Cypress at2lp rc42
rev. 2.4.1 03/16/09
linux @

The "cypress at2lp rc42" problem:

The more recent notes on this problem are at my wiki page.  You will also find some links to pages in other languages at my wiki page.

Several manufacturers make an external hard drive, CD Rom drive,  or other peripheral that comes in an external "box" utilizing a chip produced by "Cypress."

The Cypress chip works in conjunction with a programmable EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory) chip provided by the OEM manufacturer.*  This chip contains the information your computer needs to identify and talk to the external drive. If you experience a power surge, power failure, or just turn your external device off at the wrong moment, the EEPROM chip will lose its programming.  Then, the external device won't work anymore.

(*This is according to a Cypress engineer who contacted me 3/16/09 requesting a correction to this page.  I originally referred to the problem chip as the Cypress chip, but apparently the relevant information is stored in a second chip added along side the Cypress chip.)

Instead, you will see this prompt:  "finding new hardware cypress at2lp rc42" prompt.  This is how the unprogrammed external box identifies itself to your computer.  

[continued after the warnings ...]

Warning!  At least two four people have reported to me that after a "successful" run of the program "primer.exe" their computer no longer recognized their external drive box at all (not even as "cypress at2lp rc42)!  I imagine there may be some way to "reset" the PROM and try again, but not having access to these drives, I do not know the answer!

Warning -- Seagate External Drives -- It appears that  the above warning applies to at least to Seagate drives.  Email forwards of Seagate tech support responses indicate they view the"Cypress" problem as a drive failure.  If under warranty, they will offer to exchange the drive and also will offer data recovery services for a fee. (Note, it seems likely the drive will work if you remove it from the external box and put it in a computer or external box that is working.)!  For the above reason, I personally would avoid Seagate external drives.  As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with Seagate drives, themselves -- and although I don't remember for sure, I think the drive I have in my own external box is actually a Seagate.

Warning -- Western Digital.  I have had bad personal experience with Western Digital drives, so I won't purchase them.  Perhaps their quality control has improved since my bad experiences, I don't know, but I had two drives that failed much more quickly than any other drives I have purchased.

[... continued from top.]

Unfortunately, your computer will not find an appropriate driver.  So, your external device no longer functions.

Even worse, as far as I have been able to determine, the equipment manufacturers don't provide a "help" solution for this problem.  Because Cypress does not program the EEPROM or build the external drive you purchase, their website refers everyone back to the equipment manufacturer.

The solution:

The low-tech solution is to remove your device from the external box and install it either inside a desktop computer or in a new external box.  External USB boxes for hard drives, etc., can be purchased online from various places for about US$25.00.
  •  example:  Andrew, from UK purchased a Freecom Classic SL USB 160 GB external drive. After loading his data on it, it failed the next day.  He later bought a Navigator  external USB  drive case, put the 160 GB external drive in it, and it worked.  The Navigator unit cost him UK£25.00.  He's tried other drives in the Freecom external box, but they don't work in the box either.  He says the Freecom relied on software that came with the unit, and he thinks the problem was in the software.  He says the Navigator didn't require any supplemental software, it was immediately recognized by his laptop computer.
There is also a software solution that works for some of us.  Personally, I would not want to buy a new external box everytime the EEPROM lost its programming, so I am fortunate the software works for me.


PS to manufacturer and reseller tech support: I will be happy to link or host additional software and instructions if you care to provide them !!! We are getting inquiries at this website from a large number of frustrated external drive users -- and I have received reports that some of you are actually sending your customers to this page ...

(I have also had a few inquiries looking for at2LP RC58.  Check this article at MvixUSA which has a "dbflash" download for RC58. I do not know if this is the same program I refer to in this article or a different version because I have nothing to test it on.) I have placed a copy of this version here, in case it disappears from MvixUSA.

