Windows 10: External Hard drive off and on

Discus and support External Hard drive off and on in Windows 10 Drivers and Hardware to solve the problem; Hope this is in the right place. In the past few days my external hard drive makes the sound (windows notification) like when I unplug it from my... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Drivers and Hardware' started by andreah1, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. andreah1 Win User

    External Hard drive off and on

    Hope this is in the right place. In the past few days my external hard drive makes the sound (windows notification) like when I unplug it from my desktop. Then about 5 seconds later I get another sound and notification asking me how I would like to view content for G: (my external hard drive). I only have it attached to use for backups and I've checked my back up program (easeus) and my backups haven't been happening either. I used crystaldisk to check it and it's healthy. Any idea why it would be essentially shutting itself off and on with no help from me? Is it dying? Is something screwed up in windows?

    andreah1, Dec 21, 2015

  2. external hard drive turn off and turn on with no reason

    Hello Dmitry,

    Thank you for posting your query in Microsoft Community.

    Sorry for the inconvenience caused with Windows 10.

    I understand that the external hard drive disconnects and reconnects while using the drive.

    Please answer the below questions to assist you better.

    1. What is the Make and Model of the computer?

    2. What is the Make and Model of the external hard drive?

    3. Did you check if you are facing the same issue when you connect the external hard drive to different computer or USB port?

    4. Are you using SATA to USB converter?

    You may try connecting the hard disk to different USB port and check.

    You may connect the external hard drive to different computer to check if you find similar issue.

    If the USB cable is detachable, you may also try using a different USB cable and check.

    If the issue persists in different computer and with other USB ports as well, then the problem is with the USB cable or the External hard drive might be failing.

    Hope the information helps. Do reply if you need further assistance.

    Thank you.
    Deepak Kodi, Dec 21, 2015
  3. external hard drive turn off and turn on with no reason


    I am using external hard drive (hdd) for collecting movies, images and music.

    When I want to watch one of collected movies, I do it from that hdd without coping files on my internal storage.

    While watching I hear a sound from OS that Some device was disconnected and just right after that connected back. It is my external hard drive. Media player continues to stream video for a while (like for buffered part of movie) and stops, like can't find
    source file.

    I don't know while device continues to make that actions some times with no reason - just disconnect and connect back.

    What can I do to remove that effect?

    Problem has been in Windows 7 Pro edition and still happens in Windows 10.

    Drivers for device are installed properly, application for it is working and it's label is shown in tray. Don't think it matters.

    I think problem is in managment of power for usb devices. If so, Where I can find settings for fixing the problem
    Dmitry.Yurchenko, Dec 21, 2015
  4. External Hard drive off and on

    Sounds all too familiar as far as having an intermittent connection. Is this a usb or eSata type external HD you have there?

    For usb a port can show signs of wear when you keep hearing the connect and disconnect over and over as a bit of play forms in the port itself if not wear on the usb plug for the driver or other external device in use. This can even be a problem seen with usb keyboards and mice since the plugging in as well as unplugging things when going to clean a case from dust buildup will also tend to loosen things up inside the port or simply start to wear it out.

    Here I just replaced an addon 4 porrt usb hub with a brand new 7 port hub(both USB 2.0) and have another 4 port 3.0 hub waiting to see an extension cable. The old 4 port would hear or not even hear the disconnect and reconnect at times while keeping flash drives plugged in and going to boot from one to find it needed to be unplugged and replugged back in to be redetected all over again.

    As for any Windows problem you would immediately find that no usb drives or devices would be working properly if the usb drivers were missing. Or you would see the prompting that a device needed a driver where Windows then does the automatic search online if not able to use a generic driver already available. The drive of course would be the last item on the list if the controller circuit card was having a problem if not the plug or any cold solder point.

