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Author Topic: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters  (Read 31111 times)

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ChrisXPPro

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Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
« on: July 05, 2008, 02:16:48 PM »
I have done a fairly deep search but failed to come up with an answer so - here's hoping I am not intruding by asking a repeat question.

First - HP 4600 work station, quite new, 2Gb RAM, Intel duo E6850 @ 3 GHz.  2x 250Gb WD SATA  HDD's, partitioned, Kingston USB hub, internal  quad card reader, Ultra SCSI card, Nvidia 1700 dual mon vid.

I already use successfully up to three external HDD's for backup etc with no problem - in fact USB anything is pretty OK - (as is the case on my Lenovo XP pro backup machine) .  However, this HP machine replaces my old custom machine which went sour recently and tho most data was backed up I have a few items I want to pull off two (partitioned) 150Gb HDD's from it.

I have tried both HDD's in my CompUSA ext'l hard drive enclosure (which has worked on many of my old HDD's) - but I have a problem.  The OS ''Sees" the drive and seemingly sets it up as OK - but - does not allocate a darned drive letter so - can't get in!  Same on the Lenovo in fact.

I took a peek within Computer management/disk management - and the drive shows but no letter.  In the top listing it shows as 35Gb with 4.1Gb spare - well that would be one partition.  The lower pictorial representation however shows it as 150Gb, basic, healthy/active - but looking like all one with no partition!  Shows too as NTFS.  Right click contect menu is all greyed out except for "delete partition' and 'help'

So - here we are - drive ''recognized'' but - no access - thus I am seeking opinion/advice as to what measures I could take to get past this hurdle.  Both old drives were set up and partitioned under XP pro on old machine.  Really puzzled - when other old drives will show via the external HDD enclosure - and those were used within Win 95 and Win 2k!  These are all ATA but that shouldn't matter.

BTW - checked within Removeable Storage/libraries - and the drive does not show - just my flash drives and DVD ROM.

Any advice would be most welcome.
Ain't technology great - until it goes wrong!

truenorth



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    Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
    « Reply #1 on: July 05, 2008, 05:33:51 PM »
    ChrisXPPro,Given your comments it appears you are far from a stranger in regards to knowledge re external HDD's. I suspect that is true for both standalone externals and internals converted to cases.Therefore i could assume (but won't--in case it is one of those times in life where the answer to "are you sure it is plugged in " results in it being unplugged.Hope you can follow the analogy.All this to say--my experience has shown that internal HDD"s can need to be set to varying jumper positions before placing them in a case in order for them to function.I don't know yet whether it is the brand of case that determines this,the brand of HDD,the operating system,or whatever.But from past experience i have found it can make a difference as to how it is perceived and handled by a computer. For what it's worth--maybe not much. goodluck,truenorth

    ChrisXPPro

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    Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
    « Reply #2 on: July 05, 2008, 08:22:15 PM »
    truenorth - many thx for the response.  Yep - all plugged in!

    All other old HDD's I have used in the ext'l enclosure have been effectively ''de-jumpered'' so that they are standalone as against master or slave.  I may out of curiosity see what happens with some jumper changes.

    These drives are WD 1600's "Caviar" - good ol drive usually.  The case is, best I can tell, all that should be required - it just has a short IDE ribbon and power plug to connect an HDD - and as I mentioned - thing is several old other drives when hooked up (de-jumpered) - are accepted and ascribed partition drive letters just fine - this is what makes it right now puzzling.  Right now it is an enigma and I know the data is there!

    Thx again.
    Ain't technology great - until it goes wrong!

    truenorth



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      Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
      « Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 08:30:36 AM »
      ChrisXPPro,Just curious--when you 1st introduced the WD 1600's  (in the case) to the computer through the Usb port what was the responce of the computer.Was there a "new USB device found"? And if so what came next?Because if you did not get that it occurs to me that the computer may have detected something but not what it should have to recognize that it was an external HDD.However even that notion is shaky given that it does give data regarding the drive (IE: file type,size,etc). One suggestion i can advance to try and determine if the fault is with the case or it's enclosed drive versus the computer having a problem dealing with it is to try the case/drive combination in another computer's USB port and see what happens. I am sure that you have tried all the available ports in the computer that you are having the problem with.What ,if anything shows up in device manager in regards to your USB hubs when the device is plugged in and turned on?Have you tried an "install new hardware" to see what it finds if anything?This sure is a puzzlement given that it obviously finds something just not enough.truenorth

      ChrisXPPro

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      Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
      « Reply #4 on: July 06, 2008, 10:15:19 AM »
      Thx again truenorth - it's as big of a puzzle to you methinks!