I have made the software available here, along with an explanation of how to bring a Cypress at2lp rc42 device back to life. I did not write the software and you are presently reading absolutely everything I know about this Cypress problem. I found the software in a German language tech forum. I copied the software here, as I had difficulty joining the tech forum and downloading the software. I also provided some instructions in English.

The software is downloaded about 1000 times per month.  The software worked for my external drive box.  I have no idea whether it will work for yours.

At first, most of the emails I received said, "thanks, it worked."  Now most of my emails are saying, "help, it didn't work."  But, people who download the software usually do not write me at all, so I can't say how many find success.

Perhaps Cypress has changed the chip and the software, so it may be that newer cypress-based external boxes can't be re-programmed by this software.

The Software*:

*note: below I also list some other solutions offered by readers that may help if you do not understand my explanation that follows!

Warning!! added 12/15/2006: There are about 1,000 downloads of this software each month and now after some months I have received the first disappointing email, from someone who says that after the program stated "successful", his computer no longer even recognized the external box at all.  Similarly, not recognized on a second computer at all.  You can read my reply and the original email here, so you can decide whether you wish to try this software or not!  And also see this note...  

(For the following, it is probable that you need to be in an adminstrator account.)

Step 1 -- download either DBFlash.exe or dbflash.rar.  These are both the same program, one is self-extracting and the other is a RAR compressed file containing DBFlash.exe.   Now that you have these files, run your virus scanner on them, just in case!
You can also download dbflash.pdf if you want some reference material that is written in German.  You only need this one if you want to read the pictures like I did or you want to translate it or you actually would rather be reading German right now anyway.
Step 2 -- unrar dbflash.rar somewhere you will be able to find it later.  I put mine in c:\temp\dbflash and therefore I later found myself looking for stuff in c:\temp\dbflash\PH-1003 EE SW.  If you select the default choice, you will probably end up with it in c:\PH-1003 EE SW, but I personally think it is a bad choice to put unnecessary directories in the root and I like to remind myself that it is, after all, "temporary" and can be trashed later.

8/17/06 update -- Obviously, I have no idea what I actually did.  As the result of a reader indicating she had problems downloading "dbflash.rar" -- it downloaded as an html file -- I went back over the actual steps.  Umm, well, actually dbflash.rar unpacks to "DBFlash.exe", which is itself a zip file, which offers to unzip at "c:\" and this will result in "c:\PH-1003 EE SW."  So, if you add "temp\dbflash\" to the offered "c:\", you will get the "c:\temp\dbflash\PH-1003 EE SW" directory I used.

I can't explain the "html" problem.  FYI, I use Mozilla Firefox -- and you should too -- so a right click and a "save link as" should do the trick for you.  MSIE will probably ask if you want to open or save the EXE file and I don't know what happens with the RAR file.  (In Firefox, if you merely click on the rar file, you will probably get a screen full of gibberish, that is what happens to me.)

Step 3 --
uninstall "cypress at2lp rc42"

You are probably wondering why you have to uninstall hardware that didn't install and isn't working, which is the whole reason you are reading this page.

Windows xp has probably tried to "install new hardware" -- which is why you know you are looking for the holy grail of "cypress at2lp rc42 answers" in the first place.  You have probably told it to go search for the driver & all that -- and in the end, windows xp has told you that it could not find an appropriate driver so the install has failed.

This does not mean, however, that "cypress at2lp rc42" has gone "uninstalled."  No, windows xp has installed "it" even though there is no it there.  So, as a first step, you have to get rid of "it". Or, I suppose you could "install new driver," but let's just get rid of "it".

Right click on "my computer".  Find properties and then go to device manager.  In all likelihood, the Cypress hardware has a big yellow question mark next to it to indicate it is not working.  Right click on it and tell it to uninstall.  Then follow the prompts to get rid of the thing.  (If you can't find it, it is probably under USB devices, or if you can't find it, then maybe it did not install and you can ignore this step.)

