Hard Drive Problems/Drive not detected

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Question
My Gateway NV75S23u (MSW7) laptop reports in setup that there is no hard drive.  I haven't opened the case yet to try to find the drive make/model.  In a previous answer, you advised a ThinkPad r51 owner to get a Sabrent converter.  My working computer, that will be used as host, is an Acer Aspire 5253-BZ496.

Questions:  

1.  How can I determine whether the failure is hardware or software?

2.  Will the Sabrent USB 3.0 work with the Acer, or do I need the Sabrent USB 2.0?

3.  Will this converter access the failed drive if the failure appears to be software?

4.  Is there any other equipment I need, such as a drive caddy?

Thank you for your service.

Answer
Hi Dallas!

Sorry for the delayed answer - I've been away from my email for a couple of days.

1. Chances are, if your computer tells you it can't find a hard drive BEFORE Windows loads, that it is a hardware problem, and most likely with the drive.  If you can't see the drive in the BIOS/Setup, then the drive has most likely died.

2. I don't know without looking it up if the Acer supports USB 3.0 or not, but USB 3.0 devices will work just fine on USB 2.0 ports.  Sabrent is just one of a handful of similar adapters that will do the job.

3. Yes, if it were only a software problem, the adapter would "probably" be able to access the drive and its contents.  It depends on the type and extent of the software problem.  If the drive is dead and the computer does not recognize it is there, there is a good possibility that the adapter will not be able to see it either (if the adapter can see it but the computer can't, sugguests there is a hardware issue with the computer instead of the drive).

4. No additional equipment is needed with an adapter like you are talking about.  

Feel free to follow up with any additional questions.

Good luck!

Hard Drive Problems

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I can answer questions about server hardware RAID and general storage for servers and PC's - hard drive issues, troubleshooting, advice, specs, and information. While some apparent drive/RAID array failures can be recovered, I can only provide advice/recommendations in the event of catastrophic data loss. I don't assist in actually recovering from this type of data loss on this forum.

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I worked as an analyst in Dell server support for 2 years, and have since worked with many Dell PowerEdge servers. I am currently employed as IT Manager. I am currently ranked in the top 5 All-Time in Server Hardware and Hard Drives in a very popular and large forum similar to AllExperts.

Education/Credentials
I have a BS in Computer Science and have earned the following certifications: CompTIA Security+, A+, Project+; CIW Web Design, Database Specialist; Microsoft Windows 7; Dell DCSE Server. I am also an expert in Windows 7, Servers, and Hard Drives (I don't normally do XP - not because I don't know it inside and out, but because I have "retired" personal support for XP, and I want to see it die :)).

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