      1) - computer response? - typical of any new USB addition - usual bubble "found new hardware"  and then a pause and finally ''your hardware is ready to use".  But - no darned drive letter as usually occurs.  Of course now it has been ''recognized'' first time I can just plug in and get the usual Win acceptance sound - and no drive letter!

      2) - Try another computer? - as I mentioned in original post, this was tried on my Lenovo backup machine - exactly same effect.  Out of interest - same effect with Vista - which came on this HP 4600 until I grew rapidly disgusted with it and downgraded to XP!  Guess we can say the problem is consistent!

      3) - Device manager - good thinking.  Just tried that and as it was recognized it showed up within the disk drive list - "initio WD1600JB-OOGVAO USB device".  Shows as functioning normally.!  Check in win explorer tho and of course - no change in drive letters!  Tried front of case USM port and one of hub ports - no difference.

      If I check ''safely remove hardware" - the darned thing shows too, along with other items - albeit with no ascribed drive letter!  Just done a scan for PnP hardware changes from device manager - no benefit.

      So - still wierd - everything seems OK except for no drive letter.  I would expect as per with other ext'l drives to see letters "Q", "R" and "S" added in explorer as I recall three partitions.  Oh well - mystery remains but still hoping there is some ''tweak'' I have over looked that could force this to do what is needed.
      Ain't technology great - until it goes wrong!

      Goku



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        Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
        « Reply #5 on: July 06, 2008, 10:21:12 AM »
        Hello Chris. Have you read this?

        New drive or mapped network drive not available in Windows Explorer

        Let us know if it helps or not. :)

        -- Goku

        ChrisXPPro

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        Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
        « Reply #6 on: July 06, 2008, 10:56:19 AM »
        Goku - thanks for suggestion.  It is useful in as much as it shows this as a known issue but thus far I don't think it's going to solve things.

        One reason is - their suggestion of ascribing a drive letter from within Disk management is no go - as right click context menu has that optioned greyed out!  Then they refer to a hotfix but when I dug deeper it appears the hotfix is for SP3 - and I am certainly not ready yet to ''risk'' applying SP3.  From a Win Update POV the system is tho up to date - it took 94 items to get it done after my XP SP2 downgrade.

        Thanks tho ever so much for the help - from which I think somehow I am going to have to wait either, for some other idea or, perhaps hold off until I eventually go to SP3 and then try a hotfix approach.  If I can find someone with a reasonably up to date system on their puter then just perhaps I can try on that and use another external to copy over to ...... could be I have too many drive letters but as mentioned earlier, this does not affect other extern'l drives.

        I always place my DVD near the top - "Y" for this one ..... and even with my internal card reader and two flash drives sitting in hub - letters are clear from"P" all way up to the DVD - which other drives use just fine.

        Appreciate inputs - thank you guys.
        Ain't technology great - until it goes wrong!

        Goku



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          Assign New Drive Letter
          « Reply #7 on: July 06, 2008, 11:09:46 AM »
          OK Chris, I think I have finally identified the cause of the problem. From what I have read, people have been experiencing these problems because they had too many drives mapped and therefore there wasn't a free letter to assign to the new drive. According to your description, I think that when you connect the USB device, it all becomes "too much" for the computer to handle. To resolve this, either remap an existing drive letter or remove a mapped device to free the assigned letter temporarily.

          No Drive Letter for USB or Firewire Drive

          Let us know if it helps or not. Good Luck. :)

          -- Goku

          ChrisXPPro

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          Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
          « Reply #8 on: July 06, 2008, 11:42:48 AM »
          Goku - well something else to consider I agree.  Thanks.

          I removed my 2 flash drives  - but left the card reader as that means getting into case to disconnect.  This anyways gives me free letters from "M" - the last card reader letter - thru up to DVD at "Y".  Oh forgot - HP recovery partition is set as "P".

          No effect on the problem - plus as I mentioned before, if I hook up any of the three dedicated ext'l drives, they will all settle nicely to pick up available drive letters - including placing their partition letters ''around'' that "P" of the HP partition.