If I am confusing you, you can perhaps be less, or maybe more, confused by looking at the German pdf file.  It has pictures of the relevant screenshots, which this page does not, so that may be useful to you.

Step 4 -- install new hardware.

(8-20-07 Special note -- some users will find that the install stops at this step because you will be informed, "driver does not contain information for your device.  Readers have sent me two potential solutions to this problem, which are posted with links from their specific hardware in the wiki.  Check these out, the are under "Eminent" and "Targa".  The Eminent solution is the more drastic one, so I recommend the "Targa" solution first.)

There are various ways you can trigger "install new hardware" which I will not go into here, because you of course already know them.  But, as we both know, one way is to restart the computer with the external drive turned on and so windows xp will try to install it during the boot process.

Now, when the "install new hardware" prompts start showing up, you don't want windows xp to search the internet, and you don't want to have it search for a driver, you want to manually tell it where to find the driver.  And when the option arrives, you "have disk".  Then, browse to the location where you extracted that rar file, which is something like  c:\temp\dbflash\PH-1003 EE SW or c:\PH-1003 EE SW

You will only find one "hardware" choice, so select it and install away.

(rev. 2/7/07 -- I think it might be best to shutdown & restart computer after installing the driver and before taking the following steps.  I did not do it that way,  but it appears some people experience difficulty with the drive not being "found" by primer.exe or the computer.  

Another option may be to simply unplug and replug the usb cable as "jim" notes he did (below), but generally speaking, unplugging an active USB device without first stopping it is not a good idea.)

Now [when you have restarted the computer] you can open an explorer window and browse to the same folder, eg. c:\temp\dbflash\PH-1003 EE SW and run "primer.exe".  This may be a problem if you use "windows xp for dummies," which of course is the way XP comes.  You will probably need to be in an administrator account, btw.  If you don't know what I am talking about and cannot find a file to execute called "primer.exe", then I recommend you speak to your cousin or whomever it is that helps you out when your computer has issues.

If you are like me and just click on exe files you sort of suspect are there to solve the problem, then (a) you are a dangerous risk-taker and  I have no sympathy for you and (b) primer.exe is already running and by the time you <tab><alt> to see if anything has happened, it will be saying "SUCCESSFUL" and you will have this sense that it is almost time to think life is worth living again.  But the main thing is that primer.exe tells you to "plug in the device" and is "waiting" (but will wait until hell freezes over unless you have actually installed the cypress at2lp rc42 driver).

For those of you who actually read the help notes (such as these) before clicking aimlessly on exe files, then primer.exe should instruct you to plug in the device (but it's already plugged in), then very quickly notice it is there, tell you it is updating the software (I forget what the actual prompt is) and then say "SUCCESSFUL.")

Step 5 -- ???

I do not actually know what Step 6 is, since in my euphoria at the words "successful" I forgot precisely what I had to do, if anything.  Since my life is unnecessarily complicated, I did not actually do all of this on the computer to which my external drive is supposed to be attached.  I did it on a different one, and so I then reconnected my external drive to the correct computer and maybe I rebooted it or maybe I didn't.

In any event it worked fine and probably so will yours if you haven't taken any of those dumb suggestions like "reformat the drive" or "send it back to the manufacturer."

Various Notes:

P.S.  Late Breaking News on Step 5!  (From  Reader/Fellow Sufferer Robert Kommeren):

"Step 6  [now 5]

After the flashing of the new firmware nothing really happens. Don't cry, hell didn't freeze over ;)
Shutdown your computer (wait a couple of sec's (30 or so))
Shutdown the external drive (Same goes here, wait a little)

Than start the computer, and wait with the drive ((let it cool ;) , so hell did freeze over??!).
When your computer started up in to windows start the external drive.
And there you have it..... a new external drive is found and guess what ;)

Is this the ultimate way to do this? NO, but this is how i did it and it worked.
Since this is the only time i had to do this, i havent had the chance to test more, but it DID work! 
So mister Daltrey, THANK YOU!

