Tech Support Forum banner

Windows won't boot with external HDD attached

5096 Views 26 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Old Rich
A few hours ago I had my computer on rendering a video and I was outside doing some yard work. Power went out for a bit (I don't know how long, but not very long), and I found my computer wouldn't get past the cmos if my external hdd is attached.

I've tried several usb slots, but no matter what, my computer stops working after bios and after the small line blinks on the top left of the screen for a while. It works if I reattach it after windows has booted, but something is wrong.

Any ideas on how to fix it? I'm pretty sure it is a hardware problem and I have no issue of buying a new hdd. I got this a year ago and it is only 500gb.
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
I see no edit button (why?) so I'll post some things I tried.

The disk is recognized as a usb disk in the bios, and boot order is fine and not booting from the external. Nothing was changed, configuration wise, between today and yesterday to make it not work.
What happens if you plug the USB in after the system bbots? With the power failure, a spike when power returns is always a possibility and could have damaged the drive. What is the make and model of the external, and do you have any idea what drive is actually inside the enclosure? Can you feel/hear the drive spin up and does it make any other sounds? Clicking, grinding etc.
When I plug the drive in after windows boots, everything is perfectly fine.
This is the drive I have

And I can feel the disk spin up when the system is in bios/frozen before windows boots
With the drive unplugged, in device manager, remove all the USB devices, then reboot and let Windows reload the drivers. Sounds more like a driver issue, also make sure the boot order doesn't have USB devices before the hard drive.
How do I remove all usb devices in device manager? I know that in device manager, the external drive doesn't show up under usb devices, but under storage volumes.
In Device Manager click on View at the top. In the dropdown
show hidden devices
then uninstall all listed usb items
turn the computer off
unplug usb plugs
reboot twice
replug in the usb plugs
Under USB devices in device manager, select each item and uninstall, reboot and Windows will reload the drivers.
Should I do it to all devices, or just the ones I know are the external disk? It would be troublesome to reinstall the other things..
Unplug everything, you want to reload the drivers for the USB ports themselves, the other devices can then be plugged in and a reboot they should come up, you want to unload the ports and the USB hubs listed. The drivers for the individual devices are unlikely to be the culprit, more likely teh ports themselves. The alternative is to just plug the drive in when you need it after windows boots. External drives running as fill time online storage seem to have shorter life expectancy due to heat issues. If your not using it, no use to keep it spinning and push it's limits.
Alright, I'll try what you suggested above now.

One thing though, my mouse is a usb mouse. Would that not disable my mouse?

Speak of the devil, my mouse id now disabled :X
Thank goodness I have mousekeys enabled though..
When I taught in a tech school, I made sure the students could navigate with just a KB for just such an occasion. After a couple of KB basics, they would opccasionally walk in to a mouseless classroom... :) Even without mouse keys, you can get around with tab, arrows and shortcut keys always good practice LOL...
Yes, I know how to operate without a mouse. But it didn't dawn to me that I could do that until after I started using mouse keys..

I uninstalled all usb drivers, powered off, unplugged usb devices, powered on, off, on, plugged back, and after a little while all but two things came back; one mf other usb devices (will need to reinstall drivers) and my external disk.

The disk isn't recognized in disk management, so I will restart once more.

Restarted and everything is fine. The external disk spins up with windows, but windows doesn't recognize it at all. When I un- and replug it in I don't hear the little chime. I've had this problem once more but it was over a year ago and I can't for the love of me remember what I did to fix it.
Little bump in case you havn't seen the update..

Tried unplugging it, rebooting, plugging it in, and I tried unplugging it, shutting down, plugging it in, booting up.. Every possible order and I can't get it.
It isn't shown in disk management.
I unplugged the external from the AC and usb hoping to clear its buffer, and it did work. Windows detected it.
However on reboot... I am on square 1 again. I'll try going over the steps again
Well I tried every possible thing mentioned in this thread and I could not recreate what I had (windows would boot with hdd, but would not recognize hdd)
This is what I am going to do this time step by step
Everything is working (aside from booting with hdd attached)
1. uninstall all usb devices
2. turn off computer
3. disconnect all usb devices
4. turn on computer
5. turn off computer (around here, windows would hang with no disk activity if I tried to start firefox, task manager wouldn't open. Only way I could shut down is by switching the power off)
6. turn on computer
7. turn off computer
8. attach usb devices
9. turn on computer
If it works I'll be happy. If it doesn't I won't. I seriously can't figure out what is wrong here!!
See less See more
This is a strange one - I have one machine that will not boot with any USB storage device connected, still haven't figured that out, we just connect what we need for that session after boot. Let me play a bit tomroow with that and see what I can figure out.
Alright, what I've done so far has resulted in absolute failure. NOTHING works when I reach step 5 (as above). When I go to start, shutdown, the cursor hands at the hourglass. When I press the power button (primary way to shut down), the computer goes into standby?!
When I get to step 8-9, windows STILL won't boot with the external connected...
But it works 100% when connected after boot?
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Not open for further replies.