          Right now with USB sticks back in ... I have everything used up to and including "P" - and so there is a chunk of available letters - 8 in fact - between that and the DVD on "Y" - which suits all the externals just fine.

          No - something else has to be odd here - note how earlier I was seeing this WD 1600 in Disk management - as one drive of 150Gb in the pictorial display (working and healthy) NTFS ... and in the text listing showing as seemingly just one of the partitions at around 35Gb and 4.1 Gb free!  This in itself is odd.  Remember too - I can put one of my old HDD's from Win 2k machine or even an old Win 95 into this drive enclosure and bring them up fine!

          This is definitely specific to these WD 1600 drives it seems - they are just not ''seen'' for what they actually are, tho I'd still expect to see one drive letter at very least!.
          Ain't technology great - until it goes wrong!

          truenorth



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            Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
            « Reply #9 on: July 06, 2008, 12:14:11 PM »
            ChrisXPPro,
            It is nice to see Goku on board and hopefully others may also show up (Broni or patio would be nice).I do agree that it certainly appears to be uniquely associated with the WD drives.Have you tried calling them re the issue.Suggest phone as e-mail tech support with all the toing and frowing could take forever. My recollection is that WD is quite good with their phone tech support.Did you ever try changing the jumper locations yet?Have you always been using the same case. When i had a recognition problem i was able to solve it by changing the case (even though i had 3 which were totally identical. Hang in there a solution may be coming. truenorth

            ChrisXPPro

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            Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
            « Reply #10 on: July 06, 2008, 01:24:38 PM »
            Oh yes - forgot to mention jumpering ... I did try master set up - no good at all.  Finally went for 'single neutral' which is pins 4 and 6 (10 pin config) ........ but that is in theory no different from no jumpers for 'single'.  No point IMO in setting up as slave tho tried it for fun - seems same effect as no jumpers.

            I might indeed try calling WD if I can get thru. 

            This case is the only one I have so no chance to try others but yet again I come back to how well it performs with numerous other ex puter int'l drives.
            Ain't technology great - until it goes wrong!

            stevejohnson1958

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            Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
            « Reply #11 on: July 06, 2008, 01:36:51 PM »
            Sometimes...when you have a system with multiple card readers...you'll experience this problem.

            Have you tried manually assigning a drive letter to the drive?

            http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307844

            ChrisXPPro

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            Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
            « Reply #12 on: July 06, 2008, 07:52:37 PM »
            Saviour, thx - could well be I'll try disconnecting card reader as an experiment, altho that reader does not affect other externals from working, including old drives in my drive enclosure.

            Manually changing drive letter is not an option as - mentioned earlier - tho the drive shows in Disk Management, right click options are greyed out for drive letter choice - apart from ''help'' only other option is clear partition!
            Ain't technology great - until it goes wrong!

            stevejohnson1958

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            Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
            « Reply #13 on: July 06, 2008, 08:58:33 PM »
            What's the drives status is Disk Management?  Healthy?

            Is there anything on this drive...or is it used mainly for backup?  If it's free for use as you see fit...why not have Disk Management repartition it, format it NTFS, and see if making it active allows access to the adjusting the drive letter.

            I don't think disconnecting the card reader will have any effect...maybe...we'll have to wait and see.

            I've read some posts on other forums I frequent where a mulitple card reader can cause such an issue.  While Windows is supposed to automatically assign the drive letter, but then doesn't.  I haven't seen a work around for it yet.

            Please keep us posted...

            truenorth



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              Re: Ext'l hard drive - no drive letter/letters
              « Reply #14 on: July 07, 2008, 07:02:22 AM »
              Saviour,
              Is there anything on this drive...or is it used mainly for backup? 
              Quote ChrisXPPro "However, this HP machine replaces my old custom machine which went sour recently and tho most data was backed up I have a few items I want to pull off two (partitioned) 150Gb HDD's from it."
              Saviour quote"What's the drives status is Disk Management?  Healthy?
              ChrisXPPro quote "I took a peek within Computer management/disk management - and the drive shows but no letter.  In the top listing it shows as 35Gb with 4.1Gb spare - well that would be one partition.  The lower pictorial representation however shows it as 150Gb, basic, healthy/active - but looking like all one with no partition!  Shows too as NTFS.  Right click contect menu is all greyed out except for "delete partition' and 'help'"
                 Welcome aboard Savior.This case is sure a puzzlement.truenorth