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I have a Compaq Armada M700 laptop (Windows XP) with one usb port in the back of the computer. If I plug my external HDD (Toshiba 160 gig) into it directly, it will work perfectly fine, no problems. However, I also have a Wacom tablet which I'd like to be able to have plugged in at the same time as my external HDD. So I bought what I thought was a powered USB hub and tried it. It seemed to work okay once I figured out that I have to plug it into the wall and the USB port on my laptop before turning on the laptop, and I had my Wacom and hard drive plugged into it and the HDD seemed to work fine for a few minutes, until it went idle (which it does if it hasn't been accessed for >5 minutes, which is normal) and then tried to start up again after a few minutes. Then it seemed like it was trying to spin and couldn't, and there was a very faint tk-tk-tk (I couldn't actually hear it, but if I put my hand on the HDD I could feel it). I did some googling and figured it was probably a power issue, so I bought a USB Y-cable from Newegg.com and until I got it, just used the USB port in the back of the laptop for the external HDD, not the USB hub--back to working perfectly fine again, no data lost or corrupted. I got the Y cable today, plugged it into my HDD, and both of the other ends of the Y into the hub, plugged the hub into my wall and main USB port (the hard drive started faintly clicking again, which probably should have been a sign that it wasn't going to work) and turned on my laptop. The Toshiba started spinning, I put my hand on it and it was spinning normally and not clicking or grinding or anything, just a faint "whrrrr" like it should be doing. So I thought the Y cable was working until it went idle again, and tried to start up again when Firefox opened (I don't know why my external HDD has to always start when Firefox does, but w/e), and then it was trying to spin and couldn't and there was the faint ticking (that I couldn't hear but could feel) again. So now I have the HDD unplugged from the hub completely since I don't want anything to happen to it (although if anything does I'm backing up all my stuff online) but is there any way I can get my HDD to play nice with my USB hub? It's too late to return the hub itself, I got it off eBay and there was only a seven-day return window. Apparently it's not actually self-powered like I thought it was, the AC adapter is presumably only for powering the lights on each port. Barring that, is there any powered hub out there that you've found absolutely, positively will work with external hard drives? (Bonus points if it's under $20) I have to say I don't think the drive itself is failing, if it were I don't think it would work when plugged into the laptop directly and like I said it works fine then. And my Wacom tablet works perfectly fine plugged into the USB hub, too.

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Last Post by Seten
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You should connect each part of the Y to different USB port on different sides of tablet/laptop. Anyway the thicking also occured to me. But with the Y cable it went ok. I think too, that the USB harddrive has low power.
Also please look if the USB is 2.0 and not 1.0. This can be also an issue.
In device settings you should unclick sleep when idle. You can change the comsuption to max power in Windows settings, maybe that helps with the power.

Edited by Seten: n/a

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I'm thinking it's a low-power thing with the USB hub too. Also I only have one USB port on my laptop, I've searched all over and can't find a second one. The split of the Y is pretty short anyway so it probably wouldn't work even if I did have two ports on my computer.

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I'm thinking it's a low-power thing with the USB hub too. Also I only have one USB port on my laptop, I've searched all over and can't find a second one. The split of the Y is pretty short anyway so it probably wouldn't work even if I did have two ports on my computer.

There is also one thing, but this is partly dangerous. Get a USB charger, the one that come with Smartphones. Connect this to one part of the Y and the second to the USB HDD.

You have not written about it, but was the HDD added to the USB extension by you or was it bought as one device?
Also check if the USB-HDD has anu connectors that are not for USB meant.

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You have not written about it, but was the HDD added to the USB extension by you or was it bought as one device?

If you mean what I think you do, then no, I bought them both separately. Hard drive first, then when I got too many USB peripherals, I bought the hub (which has seven ports).

Also check if the USB-HDD has anu connectors that are not for USB meant.

Nope, there's only one connector on the casing, and it's for USB.

If I could find a way to get the casing of the Toshiba open (there are no screws) and if I weren't completely paranoid about opening up my laptop, I could probably just put the external HDD itself into my laptop (dunno if I'd have to switch it with my internal HDD or if there's a second space for another drive) At least I think I could, theoretically anyway.

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Nope, there's only one connector on the casing, and it's for USB.

If I could find a way to get the casing of the Toshiba open (there are no screws) and if I weren't completely paranoid about opening up my laptop, I could probably just put the external HDD itself into my laptop (dunno if I'd have to switch it with my internal HDD or if there's a second space for another drive) At least I think I could, theoretically anyway.

I have a Toshiba A200 that has two slots for HDD, but sadly only one has connector for the harddrive.
Just google on how to get in... example...
http://www.irisvista.com/tech/laptops/Toshiba-Satellite-M105/take-apart-notebook-1.htm

About the harddrive, the laptop/tablet (if it is not very old) should be able to give enought energy to the harddrive. But in your case (with one USB) it could be that it doesn't go by standard. Anyway, because you bought it separate (case and HDD), then it is the problem with the power. A USB hub should help only if you connect also another powersupply to it. Of course I would suggest to use the Y cable in the hub.
Of course I hope, that you have at least Windows 2000 or newer.

Edited by happygeek: fixed formatting

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