Maxtor hdd - unknown device and doesnt ask for drivers?

  theDarkness 16:40 28 Apr 2012

My external hard drive was working 100% up until today, and for no good reason upon connecting today to any usb port, it tells me it is an unknown device. The drive still whirrs when I connect the cable. What should I do? Windows simply says to try reconnecting it, or replace it. Reconnecting just gives me the same message. 500GB of data gone, and I was all set to get a second hdd as a secondary backup soon too :( any ideas on how to fix? thanks

  theDarkness 19:30 28 Apr 2012

LOL that wasnt even a wind up - its MOTOROLA XD Someone has seemingly been mixing my pc usb leads with a same-shape 5 pin mobile phone usb cable. No one in this household has a motorola phone so this is odd, unless its very old. Im backing up so I cant check if the same shape external hd usb cable thats working has the same number of pins, but thats surely the cause. I have never owned a motorola mobile so the symbol on the cable didnt dawn on me at first as to what it stood for. If my hd cable has the same number of pins, then I would have imagined that the mobile one should still work though, but it looks like the problem is solved-but unless someone is swapping cables around trying to wind me up, it did work last night.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:41 28 Apr 2012

Type A B refers to the shape of the connector at the end see here about a third of the way down.

How many back ups depend on how paranoid you are.

but back ups must always be on a separate physical drive / media, that way if PC fails and takes out all internal equipment you have you backup safe.

If backup fails then you still have original that you cn do another backup from.

All my important stuff is backed up twice.

  theDarkness 00:50 29 Apr 2012

I found out it was definately a motorola cable, someone had left it here yesterday. Thanks for the link-it would seem that mobile cable had a mini-b 5 pin connector, from the image shown of the 6 connectors down that page. I still havent been able to check my working hdd connectors, as my transfer (from one external hdd to another) is still not finished! It seems external to external on usb2 may halve the transfer rate. Ouch. From many forum complaints usb3 doesnt seem to be a large difference, so Im not sure what the next step will be. After searching for the most common usb connector I believe that my external drive must surely use a 4-pin mini-b, but some forums mention that modern external hdds use 4-pin firewire. Im pretty sure that isnt true in my case, with either of my externals. Their connections are identical, and surely mini-b. I think I will have to leave this system running on its own all night :) Thanks

  theDarkness 01:24 29 Apr 2012

ps it looks like I may not be able to leave it on its own after all - a small issue whilst copying files from one ntfs external hdd to another ntfs external. The system is claiming it must skip files with names over an (unstated) certain number of characters. I managed to copy them successfully onto the first drive in the first place, so why cant I now transfer them onto the second drive, when they both use the same file system? Windows wont even automatically shorten the file names for me, so I have to search to try and find which particular files were too long to copy over. Windows does tell me which files, but annoyingly the full location isnt shown. I am assuming its an issue with a windows update that now prevents transfer of large name files?

  theDarkness 13:47 29 Apr 2012

Im using vista - I was receiving the error above, along with the occasional 'invalid parameter, error 0x80030057' for similar files. All the files for these errors had too long a path name as I was transferring from one external hdd to another. The files themselves were fully working, the path name each one was far too long, eg if I wanted to backup the music directory from external hdd D:, to show the file in external E: as:

E:\Music Library\Music Library\Music Library Shared\DJ Shadow\Endtroducing [Deluxe Edition] (US 2005)\Disc 2 - Excessive Ephemera\05 - Stem - Transmission 2 Cops n Robbers Mix.mp3

I would then get one of the above errors. A short mp3 or other file name but still a fairly long path name would also give these same errors. I fixed them all by simply shortening the path they were to be transferred to, eg a slightly shorter: E:\Music Library Shared\DJ Shadow\Endtroducing [Deluxe Edition] (US 2005)\Disc 2 - Excessive Ephemera\05 - Stem - Transmission 2 Cops n Robbers Mix.mp3

Creating a new backup from one external to the other finished at 7am (!), mainly photoshop files and related media-but that was a VERY slow transfer, even for usb-perhaps I used a usb 1 port instead, but they annoyingly arent labelled on this laptop. Thanks for the replies

  theDarkness 14:02 29 Apr 2012

I found out that my external hdds both use the same 5 pin connector of the same shape as the motorola one I had attempted to connect the hdd with before, so if it wasnt a faulty or failing lead then it must surely be simply a different connector, despite looking absolutely identical.

  theDarkness 00:16 14 May 2012

update (I wont do it again-I wish I could just edit my posts), I know now that I have 3 identical leads for my external drive, as Im getting the same windows message when I connect the drive with the lead that supposedly worked:- 'one of the usb devices connected has mulfunctioned, not being able to recognize the device'. Thankfully the hdd has now been backed up completely as above, so it must be a dying external hdd and not 4 completely damaged ports on the laptop, if its not a windows problem. The external hdd fan still whirrs up instantly when I connect it to any port however, despite being an unknown device that supposedly does not need or have drivers. Time for a new hdd-but I think next time Ill stick to internal hdd for all my secondary backups :)

  theDarkness 14:33 14 May 2012

ok, I know I said I would never add another reply, but I have finally found out the true cause of the failing external hard drive-it was a loose or poor usb port/connection on the external hdd, so all the leads I had were identical that I had tried before. I finally found this out as the drive was connected yesterday and wasnt being recognized-at the same time I decided to gently move the usb cable at the end where it connects to the drive. The light on the drive switched on and off, and was eventually recognized fully once again. Unfortunately by gently moving the usb at this point, it has spelled the end of the drive, or at least on it being able to recognize the hdd even less likely. I found a guide on being able to at least being able to open the casing of a basics drive, which might be handy if anyone has a similar maxtor drive and wants to get to the hdd inside and knows how to re-solder the usb port connection, if thats the sole cause.

The usb port does not seem loose even with the casing removed, but as Im not an electrician,aside from being able to remove the hdd from its casing, I think Ill leave the opening of the actual hdd itself to check the port to someone else, but the port is definately the problem :) case closed! :) thanks for all the replies

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