It's the strangest thing — which is my prefatory way of saying I have no idea why this is happening, so hardly know how to search for answers. I apologize if this is something basic or if it has been asked before.
I have an "old" USB hard drive (about 4–5 years old), a Seagate 320GB FreeAgent Go. And it's been a faithful servant. I used it mainly with an even older (vintage 2005) Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop. But then I got a "new" computer, and the drive started having problems. It's not a problem of my "new" PC, since the drive has problems with any computer made in the past 5 years or so.
Plugging it into a "new" computer, the drive starts rhythmically chirping. You probably know the sound. Like a turntable squaking. It's a sound that instinctively makes me think think the drive is failing and I'd better get my data off quickly. At first it only started chirping after a few minutes, chirped for a minute, then the PC quit reading the drive. As time progressed, the duration between plugging in the drive and the PC losing it got shorter and shorter, until now it lasts only a second or two and is completely unusable. Yes, my drive is failing, I was sure.
... Only it's not. During all my panic trying to backup files, I realized that the drive, now unusable with any newer computer, still works perfectly fine with my "old" laptop. It doesn't chirp. It doesn't quit working. I can still comfortably use it for hours with that PC with no problems. Disk scans by that computer indicate there's nothing at all wrong with the drive. It also, I discovered, works perfectly fine when plugged into my new Samsung HDTV, and it has been serving movies for a year or so with no chirping and no symptoms of drive failure or any other issue.
But what the heck? Why does this drive work with those devices and then fail with anything else? I'd like to load some new movies, but now I can't plug the drive into anything. My conjecture is that it has something to do with the voltage of the USB connection — but aren't these things supposed to be a universal standard?