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ADSL and external hard disk problems

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I have two PCs connected to broadband via ethernet cables and a router.
Everything works fine including file sharing.
I have just bought a USB external drive. It works perfectly when plugged into a USB port on one of the PCs; I can even share it.
But when I plug it into the other PC it also works fine but the broadband connection drops. Every time. And I can't use broadband again until the drive is disconnected!!
This seems very strange.
Both PCs have XP.

Can somebody help please?
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