1 Copper

External hard drive not recognized.

Computer - Dell Inspiron E1505

CPU - 1.73 GHz

RAM - 1.0 GB

32 Bit OS 

Operating system - Vista Home Premium

Service Pack 1 installed 

Internal hard drive -  80 GB Hitachi HT541680J


I bought an iomega 160 GB eGo external USB-powered hard drive which is supposed to be pre-formatted and ready to go (plug-and-play).  When I plug it in to a USB port the computer "dings", the power light on the drive lights up and I can hear the drive running if I put it up to my ear.


However, when I go to START > COMPUTER  the drive doesn't show up on the list of drives.  All that show is the C: drive, the 😧 Recovery partition of the C: drive, the DVD drive and, if I have it attached, my HP 3180 inkjet printer.


If I go to START and right-click COMPUTER and then select MANAGE to get the Computer Management screen and then select Disk Management, I get the screen showing all the drives connected.  This screen shows the C: drive as Disk 0 and the external iomega drive as Drive 1.  It shows them both to be online. It also shows the DVD drive and the printer if I have it connected.  Right-clicking the Drive 1 here and selecting Properties brings up a box labeled TOSHIBA MK1646GSX [the iomega 2.5" drive] USB Device Properties.  Under General it says "This device is working properly"



OK - The external drive is running.  The computer recognizes that the drive is there. Why doesn't the drive show up in the list under START > COMPUTER?  If it doesn't show up there with a letter assigned I can't use it.  Stranger yet, when the drive is connected to another Vista PC it shows up instantly.  Same thing with a Windows XP machine.  It just doesn't work with mine.


iomega doesn't have customer support.  The Geeks at Best Buy don't have a clue why it's acting this way.  

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15 Replies
8 Krypton

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

Assuming the drive has a formatted partition on it, try a powered hub or an external power supply - many external drives draw too much power for a single USB port.


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1 Copper

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

i had the EXACT same issue with my new external hard drive (320gb seagate momentus). after hours of searching online for solutions, i tried something else. this is what fixed it:

in disk management (control panel>administrative tools>computer management>disk management), right-click on drive 1 (which currently has a black bar across the top). choose the only available option on the list (it's 'initialize disk' or 'optimize disk'). follow the steps (prompts) and then the bar changes to blue.

the disk should now show up in 'computer.' you'll just need to format it (pop-up option when you first double-click on the drive). i chose 'quick format,' but you can go thru the regular one (takes a LONG time).

if, however, the drive doens't show up in 'computer,' go back to disk management and right-click the drive again. this time, choose the available option ('extend volume'). once that's completed, the drive will show up in 'computer' and need to be formatted.

note: this isn't quite as detailed-specific as possible, because once i did the steps, i couldn't go back and see what they were, so this is all from memory.

hope this works for you, too!

1 Copper

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

I'm sure your suggested fix would work just fine, unless, like what I've experienced, the external drive does not appear in the "Disk Management" window.  The drive works just fine on both my Dell Dimension desktops, as well as my Compaq laptop; however, when connected to my Dell Inspiron, even with both the Type A connectors in place, the drive light glows bright green, but the computer can't see it.  I'm beginning to think Dell laptops are just not made for this sort of application.

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Marcia Brubeck
1 Copper

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

I have a Dell Dimension 8300 computer running Windows XP Home.  It will not recognize my external hard drive plugged into any USB port.  That is, the external drive does not appear in My Computer and or on the list of drop-down drives.  The external hard drive does work on my Dell 4100 series computer (really ancient).  The hard drive itself was made at about the same time as the 8300 series computer (ca. 2001).  I am not a technie, but can anyone tell me how to get the 8300 computer to interface with the external hard drive?  Thanks in advance.

1 Copper

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

I am having the same trouble, except that the cpu is new and the external hard drive has a lot of files (like my entire music library) which I would rather not lose.  The device is listed, but I can't find a way to open the drive or to see what files I have listed there to use them.  Is there a way to open the drive without having to reformat and lose everything there?

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7- Gold

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

Hi, celestinia:

When you say, "the cpu is new," I assume you mean you have a new computer. Would you please tell me the model and operating system of your new computer? When you plug in the external drive, do you see a drive letter for it in My Computer? If you double click that drive letter, do you then see a list of files and folders?

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1 Copper

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

I was told by dell support that I have to buy the power cord for the external hard drive. When you plug in the external hard drive to the USB port, it is taken power from

the laptop. I may try to borrow a power cord or buy one and see if it works.

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4 Ruthenium

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

Welcome to the forums emoticon.Yes.title




I was told by dell support that I have to buy the power cord for the external hard drive.


If you can find the proper power cord, all good and well.  But you might want to consider getting yourself a powered USB hub instead emoticon.Idea.title

They're widely available (usually 4-port and 7-port), and many are inexpensive to buy.

For instance... Newegg sell them from as little as $9 (+ S&H).


The benefit of a powered USB hub vs a power cable, is that you can only supply mains power to your external drive from a power cable, whereas you can supply mains power to however many devices there are ports for on a [powered] hub - which is obviously handy for any future devices you might add emoticon.Wink.title

From experience, I've found that:   “Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder”!!


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1 Copper

Re: External hard drive not recognized.

I got the power supply and the computer still does not recognize the external hard drive.

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