Last year I purchased a very portable external hard drive, the SmartDisk FireLite 40 GB USB model. Over the course of the year I used it somewhat regularly, perhaps maybe a couple dozen times. Up until this past fall I was satisified with it, so much so that I ordered another one for my wife, but an 80 GB model.

Just about that time I noticed my Firelite started giving me a few fits... It has an LED light that turns purple if it can connect at USB 2 speed such as when connected to a Windows XP workstation, or green if it can connect as USB 1.1 speed when connected to a Windows 2000 machine. If it has a connection the light is steady, and if it has trouble where Windows won't show the drive for the Firelite device then the light blinks rapidly.

Well, more times than not the light was blinking on mine just about the time I ordered the one for my wife. I thought it was just me. I tried Linux as well to mount it as /dev/sda1, for example, and even under linux it sometimes blinked and couldn't connect.

While using Windows, I'd plug into the USB port and Windows would give me an error: