Portable USB Hard Disk Does Not Work Properly On My Old Computer

by Abhishek Bhatnagar on December 23, 2009

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Trouble:

Many of us face a problem while copying data from USB External hard-drives on our old computers. This problem is faced more with old computers as compared to new computers. The same portable USB Hard works fine on some computers, may not work well on your old computer.

portable-USB-hard-disk

There can be many possible reasons for the same. In this article I will share with you some simple ways to test and fix this problem.

Fix: 

Power Related Problems With USB External Hard Disk

 

 

Most of the USB external hard drives work on power extracted from the USB port only. This power is used to spin the hard disk motor which is necessary to the read and write on the Hard disk. Standard USB ports deliver a Maximum current of 500mA at a voltage which may vary between 4.4V to 5.25V, this means a Max power output of 2.5 Watt. This is usually enough to operate an External hard disk.

 

However some old computers with old USB ports and old power supplies may get a degraded current rating which are way below 500mA. These ports can run pen drives well as they require little power compared to a USB hard disk. On such computers, there is a simple way to make these drive work using a USB- Y-Cable. Like the one which is shown in the image below:

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USB-y-cable

These cables are usually included when you buy an external hard drive or External USB hard drive casing. The correct way of using USB-Y-Cable is to plug the two USB ports on same end to the Computer and one port on the other end to the USB Hard Disk Drive. Connecting the two ports of USB-Y-Cable to the two USB ports of the computer uses the current capacity of two ports to drive the Hard Disk, this means that if the max current capacity of one ports is only 250 mA, the combined current capacity will be approximately 500mA which will ensure that the USB HDD can get sufficient power to run.

 

In case you still face problems, then see the solution below to fix the file system problems. If that too does not work consider upgrading to a new high capacity Power Supply Unit.

File System Problems With External HDD

 

 

One of the most common reasons for this kind of problem is hard disk file system errors. These errors can be fixed by running a disk scan. See our tutorial below to fix this problem:

Fix USB Device Malfunction Error

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