external hard drive again became unrecognized, possibly due to plugging it in while it was spinning up? Neither of my prior solutions worked. Also had same symptoms on 2 other computers. Finally resorted to taking the drive out of the case and trying to hook up the IDE cable to an old computer. Spent hours trying all combinations of master/slave/cable select on this drive and the internal drive trying all four slots on 2 cables but couldn't get the computer to recognize it. Decided to connect it back in the case, but couldn't remember how it was slaved. Selected master. Now it works again on all of the computers with the USB cable. Either having the other computer try to read it directly from the IDE cable or changing the jumpers somehow "reset" it so now it reads normally with no lost data. Immediately copied all data onto another external drive that hasn't acted up yet. Will now stop yanking out the USB cable prior to using the "safely disconnect" icon.