External drive worked once only.

Hello all,

I have a toshoba satellite with windows 7 home version

I have a couple of old 2.5 hard drives from an old IBM thinkpad that I want to get the pictures from. I bought a SATA/IDE USB cable and plugged it in after a while it loaded and i could see the drive in "my computer", and I could access all the pictures, which was great. (unfortunately I didn't copy across the pictures..). I then tried the second drive, that one hung during the loading process. however since then my laptop just doesn't see either of the drives when I plug them in. Just for clarity have only tried them one at a time and I they both power up.

Has anyone got any ideas.. Thanks.

Try plugging a known good Usb flashdrive into the same port on the laptop. If it is recognized then you know the issue is with the external drive cable or hard drive(s) itself eg: the old drives could be SATA 1.5 and not compatible with the laptop storage controller etc. Even though SATA is supposed to be backward compatible does not mean the laptop bios agrees with that theory.

Also, IMHO any laptop storage controller driver issues would have been resolved a looong time ago for SATA 1.5...........

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Fantastic Member
Microsoft MVP
I don't see where SATA has anything to do with this. You said this was a drive to USB cable - it sounds more like a USB issue to me. I agree to try a USB stick in and see what happens. You might try that drive on another computer too - preferably not a notebook. I say that because notebook power management can affect how notebook USB ports are set.

I agree on the USB issue hence the test. If the USB port works then we test the cable, then the hard drive compatibility and so forth. Gotta track down the issue one way or another. Could be the drives are just too darn old, who knows.......some bios are finnicky.


Fantastic Member
Microsoft MVP
I agree on the USB issue hence the test. If the USB port works then we test the cable, then the hard drive compatibility and so forth.
Yeah, I agree with that. But if still having issues, I might uninstall the USB drivers, then reboot and let Windows re-install drivers and (fingers crossed) reset any corrupt setting.

For that matter, a cold restart (shutdown and power-off, then restart with no USB devices attached) could reset any Registry setting messing up your Windows Explorer settings. Have you rebooted with no drive attached yet? On some notebooks, you need to remove the battery too for it to really be off.

I am not sure I would try that drive via USB again, but rather installed as a secondary - NOT boot drive in a PC, via the drives native IDE or SATA interface.

In any case, as a reminder, it is good practice to ensure Windows and your security software are totally up-to-date when connecting old drives (especially if ever out of your physical control) to your computer, regardless the interface.

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