Why won't my Vista laptop recognize the hdd in my USB 2.0 SATA dock???

i’ve recently purchased the all-in-one sata dock. and i can’t get my laptop, a toshiba satellite running vista to recognize my sata seagate barracuda (500gb). the dock comes with a number of card reader slots. when i inserted an 8gb sd card into the appropriate slot of the all-in-one dock, it was recognized immediately and i was able to transfer data with no problems, but the hard drive is still not recognized.

i have the same problem i have a WD caviar green 2.0tb hdd formatted to windows XP
it is a WD20EARS
formatted to a NTFs i think
has a jumper on windows XP single partion in position 7 and 8
the hdd works on my tv but not on my vista or my partners 7 laptop .

Hi Leigh,

Thanks for posting your question here. I’ll be happy to help. I’m just curious about a few more details regarding your setup. Can you say which Plugable product you have? Also, how are you connecting to the machines you are having troubles with?

Is it USB 3.0 or USB 2.0? What happens when you connect? What type of computers are they?

Any additional detail you can provide will help to determine next steps.


Hello, I just received my Plugable USB 3.5/2.5 SATA HDD docking station today from Amazon. I bought it because my WD external 1TB hard drive stopped responding, most likely due to a bad PCB. Anyhow, I plugged in the 1TB WD Caviar Green HDD into the docking station, but my Windows 7 Toshiba Portege laptop is not recognizing it. I’m assuming it’s because of the format that it’s in. I don’t want to reformat it since I’ll lose all my data. How can I access my files? I’m totally lost at this point. Please help, thanks.

Wow, it looks like I need to buy the Main Controller IC ($89.99), since my particular WD model has the BIOS on the Main Controller IC instead of on the PCB. Without the BIOS, the HDD won’t be recognized. I guess in this case, I didn’t need to buy the Plugable.


Hi, thanks for your question.

The Plugable SATA Dock uses the standard USB Mass Storage drivers provided by the operating system.

The most common reason why a drive appears not to be recognized is because of partitioning or formatting. In order to see the drive over USB Mass Storage, it must have been formatted at some earlier point. There are many different filesystem types, including FAT32, NTFS, and HFS Plus (Mac). Different operating systems can only recognize drives of certain types.

So the most common reason a drive is not recognized is because it may not be formatted. If this is a new drive with no data on it, then do this:

Click on the start button, right click on “computer” (which is in the right side of the pop-up window). Click on manage. Click on disk management. Right click on the new drive. Make sure that is the drive connected to your SATA dock (Look for the one matching the size of your disk - not the C: drive!). Click on format.

If, however, this is a drive that’s already been formatted and previously used, a few questions: what filesystem, and where had it been used before successfully?