptop is a Gateway P-7805u. Is there a special driver I need to install on my laptop to be able to utilize the eSATA port? Something else?

EDIT: Still looking for some help on this issue. Vista cannot detect my eSATA port at all. How do I activate it?

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Does the eSATA adapter appear in Device Manager? Often as SCSI and RAID contorllers. –  Dave M Nov 20 '09 at 21:36
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Its possible that Windows isnt recognising the drive because its not formatted in a standard Windows filesystem. For example Windows uses the NTFS or FAT32 filesystem.

If Windows cant read the drive then it probably will not pop up in My Computer, but it will still show up in Disk Management. To get to this;

  1. Right click on My Computer
  2. Select Manage. You may be prompted by UAC, just press accept/ok.
  3. Once its up, on the left you want to click Disk Management.

This will show you every drive that Windows knows about, regardless of what filesystem its running.

If your drive appears here, you need to right click on it and select format. Check that the filesystem is NTFS, and hit OK. After this is should appear in My Computer as normal.


Ok, the problem could be one of these three things;

  1. A problem with the eSATA cable
  2. A problem with the eSATA connection on either the hard drive or PC.
  3. A problem with the eSATA drivers on your PC.

First I would reccomend trying to plug the drive with the same cable into another computer. If this works it rules out any problem with the cable and/or the hard drive.

Then I would re-install or update the eSATA drivers. To do this you will need to go to the website of the company the made your motherboard, and search for the drivers there.

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Good comment - I never thought about this. Actually the drive is formatted as FAT32. To make things easy, I may just back everything up on my external then format it as NTFS. Are there any problems doing this? Thanks. –  NoCatharsis Nov 23 '09 at 14:03
    
No, you shouldnt have any problems with re-formatting it, obviously aslong as you back everything up before hand. But if there are files on already it, I assume it must have worked with your PC before, but then stopped working? If so then it could be something else that is causing a problem. –  Connor W Nov 23 '09 at 18:22
    
It works with my computer just fine if I connect with a USB cord. I understand that external media can be a different file system when connected via USB, but apparently they must be the same file system for more integrated connections, such as eSATA. I'm just guessing? –  NoCatharsis Nov 24 '09 at 13:54
    
Ahh, this is a problem with the eSATA cable or connection then. The contents of the drive are exactly the same whether you use USB of eSATA. They are merely ways of moving the data from the drive to your PC. So if you have no problems with USB it means it is a problem with eSATA. Ill edit my origianal answer to explain this as its easier to format. –  Connor W Nov 24 '09 at 21:29
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Check your BIOS settings and make sure the external eSATA port is turned on.

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Ok I take it this is not a default setting? That seems odd since every other port is default, right? –  NoCatharsis Nov 11 '09 at 5:39
    
There is no setting in my BIOS for eSATA. Any other suggestions, please? –  NoCatharsis Nov 14 '09 at 22:26
    
The setting will likely not be under the drives page. I think most BIOSes list it under "advanced" with the USB and PCI configuration. –  Chris Nava Nov 16 '09 at 2:46
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eSATA does not provide any power to the device. Make sure that you have an external power adapter connected to your external hard drive in addition to the SATA cable.

Also, technically you are suppose to use a special eSATA cable that provides more shielding than a standard internal SATA cable.

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I bought an external eSATA cable with shielding and all, so I think I can rule that out. Thank you though. –  NoCatharsis Nov 11 '09 at 17:17
    
Are you sure it's powered? Can you feel/hear the drive spin? –  prestomation Nov 14 '09 at 22:55
    
Yes, the power cord is separate. Plus, I've connected the HD using USB just fine and the light on the front of the external comes on. Windows simply cannot detect it. –  NoCatharsis Nov 19 '09 at 0:35
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What disk controller mode is your internal hard disk set to?

I don't know about Gateway's but on some Dell models the external eSATA port only works when the internal hard drive is set to SATA mode. If the internal disk controller mode is set to something like "ATA" or "Legacy" or "Compatibility" then it probably isn't running in native SATA mode but is running in a mode that makes it look like a pre-SATA drive for compatibility reasons (eg Win XP can't read SATA drives without special drivers loaded) and the eSATA port may not work, check your BIOS to see.

The problem is that lot of laptop manufacturers save space and money by only putting in one simple SATA controller that's shared by the internal and external ports, and changing the controller mode on that changes it for all ports.

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