In my case i had data from four customers in truecrypted vaults (data recovery and backups for reinstalls). So he made my day, week, month, etc ;)

Well thats it. Same as a bios flash i think."

Daltrey replies -- and thank you to Robert and all those who have written saying this information has helped.  This is my most visited web page -- I guess we are talking 1,000s of Cypress EPROM failures per month -- & I am glad to be able to provide some small service back to the internet community which has helped me so often in the past.

Late breaking news, 8/23/06 -- Jan writes me from Holland that he reads German and my link to winhelpline is "incorrect." (I don't know what to say ... I got the files you will find on this website from message #62 above, and it has worked for me and several readers who have sent a note of thanks ...)

He gives me the following link instead.
message number 148.

This does have "" which may or may not be the same file(s) I offer here.

Jan says that a lot of people who use the link to message #62 are unsuccessful.  (I suppose they may be having the same problem I originally had in downloading the files, which is why I ultimately provided them here.)

It wasn't clear to me whether Jan was successful with "" from message number 148 or not.    His drive is a WD 25 JB Caviar SE, maybe "" has a driver for a different set of Cypress chips.

Further note:  not every Cypress EPROM problem can be corrected with the software from this site.  One reader wrote to tell me that the "fix" you find here did not work for her Seagate external drive, but that she was successful in removing her hard drive from the external case and installing it in her computer.  (Seagate couldn't help, but would have been happy to replace the drive -- and then retrieve the data from the old drive for the mere cost of $700!)

Maybe Jan's drive uses a different Cypress chip and "" is not the same software as what I've posted here.  So, perhaps you have a second option if the "fix" I provide won't work.  (BTW, if someone determines that "" is helpful for a different set of Cypress chips, let me know and I can put that zip file here as well.  -- Looking at the file, it is a "generic" Cypress USB driver, referencing " CY4651B_C.  Oh, rats, now I have to go look and see what the driver # is in the file I have posted, to see if it is different... Well, a different day for that!)

Even later-breaking news 8/23/06 -- Jan writes back with more info for you, having SUCCESSFULLY recovered his drive.  His drive required a manual "reset" by  jumper.  Prior to the manual reset, the Windows XP device manager was reporting "Unknown USB device".  Jan learned from the German article to "bridge pins 1 and 3" on the 40 pin connector in order to cause a reset.    If I understand his procedure correctly, disconnect the drive.  You then put a jumper on pins 1 and 3, plug in the USB cable to the computer (or plug directly) and the computer will now recognize a new "Cypress AT  2lp".  You then have to unplug the drive and REMOVE the jumper from pins 1 - 3.  Now you reconnect the drive to the computer and follow the procedures found on this page.  (I'm guessing that you probably have to plug the drive in with the 1-3 jumper connected at least temporarily, to get a power supply for the "reset".  But who knows?  Maybe just shorting pins 1 and 3 momentarily will trigger the reset, even without plugging the drive into the computer.  However, I sure don't recommend playing with the pins while the drive is plugged in to the computer or any power source!)

Need I actually say this?  Like each of us that has been "successful", Jan was ecstatic to discover his "K-Drive" had returned to life ...  If you've been there, you know the feeling.  If you are here reading this page in the "hope" you have found a solution, then you for sure know what it feels like when you think all your data has fallen into the abyss.  We hope you will get lucky and join us on the other side of  it.

While we are on the subject of Western Digital Caviar drives, I have had two of them and both were very early failures when compared to all the other drives I have had that seem to ... well, not fail.  One I bought as a "bare drive" and installed in an older desktop.  It failed rather quickly -- and I had to go back to using the original, much older, much smaller drive that came with the computer.

