I have an ageing Dell laptop running Windows XP. As it has a fairly small (40GB) internal IDE hard-drive that is pretty full I use a couple of external drives for non-essential stuff like music, videos etc. A few days ago I switched on one the external drives and nothing happened! I usually access my external drives by going into My Computer and clicking on them there but the icon simply didn't appear. At first I thought it was a problem with the drive itself, but when I tried another drive the same thing happened. So far, I've tried 2 mains-powered external drives, 2 portable drives and several USB flash-drives and I can't access any of them.
I have since tested most of my external memory devices on a relative's laptop/notebook and they work just fine, so it seems to be a problem with the USB ports and/or Window XP missing drivers? If I go into Device Manager the connected HDDs appear okay and it states that everything is working normally. Also, I have checked XP's Disc Management program and they show up in there too, but as unformatted drives, hence why the no-show in My Computer. When I plug in a USB flash-drive it does show up in My Computer, but when I try to access it I get a message saying that the drive isn't formatted. But, as I have already mentioned, I have tested the drives on another computer and they all still work fine. Help!
Any expert assistance with this perplexing issue would be greatly appreciated!