If your Seagate or Maxtor-brand external hard drive is not being recognized by your Windows PC, whether it is a brand new drive, or one that has been connected to your computer for years, this article contains some steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem.
Please consider this article a supplement to the primary, more complete Seagate website external hard drive troubleshooter.
How is the light/LED behaving? External hard drive light/LED behavior varies from model to model.
Please see Document ID: 208371 for general information about LED behavior.
Please see Document ID: 212859 for information on Seagate FreeAgent drive LED behavior.
Please see Document ID: 184351 for information on Maxtor OneTouch drive LED behavior.
Maxtor-brand Personal Storage drives have a green light on the front of the drive that, when lit, indicate that the drive is getting power.
Is the drive connected to the power adapter? If the light is not on, make sure the drive is connected to the power adapter and the power adapter is connected to an electric outlet.
Is the power adapter functioning properly? Make sure the power adapter is functioning properly. The power adapter that comes with the most external drives has a green indicator light which should be on once the adapter is connected to an electric outlet. If this green light is not on, there may be a problem with the power adapter. If the green light on the power adapter starts blinking once you connect your external drive to the adapter, this can indicate a physical problem with the hard drive. See Document ID: 188697 for more information on troubleshooting power adapters.
Is the power switch on? Some external drives, including all OneTouch drives (except for the OneTouch III and 4 mini) have a power switch on the back of the drive. Make sure this switch is in the on position, if applicable.
If this is a USB-powered drive, is it getting enough power? Some USB-powered drives, like the Seagate Portable drive, Maxtor BlackArmor, Maxtor Basics Portable, Maxtor OneTouch 4 mini, and Maxtor OneTouch III mini, include a USB Y-cable. If the drive is not detected, connect both of the cable's plugs to two USB ports on your computer. Because these drives are powered via USB, they may need a second USB connection to provide it with enough power to function properly.
Is your Seagate or Maxtor external drive connected to your computer through the provided firewire or USB cable? If it is, but isn't recognized, you may want to try connecting the USB or firewire cable to a different port on the computer. If you are connecting the drive to an external USB hub or to a dock, try connecting it directly to the USB port built into the computer. If this is a desktop system, it is recommended that you use a USB port on the rear of your computer, as front USB ports may prevent your external drive from functioning properly.
Does your drive appear in (My) Computer? When your drive is connected to your computer and configured properly, it should appear in (My) Computer as one or more additional drive letters. The image below shows a 200GB external drive that appears as drive letter E:.
If it doesn't appear in (My) Computer, there a few things you can check within Windows to see why.
Is your drive locked? If this is a OneTouch II, OneTouch III, OneTouch 4, or BlackArmor drive, if the drive is locked, it will not be detected. If you had put a password on your drive, you will need to use the Manager software to unlock it, so make sure that the software included with your external drive is installed on your computer.
Was this drive originally formatted on a Macintosh computer? If so, you won't see any drive letters because as a rule, Windows does not recognize drives formatted with a Macintosh file system. If you want to reformat your drive so that you can access it, and you are using Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, you can use Disk Management as per Document ID: 182615 or Microsoft KnowledgeBase article 309000. If you want to reformat your drive and you are using Windows 98SE or Windows ME, you can use DiscWizard as per Document ID: 201943. Please keep in mind that when you reformat a hard drive, it deletes all information on it, so if there are files you need to save, you will need to reconnect your external drive to a Macintosh computer and backup your files first before reformatting it.
Is the Drive Recognized in Device Manager? If your drive isn't password protected, it isn't formatted for Macintosh, and you are using a computer with Windows 7, Vista, XP or 2000, open the Device Manager to see if Windows can access it as a device at all. To access the Windows Device Manager, click on the Start button and select Control Panel. Double-click on the Administrative Tools icon. Double-click on the Computer Management icon. In the Computer Management window, on the left-hand side, click on Device Manager. On the right-hand side, click on the plus (+) sign next to Disk drives to expand the list of drives. Your external drive should be listed here, as a USB Device if connected via USB, or a IEEE 1394 SBP2 Device if connected via firewire. The image below shows a OneTouch III hard drive connected to the computer via USB as it appears in Device Manager:
Is your drive recognized in Disk Management? If the drive is seen in the Device Manager, check to see if it is seen in Disk Management. While still in the Computer Management console, left-click on Disk Management on the left-hand side of the window. On the right-hand side on the bottom half, you should see this drive listed as Disk 1, Disk 2, or some other number. Disk 0 will be reserved for your C: drive. The image below shows a 200GB external hard drive in Disk Management that is recognized as Disk 1, with a single NTFS partition on it:
Does your drive need to be reformatted? If you see your drive listed, but it says unallocated, you will need to reformat it. The image below shows a 200GB external drive in Disk Management that is unallocated and needs to be reformatted:
Please consult Document ID: 182615 or Microsoft KnowledgeBase article 309000 for further information on using Disk Management to reformat your drive. Please remember that formatting your hard drive will erase any information that may still be on it.
If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, follow this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Formatting-disks-and-drives-frequently-asked-questions
If you have followed the above steps and are still unable to access your hard disk drive, please refer to our more complete Seagate website external hard drive troubleshooter.
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