The second one came in an external box as a packaged external drive unit from Buslink.  I always had problems with the unit, since the heads would sound like they were "parking" constantly.  Neither the firewire nor USB2 links would reliably connect.   I finally took the box apart and tried to install the drive as an internal drive in desktop -- at that point I began to get progressively worse sector failures -- which was the problem I had when the other Western Digital drive failed.

When I discussed this with a client who builds/installs computers  for his customers, he said he avoided the Western Digital drives because of failure problems..

Your mileage may vary, but all I will tell you is that I will not be purchasing any more Western Digital products.

Many people probably purchased the box and device inside as a "package", but I bought my box and the hard drive inside separately.  (I previously had a completely unmitigated DISASTER with a similar BUSLINK setup that came with a Western Digital hard drive.  Both the drive AND the box were worthless, so I decided the next time out I would assemble my own.  Which, BTW, has worked extremely well and very quietly except for the teeny, tiny, life-altering, disasterous, disaster we are discussing here, consisting of complete failure of the external box.)

Cypress apparently does not sell end-user devices, so they do not put "support links" on their website.  You are supposed to get your support from the vendor, who probably does not actually know how to solve the problem or is not sufficiently interested in your inconsequential needs to provide support, or whatever.  (In my case, I can't remember who the vendor is and the external device box doesn't actually say.)

Cypress can be located at They apparently only sell the chips -- and they provide a bunch of software to the manufacturers who then make devices based on the cypress chips.  I didn't find anything useable by me here, but if you are a real computer engineering techie, you might find something useful.

Another hint concerning external boxes that is somewhat unrelated to this article -- but I pass it along.  Some external hard drive users have reported that while their computers were recognizing the external USB device, they were not recognizing the actual hard drive inside the box.  They removed the box-to-drive connector and reinstalled it.  Apparently in those instances there was some corrosion on the pins, preventing the drive from talking to the USB box.           

More solutions:

From Julie, in UK:   

Thank you for your page on 'Cypress at2lp rc42'... it helped me out so much :o)
I now have my 'Freecom Classic SL Hard Drive' working again :o)
I read and read your page but sadly it still didn't work, then I found a post on this forum ---> 
where, along with links to your page, it had these instructions...
*yeah just go and download that file dbflash.exe
*extract it somewhere on your local disk.
*go to device manager and find that darn cypress AT2LP
*reinstall driver (you don't want to have it search for a driver, you want to manually tell it where to find the driver. And when the option arrives, you "have disk". Then, browse to the location where you extracted that rar file, which is something like c:\temp\dbflash\PH-1003 EE SW or c:\PH-1003 EE SW)
*now when you have installed that disconnect your HD from you computer.
*run primer.exe from c:\PH-1003 EE SW) or wherever it is.
*connect your HD to the computer now.
*in couple of seconds you have to see green message "successful"
*disconnect your HD from power source and USB keep it for a few second and connect everything back again!
and this from another reader:

Thank you so much for your Cypress Hell documentary! Your sincere efforts to just want to help are refreshing and have revitalized my faith in mankind that spyware programmers had previously taken away.

I just want to add that I messed up part of the process (I think instead of selecting 'all drivers' from the top of the list, I picked something (-obviously not knowing what I was doing and not reading very well to boot) but I ended up with a similar situation to the "Warning!!" added 12/15/06 where it no longer recognized the external box at all!
Feeling despondent, stupid and highly unlucky I did the only thing I know how to do and that was a system restore to the point before I tried to install the driver. Viola! I was back in Cypress hell which at that point actually felt pretty good!  I was then able to try it again, this time correctly choosing 'all drivers' from the top of the list and successfully restoring my hard drive.