    Years back I simply ended up pulling a WD Essentials 500gb drive out of the external casing and installed it internally to run as any typical Sata II drive on an older build. The casing got too hot with the early model external HDs back then. Besides that however you might want to try something else on the same port after trying the external drive on another port to see if the problem persists. That would be a start in finding out how good that particular port is or whether the problem is at the drive end?
    Night Hawk, Dec 21, 2015
  5. andreah1 Win User
    My desktop is only a year old and I never plug and unplug the usb, it's been sitting there since I plugged it in when I got the computer. I did switch around which port I plug it into hoping that was the case and it's still doing the same thing. The other usb that I plugged where the external drive was has not had an issue. So it's got to be something with the drive itself but not sure what would cause it. I'm thinking my last alternative is to buy a new external hard drive? Hate too, strapped with Christmas purchases right now!
    andreah1, Dec 21, 2015
  6. davidhk Win User
    I have the similar situation.
    I would plug in my external hard drive, the computer made a sound to acknowledge the hdd, then another same type of sound, and I had to wait a bit before the hdd appeared in File Explorer.
    This happens only lately. I cannot pinpoint when because I did not really pay attention to that.
    davidhk, Dec 21, 2015
  7. andreah1 Win User
    Mine just started a couple days ago. I recently did the big windows 10 update, wondering if there was something that may have caused it? Although, I doubt it. So mad, it's worked absolutely fine for a couple years now. Just to update, I also went into device manager and right clicked on all the usb root hubs and unclicked "let computer power off when not in use" (not exact words, not at home so can't remember the wording".
    andreah1, Dec 21, 2015
  8. External Hard drive off and on

    Another factor that wouldn't involve any wear would simply be dust and dirt particles as well as a thought about the usb cable sitting idle for a year and stiffening up on you. The plug end would see an accumulation of dust in that amount of time and most systems will need a good can of air cleaner a little sooner then that.

    The cable getting stiff over time especially when getting slightly warmed up each time you start the machine and then shut down to see it cool off will tend to make them stiff and evenly a bit brittle. The fact that you already have tried moving between ports does suggest a problem at the drive end however. What make and model HD is that? With many rather then tossing the drive there is a method of removing the drive from the casing and seeing it either placed in another external enclosure, Preferrably one fan cooled! for long term use, or contiplate seeing the drive installed internally as another option to "save the drive! dump the enxlosure!"

    Recently for 10 I had to replace a pair of 1tb internal storage drives now a full 5yrs old which were Sata 3 for a pair of Enterprise grade Sata II 2tb drives which solved the Disk 0 and Disk 1 assignment to the storage not pair of OS drives which are both Sata II 1tb also the same aga having been put in from the start.

    The problem you have there however would seem to suggest the connections inside the usb plug or internally for a cold solder point as two possible explanations. If the cable did stiffen up as suspected it may have caused a pull on the wiring inside the cable itself at either end. With care however with most external self contained drives they tend to use something like the WD Green edition energy saver type drive over the standard or performance model for the particular brand.

    In fact since the AccomData is vented well but not actually fan cooled I now have plugged into a second desktop I'm grabbing up the last Sabrent USB 2.0/ESATA TO 3.5 Inch IDE or SATA/SATA II Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure Case with Cooling Fan (EC-UEIS7) seen in stock at Amazon which I will put to use on the main build since I can leave this one running without seeing any drive get too warm in contrast to the other versatile IDE or Sata enclosure I was keeping on hand to savage thing from much older systems. The main here also has eSata as well as the usb ports that can make things easier at times. AcomData Samba 3.5 USB 2.0 (PATA-IDE/ SATA) Hard Drive Enclosure Kit, Radiant Red (SMBXXXU2E-RD): Electronics

    One of the pair of 1tb drives replaced is now in the two drive mini tower for the remote 7 with 10 Insider build dual boot while the WD Green 1tb I had bought some years back is now back in the enclosure while the second Black Edition storage will be put into the new enclosure for a last look since that was acting up and hard to access until replaced. Once in the enclosure however it seemed to work normal but slower then it should have. where you then have to suspect a worn drive.
    Night Hawk, Dec 21, 2015
  9. andreah1 Win User
    I'm not that computer literate, I think of myself as an intermediate but most of what you have said is complete jibberish to me, sorry. Far above my thought process. I don't have the time nor the skills to take the drive out of it's enclosure and try to open up my desktop and install it there, I wouldn't want to take the chance. Because the other peripheral that is plugged into the usb drive that the external hdd was plugged into is not having problems I'm quite sure it's got to be the external itself or like you said, maybe the usb cord. I'll check it later when I'm home but when I switched the cords around last night I didn't notice anything hard or brittle and have never experienced that, ever. I don't turn my computer off and on very much, just when I need a restart for updates pretty much.
    andreah1, Dec 21, 2015
  10. Wullail Win User
    Just a guess , but perhaps your PC is set up to power save by shutting down the USB ports not in use , my sons Headphone charger and mini-USB light kept going off , unplugging and re-plugging them would turn them back on temporarily , only to have them turn off again.

