Seagate External Hard Drive issues with Dell XPS 8700 + Windows 8.1

Hi everyone,

I posted about this once before and still haven't found a solution. I've been just dealing with the issue and on & off looking for more info on the problem, and haven't found anything yet, but I do think it's been boiled down to SPECIFICALLY:

The Windows 8.1 update, on Dell XPS 8700 PCs, has caused Seagate External Hard Drives to randomly disconnect from USB3.0 ports.

It's a pretty specific thing at this point. I know that the Seagate drives I'm using (two different ones actually) aren't the issue as they work fine on other computers. I have different brand external drives that work fine on this Dell XPS 8700. I've also tried plugging the other drives into the USB 3.0 ports that the Seagate drives have issues with (and vice versa) and the other drives work fine, the Seagate drives don't. It's specifically Seagate + Windows 8.1 + Dell XPS 8700 + USB 3.0 = random disconnects that can't be fixed without rebooting.

Now, I've been asking for help for a while, so know that the obvious things have already been tried... Formatting the external drives, checking power options and hard drive management options. Checking formatting options. That's all been done, and it should all be good (plus like I said, other brand drives work fine, and these Seagate drives work fine on other computers).

Anyone have any other ideas with this new information?

I'm possibly considering installing Windows 10 on the computer, thinking a new update might fix these issues (but who knows, maybe it could bring along new ones haha).

It's really getting frustrating as the computer is my girlfriend's and she's a photographer and deals with very large collections of files and really needs the files accessible without having to reboot her computer every time she needs photos from a specific shoot on one of the external drives.

Thanks so much for any help/ideas.
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  1. Hey there, davidrosen.

    So if you're talking about installing Windows 10, I assume that you don't have any new updates available for 8.1 and has been updated as much as it can be? Have you tried updating/reinstalling your Universal Serial Bus controller's (USB) driver? If not, try it out and you can check the computer manufacturer's website for a specific driver. The thing is that there's no way to be sure if the drives disappear from your BIOS/UEFI as well and if the root of the cause lies there, as the HDDs are always OK after a reboot, so you might try resetting or updating the BIOS as well, to see if that was causing the problem somehow.
    Ultimately if none of that works, you might want to contact the HDD manufacturer's customer support and ask for further assistance.

    Hope that helps.
  2. Thanks Boogieman, I have tried resetting the BIOS, and we're all up to date on Windows Update (actually we haven't even been given the Windows 10 update option yet, it's still in the waiting period on that computer). I don't recall if I tried reinstalling the USB Controller driver, but I did try reinstalling the chipset driver and all that, which I think included that maybe? It was at least a few months ago last time I really put a lot of work into it. Unfortunately all Seagate is willing to do is replace the drive if it fails a self test with their diagnostic software. But the two drives pass the test (we actually had one that did fail over a year ago and they replaced it before... part of me wonders if it just disconnected in the middle of the test haha).

    Part of me wonders if we're gonna have to bite the bullet and format (since it's not like Dell is going to do any replacement without trying that first) to get this situation fixes, but I'm worried about her complex Lightroom and Photoshop setups and things getting changed in the process.
  3. BTW I have found threads for people with other PC Manufacturers who have had basically the same or similar issues, and they were all caused from the update to Windows 8.1. I can't say with 100% certainty that this issue started when the 8.1 update was installed, but I am almost certain that's what happened. I even saw one person say that they formatted and reinstalled with 8 and it started working fine. Again I'd really rather not have to do that and would be tempted to just try taking the Windows 10 option first... Both options could run into their own new sets of issues though haha. Ugh...
  4. Well it's a bit more common for some components to have some conflicts or issues with a brand new OS until everything is cleared out by new updates, but I wonder why this happens with Windows 8.1. If you're sure that this is where the issue lies, I'd suggest that you get in touch with Microsoft's customer support. Maybe they can find a workaround of some sort or a fix. As for setting up and configuring the software you've mentioned, I'm sorry, but I don't know if there are options to save just the settings and then import the file in case you have to reinstall the software. I know how frustrating this must be, I really hate reinstalling an OS as I have to install everything from scratch and configure all the settings for each individual program, so I hope it doesn't have to come to that.
  5. Thanks for your suggestions. Yea, I've formatted and reinstalled 100 times in my 20 years of computers haha, but when it's handling it for someone else, it's different. I can never be 100% certain that she's ready for everything that will be changed and then it's my fault... which maybe wouldn't be so bad if I was just some random tech support guy but I live with her ;-) haha

    I'm gonna take a day this week to try some more stuff and then maybe I will get in touch with Microsoft. I wonder if they'd be willing to give any advice.
  6. It really looks reasonable. Although it seems like the REGEDIT option is obsolete, as this apparently this has already been fixed by a Windows update. But you can try the rest of the offered solutions. I thought about the power options, but decided to let it go as a possible solutions, as this should have happened with all drives if this was the issue. Still you have nothing to lose (just remember that when you mess with powershell and regedit, it's best that you have everything backed up, just in case, although you do sound like someone who knows his way around IT stuff).
  7. seem like if you googl things around lot of folks with windows 8 and above had hard drive issues look to be common [external and extra drives ]

    just seemed like a 8 thing ???


    may help??
  8. Thanks for the added links. I'll definitely check them out. And yea, I'm pretty sure it's specifically an 8.1 thing.
  9. ya , awile back there was a rash of this type of thread going on here at toms as well ???

    anymore if it was not for the ease of gaming I dought windows after 7 would not be used around here anymore - I think now that's all Microsoft got going for it anymore
  10. So... For anyone wondering... this never got fixed. And then the other day Microsoft took the liberty of automatically updating the computer to Windows 10 (literally, it happened over night while we were sleeping, no user input by us). We were pretty pissed, because we hadn't fully checked to see if all our programs would be fully compatible... But hey guess what, everything is fine, and also it fixed the hard drive disconnecting issue!

    So I guess it must have been an issue with Windows 8.1? Who knows... but Knock on wood, none of the external hard drives are randomly disconnecting anymore.
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