I just accidentally leaned against the usb cable and it made the noise on my PC but then it quickly disconnected when i got off the cable. I've been trying to mimic it again by wiggling the cable & the connector attached to the Archos and it isnt happening. Could this mean there is a short in the connector on my archos?
If your 5it is operating normally, I would NOT format it.
Try other USB ports or another computer to see if you can rule out the cable. Also check to see which mode it is in for connecting the Archos to a computer. Linux/Mac should easily recognize it; Windows may require some special drivers to see ext3 formatted drives, properly. Consider getting another cable if you can't get it connected to a PC or Linux/Mac machine.