My story of how I got my files on a computer that can’t see my USB drive: Recently I decided to install Windows XP Pro on an older computer only USB 1.1 ports, and a external hard drive I plugged into the USB 1.1 port does not work even though USB 2.0 should be backwards compatible with USB 1.0/1.1 according to the USB 2.0 specifications. I think it is probably a driver problem with my external drive because it caused my computer to hang when opening computer management to see if the computer sees my USB hard drive. But, when I disconnect the drive, computer management does not hang. I could of either bought a new USB 2.0 hard drive to see if it works on my older computer, replace the motherboard with USB 2.o ports, or add a PCI USB 2.0 PCI expansion card for my computer. I did not feel like spending the extra money on a older PC, so I decided to see if I can use Parted Magic to boot from a CD to copy my files from my USB 2.0 hard drive onto my newly installed Windows XP partition on my hard drive. It works, but it is very slow because my PC is using USB 1.1 which has a max speed of 12Mb/s compared to USB 2.0 which has a speed of 480MB/s. I first mounted my USB hard drive and my computer hard drive in Parted Magic and now my files are copying, and I saved myself a few dollars as well since Parted Magic is free. Parted Magic also have other useful tools like disk cloning, partition resizing & creation, memory testing capabilities, and a whole lot more.
Note: You can also try flashing your BIOS, try different USB ports, installing your latest Chip set drivers, attach your PC to a networked computer and transfer your files by using your home network, replace the USB cable, see if the power adapter is working well.
See more drastic tips for advance users for getting your files back by clicking the link below.
Drastic fixes for recovering your data from a broken external hard drive:Take your external hard drive apart with a Philips head screwdriver, and remove the hard drive inside. If it is an IDE hard drive with a 40 Pin connector for the Data cable, use a hard drive jumper and set the external hard drive to slave and install it on the second IDE connector on the IDE ribbon cable, and attach a molex 4 pin power connector. Screw the hard drive to the case with 4 tiny hard drive screws. If the drive is a SATA drive you need a SATA cable and a special SATA power cable if you don’t have a 4 pin molex power connector on the drive. If the drive work in the computer you installed it on, then you can either keep it in your computer, or take the drive out and install it on a new external USB or firewire hard drive enclosure which you can buy at most computer stores. Make sure to buy the correct type of enclosure for the type of hard drive you have. If you have a SATA hard drive then buy a USB SATA Hard drive enclosure. If you have a IDE hard drive then buy a USB IDE Hard drive enclosure. If the drive does not work on a computer when connected to the computer’s IDE or SATA connector then check to make sure if you plugged in the power plug, Set master and slave right for IDE and data cable is plug in. If everything is connected correctly, then it most likely mean you need to flash your BIOS, so your motherboard can see the drive. It also can mean your computer is not compatible with the drive, or your drive is broken and need to be recycled.
Note:Make sure you do not plug in your molex 4 pin power cable in backwards since it will destroy your drive. If the IDE data drive cable is backwards, the computer will not see your drive. It is impossible to install a SATA data and power cable on backwards because they are keyed like an “L”.