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Maxtor external hard drive

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I recently purchased a Maxtor Personal Storage 3100 80G external hard drive. I plugged it into the USB port and things were fine. I had saved a couple of backups to the drive.
Now when I reboot my computer doesn't recognise the drive.
If I unplug it and plug it in again the computer will see it.

Any ideas what is going on?
I feel really lost.

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I had a problem with a system not assigning a drive letter to my flash drive a couple of weeks ago. Have you tried manually assigning a drive letter to your external drive?
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