    Turns out , one of the Windows updates reset his USB power settings to let the PC turn them off when it thought they were not in use , me going into the system hardware details and going against each port and checking the option to 'never turn off' each one , has fixed it permanently for him.

    Might be worth checking there.
    Wullail, Dec 21, 2015
  11. andreah1 Win User
    Already did that. *Sad I unclicked all of them but didn't help.
    andreah1, Dec 21, 2015
  12. andreah1 Win User
    I checked the usb cord, nothing wrong with it, blew out all the ports. We'll see. I've only been on here for about 5 minutes, it usually does it about 5 times before I leave the computer (approx 1 1/2).

    Edit - no such luck, it's still doing it. I guess the only thing left I can think of is to buy a new one. Dang it. Maybe there will be an after Christmas sale?
    andreah1, Dec 22, 2015
  13. External Hard drive off and on

    It's actually not that complicated as you might think but relatively basic entry level tasks I was referring to. But that's something you have to want to find out for yourself over time as a learning experience of it's own. Common sense and taking things slowly one step at at time is the means to arrive at a goal! *Wink

    WIth the system on 24/7 as the main build here is also running constantly one thing found is that every so often it does help Big Time to simply restart the system first when going to use to allow everything to reload itself especially usb as well as the rest of the device drivers to insure smoother operation of things. Here I have been right in the middle of something and suddenly no control over mouse or the keyboard won't type anything since some update that went unnoticed perhaps requires a restart or some driver either software or device type went stale and the restart sees it refreshed as it is reloaded back into ram memory again.

    If the driver Windows is using there goes stale and limp on you which could explain the disconnect and reconnect triggering the wav files to be played usually by Windows Media Player being the default player one thought would to simply unplug the drive for a few hours and in the interim try restarting or even shutting the machine down completely and then starting up fresh without the drive plugged in. Then when going to plug it back in again open up the Disk Management tool and change the drive letter! Windows will then have to refresh itself as the next drive letter is assigned a new letter by you and not simply assigned by Windows being that is the first drive letter available.
    Night Hawk, Dec 22, 2015
  14. andreah1 Win User
    Thanks Night Hawk, I'll give that a try this afternoon. I have restarted it a few times hoping that it would clean up the problem. Maybe the new drive letter will do the trick. We shall see. I'll report in later! *Smile
    andreah1, Dec 22, 2015
  15. I meant to ask if the model you have uses an ac adapter or is strictly usb powered. I found one thing can be common between various devices when being charged or simply plugged and powered by a port that if the draw by the device is too high the port gets pulled down.

    A cell phone for example actually not the port but the separate self powered by ac adapter usb hub down far enough where one side or two of the four ports on one side of the hub blew out! The draw was then solved when just happening to spot an electric alarm clock made by Sony with a usb port on it that handles a higher draw. If this was happening there the disconnect and reconnect sound offs would be from a similar plight of the drive now pulling on a USB 2.0 port for example like it was a 3.0 drive since 3.0 went up to 100ma and can handle upto six devices over 2.0's four.

    That was a passing though there anyways. I would still give the other idea however a try to see if a fresh detection along with the change of drive letter will get you further along. The external drive being installed internally move was something many opted to do on their own when the first external drives were cooking in their enclosures from the lack of ventilation or having a fan and the drives simply ran too hot!

    If your drive is real warm when touched that could be an indicator for a temp issue now being seen. But first let's see if giving Windows a jolt will jog it's memory of the drive a bit. External drives will tend to run warmer anyways lacking the cooling you typically see inside a case between case fans, better air flow, etc. there. This will need a look as well just in case it is getting too warm and disconnecting on it's own and why I had initially pointed out the other drive enclosures so you wouldn't end up simply tossing a drive that may be still as good as new but could use some better cooling.
    Night Hawk, Dec 22, 2015

External Hard drive off and on

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