Maxtor External Hard Drive Troubleshooting

By Michael J. Scott

Maxtor OneTouch III

For anyone with a significant amount of data on a computer, external hard drives are essential for backup and data storage. Maxtor, now owned by Seagate, has consistently made reliable and affordable external drives for both consumers and businesses. Even the best drive can fail, however, and learning some basic troubleshooting techniques can help get your drive up and running again in no time.

Check the Power

Make sure the Maxtor drive has power. Ensure that the drive is plugged securely into a working outlet and the AC adapter is plugged into the drive. Most Maxtor drives have a light on the front of the enclosure indicating the drive has power. Make sure it is solidly illuminated. If the light is blinking, it indicates a problem with the power supply.

Check the Cables

Make sure the USB 2.0 cable is properly connected to both the computer and the drive. If it is, try replacing the cable to see if that helps. Also, modern Maxtor external drives are USB 2.0 compliant. Check that you have plugged the drive into a USB 2.0 input, or you will experience much slower read times for the drive. Experiment with different USB slots, and while troubleshooting make sure there are no other USB devices connected to the computer.

Make Sure the Computer Can See the Drive

If you PC or Mac is having difficulty seeing the drive, unplug the drive from the computer and unplug the power cord. Leave it off for 60 seconds. Next, reboot your computer. When your computer has fully booted, plug the power cord back into the drive. When the drive has powered on, plug it back into the computer. The drive should be recognized within 30 seconds.

Check for Hardware Errors

If the drive has power and is connected, but is still not working properly, check for hardware errors. Listen to the drive and makes sure you do not hear any clicking or rattling. That can indicate a failing drive. Plug the drive in and open "Disk Management" in Windows or "Disk Utility" on a Mac. Make sure the drive is seen as healthy in these programs. If a partition or section of the disk is corrupted, Disk Management or Disk Utility will inform you of that and attempt to fix the problem.

Reformat the Drive

As a last resort, try reformatting the drive. Go into "Disk Management" or "Disk Utility", select the drive, and choose format. This will erase any data on the drive, but it may get the drive up and running again.

Contact Maxtor

If all else fails, contact Maxtor and Seagate customer support at (800) 732-4283, or at Make sure you have the model number of your drive handy when you call.