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by JB Burke

Q. Sometimes, when my computer wakes up from "Sleep" state, my external USB hard drive isn't recognized. I need to unplug and re-plug the drives power cord before it's again seen within Windows 7. Is there a way to correct that?

A. There are some Windows settings that can be the cause of that. Both have to do with the system turning off power to the USB Hub to which your drive is attached when the system goes in sleep state. Though the drive is externally powered, the USB connection to the computer gets its power from the system board. And Windows is frequently set to turn that power off when the system enters sleep state, in order to conserve electricity.

First, click Start and then type "Power Options" in the Search box and then click on Power Options in the results. "Click Change plan settings" for the selected Power plan and then click "Change advanced power settings". Expand "USB settings" and then "USB selective suspend setting" and change the setting to "Disabled. Click OK on the Power Settings window and click "Save changes" on the Edit Plan Settings window.

Secondly, the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" setting in Device Manager may be Enabled. To check for this, click Start and type in "Device manager" in the search box, and click on "Device Manager" from the resulting list. Click on the arrow next to "Universal serial bus controllers". On the resulting list, anywhere you see "USB Root Hub", right click on it and click on Properties. Click on the "Power Management" tab. Uncheck the option to "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" and click OK. Do this for any USB Root Hub you see. In most cases, these actions will solve your lost USB drive when coming out of Sleep Mode. If this all seems too complicated, have a techy friend help you.

Note that if this is a laptop, you will have to change these settings in both "On battery" and "Plugged in" power settings. And changing these settings will result in some additional reduction in battery life if the system isn't plugged in.

Published: Courier 1/10/14 - Page 11A