Thank you so much!  


and this one:

hi Daltry,
thank you so much for this article at
i have a classic sl hard drive from freecom which suddenly dissapeared with over 200 gigs of very important files, after trying various system restore points and re-installing windows xp i also asked for help at different forums and one of those were the freecom support site itself  at
where after sending e-mails and trying to phone i was'nt getting any response until  a guy by the name of 'The Techie from Sneckie' started to respond to my cry for help and was very helpful indeed,
he suggested changing the jumpers from master to slave which i tried but that did'nt work but then he suggested plan B and directed me to your site,
my experience differs slightly to yours so i thought you would like to hear it and maybe that can help others,
so i followed your instructions given on the site up to the point where you say 'click have disk and browse to the driver and install it'
this would not work, i was told that the driver was not for my hardware,
i tried a different approach telling it that i would pick my own device from a list, when the list came up i browsed down to where i found the word 'cypress' and clicked on it and then browsed to the folder with the driver and told it to install,
at this point windows warned me that if i installed this device my computer may stop working which is a bit frightening but i threw caution to the wind and installed it anyway,
then clicked on the 'primer.exe' as instructed but, this is where the thing supposed to say 'successful' and 'plug in the device but it will wait until hell freezes over' 
well nothing happened with mine, the box was there with 'plug in your device' and 'successful'  written but not lit up and my hard drive was nowhere to be found,
in a temper i yanked the usb cable out of the computer while still on and plugged it back in again and suddenly the 'successful' tab lit up!
But... still no hard drive showed anywhere, not even in device manager and i feared the worst,
i then turned the computer off and unplugged the h/d, plugged it back in and booted up and WHA-HEY the classic sl came out of its coma with my 200 gigs all intact.
i would also like to offer one more piece of advice i picked up along the way that One of the things that happens with having lots of external devices is XP gets confused by all the drive letters changing with removeables. Its a good idea to assign permanent letters to your various external items (like Q, Z, etc.) to eliminate that part of the problem. Hope this helps some people out there and once again many many thanks for your article,
all the best,

Another solution, this one from Niels in the Netherlands:
Step 4 - Install new hardware.
This one gave me a serious headache because Windows XP PRO simply refused to auto-install the driver when I selected c:\PH-1003 EE SW\Driver as the folder to look in. Also it didn't give me any options to manually select the driver and install it.
So after a moment of panic I came up with the following solution:
1. Go to control panel and select "Add Hardware". Note: this part can also be with the auto-install popup.
2. Now instead of selecting a folder in the "Have Disk" part, select the "Choose device from list" (or something like that) option.
3. Once you're there, select "Universal Serial Bus Controller" and THAN use the "Have Disk" option.
4. Go to c:\PH-1003 EE SW\Driver (or where ever you put it) and select "CyUSB" and click OK.
5. NOW it will show you the correct driver (which can be manually selected for install). Go ahead and install it (you'll get some warnings from Windows, but those can be ignored).
So that would be the way to manually install it when the auto-install function refuses to do it. Hope it saves someone some time, because it annoyed the hell out of me (knowing that there is a manual install function, but not being able to find it).

Click for a discussion of  further observations from a Freecom user -- This one from the UK.  (linked because I am going to migrate this FAQ to a wiki, Executive Technical Manual ...)  Follow this link also if you are struggling with an Eminent enclosure -- interesting solution, user had to modify the driver description in the download so that it agreed with the descriptor in his USB enclosure!

You will find a list of drives for which readers have reported success, along with links to some of their suggestions!!  So don't forget to check out this link!!!

Note from user in UK:

