Alert from CNET Staff

 Attention forum users:  We want you to try out the new CNET forums platform! Click here to read the details. Thanks!

Storage forum: Please help! I cannot access my external drive.

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) February 4, 2011 1:26 PM PST

Like this

0 people like this thread

Staff pick

Please help! I cannot access my external drive.

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 2/4/11 1:26 PM


Please help! I cannot access my external drive.

Hi, I really need help with this problem! 18 months ago I bought a Western Digial external hard drive to run with my desktop computer and laptop, both run XP. At first both machines recognized the drive as soon as I would plug the USB in, although with a warning that it would run at lower performance because my USB ports were not 2.0 ports but that was okay. I wanted it to put all my music, photos, data files etc on, to save storage on my computers, so I would plug it in and when it would ask me what I wanted to do I just select 'view files and folders' (after I had saved all my music, photos, documents etc to it) or otherwise would transfer things onto it.

The past few months when I have plugged it in, my computers go through reading that there is a device, trying to open it, and I see the grey rectangular box with those green squares going left to right with words flying by on top of that, that are obviously the names of files on it being read, when it finishes doing that, the box asking me what I want to do comes up for only a second then collapses before I get to see it and select what I want to do then starts all over again.

But the worst problem is the past couple of weeks when it is attached it does an appearing then disappearing 'dance' from 'My Computer' where all the drives are listed, and when it appears, instead of showing me my files etc, it comes up with a message like 'disk is not formatted, do you want to format it now?'. The first time it asked me that I clicked on Yes but then it warned me that if I continued it would wipe all the data off the drive and did I want to continue, so of course I clicked NO! and when I click on No that box disappears but there is a smaller box directly underneath it that appears and says that the drive is not available or cannot be read. Every photo I have, all my music (not just CDs that I can reinstall but music from other people and the internet etc) as well as university assignments, documents, old emails and chats are on this WD external drive so any help to figure out how to get it to operate properly and let me access my stuff would be greatly and urgently appreciated. Also since Christmas I have bought a new Lenovo laptop running Windows 7 and when I plugged the external drive into it the computer recognised that there was a new device but again only came up with something saying it wasn't formatted and asked me if I wanted to format it, so again I said No. Please Help.

--Submitted by Virginia T.

Here are some member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Western Digital interface problem --Submitted by High Desert Charlie

Here is what you need to do --Submitted by yasinghMD

Recovering data from your hard drive --Submitted by snldavis

Make sure you check the drive with another computer --Submitted by dsmeryage

Thank you to all who contributed!

If any of you have any additional suggestion or advice for Virginia, please click on the reply link and submit away. Please be as detailed as possible when providing a solution. Thanks!

Note: This post was edited by forum moderator on 02/11/2011 on 3:24 PM PT

Forum Icon Legend

  • UnreadUnread
  • ReadRead
  • Locked threadLocked thread
  • ModeratorModerator
  • CNET StaffCNET Staff
  • Samsung StaffSamsung Staff
  • Norton Authorized Support TeamNorton Authorized Support Team
  • AVG StaffAVG Staff
  • avast! Staffavast! Staff
  • Webroot Support TeamWebroot Support Team
  • Acer Customer Experience TeamAcer Customer Experience Team
  • Windows Outreach TeamWindows Outreach Team
  • DISH staffDISH staff
  • Dell StaffDell Staff
  • Intel StaffIntel Staff
  • QuestionQuestion
  • Resolved questionResolved question
  • General discussionGeneral discussion
  • TipTip
  • Alert or warningAlert or warning
  • PraisePraise
  • RantRant

You are e-mailing the following post: Post Subject

Your e-mail address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the e-mail and in case of transmission error. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose.

Sorry, there was a problem emailing this post. Please try again.

Submit Email Cancel

Thank you. Sent email to


Thank you. Sent email to


You are reporting the following post: Post Subject

If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

Offensive: Sexually explicit or offensive language

Spam: Advertisements or commercial links

Disruptive posting: Flaming or offending other users

Illegal activities: Promote cracked software, or other illegal content

Sorry, there was a problem submitting your post. Please try again.

Submit Report Cancel

Your message has been submitted and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.


Your message has been submitted and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.


You are posting a reply to: Post Subject

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to the CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to CBS Interactive Site Terms of Use.

You are currently tracking this discussion. Click here to manage your tracked discussions.

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

Sorry, there was a problem submitting your post. Please try again.

Sorry, there was a problem generating the preview. Please try again.

Duplicate posts are not allowed in the forums. Please edit your post and submit again.

Submit Reply Preview Cancel

Thank you, , your post has been submitted and will appear on our site shortly.