TechSpot

Drive letter problems with flash drives

By Bluemouse
Sep 24, 2006
  1. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    Havent tried, but i can.

    What I dont understand is why it shows up in INTERNET explorer and not windows explorer. Are they not the same shells?

    I also get this problem when I go into disk manager where it comes up fine the 1st time, but if i disconnect the flash drive and plug it back in, it doesnt seem to want to go into disk management. I seem to have a similar problem with diskpart as well. It went in when I had already assigned a drive letter once, but when I disconnected and reconnected, it doesnt do anything anymore. Diskpart just closes after about 30 seconds or just stays at the "On computer: XXXX" line, while Disk management sometimes freezes at the "Connecting to logical device manager service" status.
     
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    There's something supressing that drive letter from showing in Windows Explorer. It's there... and accessible... It just doesn't show up.

    It makes sense that if it didn't work WE, it wouldn't work in IE either... But as we see, that's not the case. So your logic is sound, but it could be some specific, obscure bug which affects the way WE enumerates or displays drives just under the "My Computer" window.

    We'll just have to keep an open mind with this one, because it seems to defy most intellegent conceptions. :)
     
  3. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    hm,

    Ending the dmadmin.exe task flixes the freezing problem....



    RESULTS:

    Code:
    Microsoft DiskPart version 5.1.3565
    
    Copyright (C) 1999-2003 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: GRAL
    
    DISKPART> list volume
    
      Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
      ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
      Volume 0     I                       DVD-ROM         0 B
      Volume 1     C   System Driv  NTFS   Partition     60 GB  Healthy    System
      Volume 2     E   Data Drive   NTFS   Partition   7217 MB  Healthy
      Volume 3          MY USB  FAT    Removeable    62 MB
    
    DISKPART> list disk
    
      Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
      --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
      Disk 0    Online        75 GB      0 B
    
    DISKPART> select volume 3
    
    Volume 3 is the selected volume.
    
    DISKPART> list disk
    
      Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
      --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
      Disk 0    Online        75 GB      0 B
    
    DISKPART> assign letter = M
    
    DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.
    
    DISKPART> list volume
    
      Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
      ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
      Volume 0     I                       DVD-ROM         0 B
      Volume 1     C   System Driv  NTFS   Partition     60 GB  Healthy    System
      Volume 2     E   Data Drive    NTFS   Partition   7217 MB  Healthy
    * Volume 3     M   MY USB       FAT    Removeable    62 MB
    
    

    Still doesnt show up in my computer though....


    And the other problem is that once I use up a letter and disconnect the device, i can no longer map anything to it until I reboot, almost as if the computer still thinks it is there. If I remap the drive without disconnecting then I can use the old letter fine...

    What drivers control this stuff? Also, I found something called USBdetector.exe on my computer and uninstalled it, but it didnt do anything useful. I dont know where it came from really, or where to download it again.
     
  4. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    Yes, i was running home and then upgraded, but i think it was faulty before that, just cant remember for sure.

    Formatting is not an option, because I dont have enough space and dont really want to spend like 80 bux going to some pc repair shop to do a backup. I also have a lot of custom configs on here which took me a while to do, as well as some software installed where I lost the cd.

    My USB ports are not faulty, because my external hdd works fine, and the USB key is recognized when I dual boot ubuntu.

    Edit: I just tried driveman as a 3rd party drive manager, and it only detects it once i map the drive
     
  5. Sphere

    Sphere TS Rookie Posts: 16

    ok tried all of those and no luck, i mean if i could get Microsoft update working i reckon it would fix it but everytime i try i get this error code:

    [Error number: 0x8024402F]
     
  6. N3051M

    N3051M TS Rookie Posts: 2,800

    re: windows update problem.. This site may help.. here's the summary:

    try clearing out your temp files:
    Internet Options>
    -delete Cookies
    -delete files
    -[settings]>[view objects]>delete if any there (optional)
    Close IE and reopen or reboot your PC and try..

    Check your router/internet connection and settings, check your firewall etc.

    Curious.. does your USB sticks pick up in WE like normal on other pcs?
     
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    Windows uses a generic 'usbstor' driver which handles virtually any USB storage device. It's included with your Windows install.

    This is different than your USB host controller drivers. If there were a problem with usbstor, reinstalling SP2 (for example) should fix whatever problems may exist with your USB storage driver.
     
  8. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    where can I get just usbstor by itself?

    If it is an OS issue, then what could be the causes?

    The only thing I can think of is drivers, so which drivers could cause the issue?
     
  9. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    Just one more thing. I have a SD card reader on my laptop and I have the same problems with them too in that slot. Therefore, it HAS to be some driver that deals with flash memory, since my USB flash key, USB mp3 flash player and CARD flash disk all do the same thing.
     