A few months ago I bought a FREECOM Classic SL USB 160GB complete external drive unit including dedicated driver software. I confidently loaded my precious data only to have the drive die on me the very next day. Nothing could read or recognise it, even reinstalling the software. I tried the solutions on your web page but none of them could solve the problem. I then stored away the dead drive and regretted that I'd wasted £80! I doubted the warranty conditions and in any case didn't want an engineer nosing around in my private documents.
A week ago I obtained a new NAVIGATOR external USB drive case, and also bought a new 250GB MAXTOR raw drive. The installation couldn't be easier, just pop in the drive and switch on. No software needed. This drive unit worked like a dream, especially with it's convenient front array of reassuring lights and switches. It's got a cooler fan too.
On second thoughts I considered the 250 drive to be too big for my laptop, so out of curiosity I swapped the drive for my old dead 160 drive from the FREECOM case. WHOOPEEEE! The drive worked perfectly and up came all my lost data. I've had it over a week now and have found it totally reliable...and I haven't treated it with kid gloves, either. But one still has to obey the rule of not disconnecting the drive while it is in use.
I don't think the original problem was the actual drive. My 'faulty' drive was a HITACHI DESKSTAR. I think the real problem was the FREECOM bundled software that screwed up the drive unit electronics, which seem to be dependant on the bundled software. I've experimented and found that the FREECOM unit still won't read ANY drive I put in it, whereas the NAVIGATOR unit will, and it doesn't need software. Just appears on screen as an ordinary drive, not an external one.
Overall I'm delighted that I've got my data back. The lesson I've learned is NOT to buy any more external drives that rely on software. I'm so impressed with the NAVIGATOR case unit that I'm buying another one - if not several, and they each cost around £24 (without the actual drive).

7/18/07 -- Here is a longer email I wrote to someone who had some questions concerning how to remove the drive and place it in a new external box.  Although his subsequent email was not clear, I think he was successful in removing his seagate drive from the original external box and putting it in a new one. But, as you can see from my "explanation," I am a little concerned that if you actually need these instructions then perhaps you should not try this at home.

