I am running XP Pro SP2 on a Dell XPS Gen-1. I have two Maxtor one touch II combo (usb/firewire) 300GB external hard drives, I'll call them A & B. Each has a different collection of files on them, mp3's on A and mp3+G on B. Everything was working fine up until 3 days ago, I was using the drive A, finished working, shut down the laptop, left HD on. Got up the next day, booted the laptop and that's when all h*** broke loose. My external drive was not showing up in My Computer. It showed up in the Device manager. In the disk management area it showed up as "online" but it was unallocated. I tried connecting it to my desktop running XP Home, same thing. After hours on the phone with Delland reinstalling the drivers from the Maxtor CD, they told me it was a bad hard drive because I got the same result when I connected to my desktop PC during the troubleshooting process. I called Maxtor and they told me to re-format to NTFS (it was FAT32) and assign it a drive letter, so I did and everything was back to normal so I copied all my files (180GB) to the drive. HERE'S WHERE IT GETS GOOD!!! I had since shut everything down and disconnected (properly). The next time I connected and booted up, I received an alert that Windows had detected and configured the external drive and prompted me to re-boot. After the reboot, no drive!!! Disk management says the drive is unallocated again, now I'm back to square one. What is causing this??? I cannot afford to re-format and copy files every time I want to use my external drive, it takes hours. I have the files that were on drive A backed up on another external drive, I'll call it drive 3, a Maxtor 180GB USB, but I'm afraid to connect it to the laptop because I don't want to lose access to the drive and lose the files by having the same thing happen to that drive because then I will be bankrupt of 30,000 mp3's. Is this an XP issue, a hardware issue or what? Drive B has not encountered this issue yet but I'm getting worried that it may (at a bad time). Please help...thank you.