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You could try removing XP's identifier for that drive in case there are problems with it. [XP does not record hidden drives, by the way]. The key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\MountedDevices, and you can do it the hard way or the easy way, the latter being to export that key for safety reasons, then deleting the whole MountedDevices key.
The hard way is to identify the entries relating to your USB device by finding it at \DosDevice\... , then at \??\Volume{... and removing those entries.
If you follow the easy way XP will rebuild the key as it recalculate the identifiers for all drives actually connected when it next restarts, and then as any other drives are connected.
I suppose a third way would be to use MBRWhiskey to delete the Disk Signature of the USB drive. XP would then have to recalculate it plus the volume identifiers for partitions on that disk, and then the MounteDevices entries. But I have not tried that.

Edited by gerbil: n/a

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I think I've found the problem. It seems to be the usb port of the external hard drive. When I hold the cable in, the hard drive doesn't disconnect. Seems to me that it's own vibrating is causing the disconnection.

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I thought you said it works in other computers just fine. How could this be the problem.

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That's a good point; I did say that. Looks like more testing is needed.

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I'm not sure how but I'm able to access the contents of the external hard drive now. I'm not sure what I did or if it will be permanently fixed so I'm currently backing up all the important things that I haven't already got another copy of.

Afterwards, I'm going to do more tests to determine the cause and solution.

It seems to be running smoothly right now, the only thing wrong is that Windows is detecting that it's plugged into a USB 1.1 port even though I know it's a USB 2.0 port since I don't have any USB 1.1 ports on my computer. Windows also gave me a message when I plugged it in saying something along the lines of "Your new hardware couldn't be installed and may not function correctly."

I suspect that my motherboard may be going. I have had the machine since 2006 and I haven't upgraded it since I got it.

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USB driver okay? Check Device Mgr.
Some motherboards have a couple of different chips that can handle USB ports. For example, one may be an expansion device, and only allow 1.1 to say, the front panel connectors. Weird, but on older boards that was how they got extra USB physical ports.
Good luck, anyway.

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They're all set to 2.0 and any other USB device runs at full speed in any of the ports.

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From my experience when it shows up as 1.1 on a 2.0 Port it is starting to fail.

But grats on retrieving your data.

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I would have though if it was the port then anything I plug into it would run at 1.1 speends.

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(Sory for my language, I do not have time to check the correct translation and gramar)

I have the same problem right now. I am checking the 500G using HD Tune. Usually it disconects after about 10GB. Now it runs for 78GB (about 30 minutes), so I assume, that i have solved the problem.

Problem was:... To long cable.

Maby it seams stupid, but think about it: Disk runs at 33MB/s = 276 824 064 bits /s = about 300 MHz.
Speed of light - about 300 000 000 m/s. In 300MHz time interval, a light can travel about 1,08 meters.
Conclusion: If you want a high speed, expect a data loss. Data loss = reconnect.

Back to the problem: I tried a HUB with 1,8m cable + 0.5m = disc not detected
1,8m calbe - reconnect after 5-10 min.
0,5m cable - working for over 30 (now 40) minutes

Another problems: Line6 Pocked Pod (the same problem - same solution) (Pocked Pod do not need high power)
My Printer - Do not work with calbe >2m.

Maby it is a problem with a mainboard - i didnt cheacked it on other machines. However - i found my solution and it is working.

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I am having similar kind of problem with my external hdd but i found out that when i connect it in the back side usb ports of my pc then it is working fine. And i have upgraded my power supply too.

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because a front panel is nothing more, but an extension cable connected directly on the mainboard

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