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    Your SD-card reader is probably connected via your internal USB bus, so that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't USB. But I think your USB storage drivers are much more likely a cause than USB itself. I don't 100% rule anything out, but I don't believe it is either. Purely based on conjecture, I think it some quirky Windows problem with assigning drive letters under a certain set of circumstances. Of course, I am not a software engineer, so my guess is as good as yours.

    If you're looking to install your USB mass storage driver, your system's original usbstor.sys (driver), usbstor.pf (service) and usbstor.inf (setup information) will be located on your XP install disc. You'll find the files in the i386 folder somewhere (may be in subfolders.. not sure) and the last letter of the extension is usually chopped at the end like so: usbstor.sys will be usbstor.sy_ on your CD.

    Here are the directories where these files belong and should be copied to:
    • usbstor.sys - C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\
    • usbstor.pf - C:\Windows\INF\
    • usbstor.ini - C:\Windows\INF\

    The only complication I forsee is Windows File Protection. If you copy those files over, they'll just get overwritten (without any warning) by the originals cached by WFP. We need to disable WFP before copying those files.

    Since SP2, MS has removed the option to disable WFP, although we can still enlist the aid of an application (or registry setting) to disable WFP at this point. Search around and you'll find something as I don't have any recommendations.

    You can also use SFC (System File Checker) from the command prompt. Just type in SFC /SCANNOW and make sure you have your Windows XP disc in the original install drive. It will scan your computer for corrupted or changed versions of system files, which I'm assuming includes usbstor.sys and .pf and probably ini and replace them with nice, fresh versions from the CD.

    There have been updates to the XP USB storage driver over the years as well, prior and probably after SP2. So reinstalling your SP2 would probably have the same affect as copying or SFCing the files.

    Just some more ideas... Good luck!
     
  11. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    I already tried the sfc, and it screwed up my nvidia drivers :S It also took a while, since it kept prompting my for my cd when I already had it in, and I had to mash "retry" about 100 times to get it to complete. Still have the same problem though :S

    Thanks for the ideas though :)
     
     
  12. Sphere

    Sphere TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Can anyone give me the installation for the windows usb driver?
     
  13. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    Would the sd card slot be connected via internal USB? How would I check that?
     
  14. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,915   +167

    What version of Windows are you talking about? XP has it's own USB drivers, but if don't trust them, try searching driverguide.com
     
  15. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    WAHAHAHAHA FIXED IT!

    It had something to do with the registry, and nothing to do with the drivers at all.

    **** EXPORT THE SELECTED FOLDERS BEFORE DOING THIS ****

    1) Go into start -> run -> regedit -> hit ok

    2) Navigate to:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevice1]

    3)file -> export (the mounteddevices1 folder)

    4) delete all the dosdevices drives (ie \dosdevices\C:)

    5) I cant remember if i did it to the "mountd devices" folder too, so dont do it at first but if it doesnt work then do it after

    6) go to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}]

    7) Export this too

    8) delete the upperfilter key

    9) reboot and try plugging in your device.

    This actually didnt work for me when i tried it, but then i tried plugging in my device an hour later and it worked flawlessly (all 3 flash drives)

    Hope this helps! Your registry may be slightly different, but look in there, there are probably a bunch of keys that are screwing it up.

    Cheers :)
     
  16. Sphere

    Sphere TS Rookie Posts: 16

    OMG DUDE I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    Its back working, I appreciate everyone’s help Thank you for taking the time and helping :)
     
  17. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 405

    Ditto :) .
     
  18. Swaine77

    Swaine77 TS Rookie

    Aiya! Careful with that registry!


    I've got the same problem with my thumb drives not showing up in Windows Explorer so I was really excited when I saw your post. I saved the registry folders that you said to back up but after I destroyed my registry, XP wouldn't boot and I didn't know how to restore them. :) :p So I booted in safe mode and restored a Restore Point. That got the registry restored and XP booting again. I probably should have been more cautious but I deleted all the \??\Volume entries and a lot of the ones below those like (ie \dosdevices\C:). I really hope I can figure out how to tailor your fix to my machine and get the auto-drive assignment working again.

    Moral of the story: Don't delete registry entries unless you know EXACTLY what you're doing.
     
  19. Iaddiso

    Iaddiso TS Rookie

    I am working with someone that has a very similiar problem It started when a USB Hub was plugged in. The drive designator disappears from Windows Explorer and My Computer but is available in application such as Word & Excell when a file is opened or saved. After a reboot all looks normal, after a flash drive is removed one time the problem begins when the next flash drive inserted. Any adivce is appreciated. Thanks
     
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