>First of all, don't panic, because in all likelihood your data is safe.
>I'm hesitant to try and guide you with solving the problem, because I am guessing you don't have much familiarity with computer insides. I strongly suggest that you enlist the assistance of someone with a bit more experience, who actually knows how to assemble and de-assemble computer components.
>Having said that, I will give a bit more explanation -- but I don't promise you can't mess things up following this advice. You could easily damage the computer and/or the hard drive and be way worse off than you are right now. I can't be responsible for mistakes that happen if you try to service your own equipment. I have no idea where you are located, but I suggest you take the whole thing to a tech dept. such as at Best Buy or some local computer repair person, who can assist you.
>Nevertheless, let me explain some things about computer components. I apologize if I proceed to tell you something you already know.
>A "computer hard drive" is a fairly self-sufficient piece of hardware. The hard drive responds to instructions from the computer and records data. The data stays put until it is erased.
>However, we need an "interface" between the computer and the hard drive. Also, we need a "filesystem" to understand the pattern in which the bytes have been placed on the hard drive.
>The cypress chip, the cabling inside the box and the USB connector are the "interface" to your computer. This hardware enables the computer and the hard drive to talk to each other in a way they each understand, via the USB port.
>The "filesystem" is already on your drive -- it's the method by which the bytes are stored. It is probably NTFS, which is the current windows filesystem and any windows XP or similar computer will be able to read it. So, we don't have to worry about the file system.
>What has happened is that the "interface" is not translating the data between the drive and the computer correctly. We might visualize this as, the computer speaks English, the drive speaks French, the cypress chip is the interpreter.
>Except -- the cypress chip first forgot how to translate from English to French and now it has gone on vacation altogether.
>I have not seen the Seagate external units. But, here is a description that applies to most external setups, and almost certainly to any unit using a cypress chip. (But -- I'm not certain without actually examining the unit.)
>Inside the box is hard drive, exactly the same kind that a manufacturer might put inside your desktop computer. (It's probably  larger than the type that goes in a laptop computer, depending upon the size of your unit. But, there are external units that are laptop size as well.)
>For instance, I have a Seagate drive in my external box. However, I  purchased the box itself *empty* and purchased the drive all by itself, and assembled the two into a single package.
>The box is usually held together with a couple of screws. If we remove the correct screws, then the box slides apart in some manner and we see the hard drive, connected at one end to the electronics in the box.
>I don't recommend you do this if you are not familiar with taking computer stuff apart. Also, WARNING, if you mess up a connector OR IF you get yourself full of static electricity and accidentally zap the drive, your data may be completely and forever gone. Also -- be absolutely certain you have unplugged the unit from all cables, including from the USB/computer and from the POWER SUPPLY.
>Now, the connector is a multi-pin connector at the back end of the drive and we carefully slide it apart. Keep in mind, these pins can  be easily bent, which makes reconnecting the drive difficult. There is also likely to be a power connector, but not necessarily -- the smaller laptop drives usually don't have a separate power connector.
>But the concept is this -- and any computer tech can do it in a few minutes. We slide the drive off the connector and now we connect it  to either (a) a similar connector in a different external box or (b) a connector in the desktop computer. Also, there are usually four screws holding the drive to the mounting that is utilized inside the external box, these need to be removed as well.
>If you purchased a new external box, then you could look at the internal parts of the new box and read the instructions before ever attempting to open the old drive. This would give you some idea what you are trying to do. (But would be a waste of money if the Seagate cannot actually be opened up.)
>Now, in the new external box, the Cypress chip will be properly programmed. In other words, (in my silly example) he knows how to translate English to French and he is not on vacation. So, when you
> have assembled the hard drive in the new box (following the instructions that come with the box) your drive will magically re-appear in exactly the same condition as you last saw it.
>If you put the drive inside a desktop computer -- which usually has an extra connector for a second drive anyway -- this connector already speaks the same language as the hard drive, so no translator (no Cypress chip) is necessary. It will show up as "Drive D" when you re-boot the computer. And, amazingly, it will have all the same data it had when you last saw it.
>Computer service techs do these steps all day long. It's relatively  minor surgery. But, whenever we rip something apart, we have the risk of making a silly mistake and breaking something inside.
>Another option is that Seagate will usually replace the external drive if it is still under warranty. Then, for a hefty fee, they are more than willing to "recover the data." In this instance, not a very difficult task, because all they are going to do is put your perfectly fine Seagate drive inside a working Windows XP computer and copy your data onto CDs or something.
> I always worry that when I give this sort of information to people who write me, the next email will be accusing me of causing them to break their $2,000 computer. I am trying to answer the questions you have asked me, but I am not recommending that you try to do any of this. I am hoping that you will now more clearly understand what the problem is and that you will take all your hardware to someone who can pull the drive out of the external box and put it in your desktop computer for you, or put it in a new external box.
>There are so many things we can mess up by accident when we take apart a computer (and I've done it) that I don't recommend the inexperienced to start messing around.
>On the other hand, pulling a drive out of an external box and putting it in another one in is pretty simple. That is one reason I purchased external boxes in the first place -- I have a few old drives that I took out of computers. They are obsolete (too small) or "failing" or have various problems. I can put them into the external box, retrieve the data and throw them away.
>For example, I have an old laptop computer that had a really noisy drive in it. I wanted the computer to "be quiet." So, I purchased a new drive from This particular drive came with an external box and some special software. Step one, I put the new drive in the external box. Step two, I connected the box to the computer and ran the special hardware. This made an exact copy of the existing hard drive. Step three, I took the old drive out of the computer and swapped it with the new drive. I put the old drive into the new external box.
>Voila! Instant "quiet" old computer, and now a spare (but noisy) hard drive in an external box for extra storage.
>I don't know if any of this helps. Please do not take on a project that is over your head. That's why guys (and gals) are in business offering to fix computers.
>Barrington Daltrey

PS --
I'm glad to have assisted a few people and to have made new friends from all over the planet.  (I think from his e-mail address, Robert is in the Netherlands; I have also heard from the "winhelpline" forum owner in Germany, from users in France, Sweden, UK, Poland and from users in places I can't identify, such as Upper Michigan USA -- has anyone actually ever been there?)

Thank you for all your e-mails!  If you learn anything more, find drivers for Cypress chips that are not at2lp rc42, etc., please let me know.

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