USB HDD's not recognized

By Odyssey
Aug 19, 2009
  1. I have several USB HDD's but they are "reluctant". I mean by that, when they are plugged in, a Windows message comes up that says "Found new hardware....", another that has a message that using a 2.0 port would be faster, etc. but the drives never show up in My Computer.

    Device manager shows a yellow exclamation mark in front of the "USB Mass Storage Device". I can uninstall it by right clicking, but the drive still does not install.

    Any suggestions on how to get Windoze to recognize them? TIA

    Dell Dimension 4700 with XP Home
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    The Dimension 4700 is an excellent computer with few problems.
    I would consider replacing the cable first, then looking for the recent post by LookingAround on this problem here at TechSpot
  3. Odyssey

    Odyssey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Raybay, Thanks for yours. All of the hdd's have their own USB cable, so that likely is not the problem.

    The fact that all of the drives are not being recognized points to the computer.

    This is a new computer to me and all the motherboard drivers were updated by the person I got it from. Do you suppose that the USB update was faulty, and if so, should I try to re-install it? If so, does one just go to the Dell support page and download the USB driver? I've not done this before.

    could not locate any posts by "LookingAround" Do you remember the thread title?
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Disagree, see below. This is a known Windows Problem with long discussions found at and elsewhere on this forum.

    I may not have this exactly right from memory, but close enough to help.

    This is a known difficulty with Windows XP, reportedly caused by <Windows Explorer> not recognizing some drives and assigning letters. The problem is found in all versions.. WXP Home, WXP Professional, and WXP 64 bit.

    See this explanation for one view:
    It is helpful to review a Windows XP manual chapter on Drive Management.

    See this report at the Microsoft site. Drive letter for new device in Windows XP

    In these cases, the drive doesn’t sho up in Windows Explorer, but it does show up in <Computer Management> (Local) under Storage ->Disk Management

    As I understand the problem, the mounting manager which has the job of assigning drive letters to “volumes.” Does not recognize the drive (networked drive) and assigndes the next drive letter that is available… and there instantly becomes a conflict between drive assignments.

    Sometimes you can assign a new drive letter for the drive (removable device) that is listed…

    Resolution - To resolve this behavior, specify a different drive letter for the Removable Device:

    Then click <START>, then <My Computer> and then click <Manage> to manage the drive.
    Click on Disk Management in Computer Management
    You click on Change Drive Letter and Change Paths, however it iw worded.

    Choose <Change> in the available drop down box, and specify a new drive letter for the USB drive that you are certain has not been listed or mapped.

    After that, click <OK> when given the choice, then<OK> again.

    What happens is that you are updating Windows Explorer, so be sure to read up on that, as it shows both the <Mapped Network Drives> and the Removable drive you have been trying to install.
    You can also do a search at the website, as Microsoft has officially listed this as a problem.
    I am not sure I quite have it correct, as I don’t have my Windows XP manual handy, but that gives you the flavor…

    The main point is that your drive is not defective, and can be made to work again, if you spend some time wallowing around in the helps sites.

    A fellow tech on this site, Looking Around, had a very helpful description and suggestion recently... at least I think that was his post.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Hi Odyssey

    I'm guessing raybay's referring to this post however given the symptoms you describe, i don't think a "drive letter confict" is the problem in your case. Rather, sounds like an issue involving your USB controllers and drivers

    For testing for now, only plug your USB drives directly into (and try the various) USB ports on your computer (don't use any external hubs or USB ports on other external devices such on a monitor or keyboard, etc.) Then
    1) See USB Device Problems? Check for Windows Updates then
    2) See How to Reinstall Your USB Controllers and Motherboard Chipset Drivers
  6. Odyssey

    Odyssey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    I had not been able to see any apparent drive letter conflicts from the My Computer view. All the drives seem to have their own (alphabetically sequential) drive letter. Although what you are referring to might not be apparent in this view.

    I have now run the fix at:

    and the Cavalry drive is now recognized.

    Will now try the others and if any difficulties, will assume that it is drive related.

    If I can't resolve it, I'll come back.

    Many thanks for these excellent and helpful posts.
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