USB Hard-Drives (External)

I have a curious problem that I was hoping someone here might be able to assist me in resolving. I am running Suse 11.1 and all is well, apart from the fact that:

(1) Whenever I plug in an external hard-drive, or USB memory stick, it does not show up on the desktop as it had formerly
(2) My Wastebasket appears as an icon on the desktop, but I cannot access it

I have no idea what I have done to cause this, for it was working perfectly well beforehand. Any suggestions would be most gratefully received !

Thanks in advance …