External hard drives not recognised

By priestlyturkey · 16 replies
Apr 16, 2009
  1. Hi everyone,

    I've got an issue with my external USB hard drives, usually when I plug them they just appear automatically, but for some reason they've stopped doing so. Interestingly, while they no longer appear in My Computer, they still appear in the device manager. I thought that mapping the drives to a volume letter might work, however in the disk management section, not only do the external drives not appear, but neither do my regular internal hard drives! Is there any way you can think of that I can rectify this situation?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    this might help http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/find-your-missing-usb-drive-on-windows-xp/ or it might not. Some of the comments point out that the problem can be different, and a multitude of variations are discussed. Try the may1st for instance.

    And at some time in the past I came across a way to remove all USB temproary assignments in Windows, so they get put back by the normal plug-and-messup windows process. Unfortunately I cannot find the link at the moment. Please come back if the link given above (or one of the additions) does not solve your problem.
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    1) To start, see this Guide Troubleshoot: Windows Won't Recognize Your USB Hard Drive
    2) fyi... i'm in the process of updating that Guide and hope to have a newer/improved version out soon
    3)gbhall: I think you're probably thinking of drivecleanup script (see Part2 of the Guide)

    While issues of drive letter assignments and old USB lingering data (e.g. cleaned up by the script) can cause your drive to stop appearing in My Computer you have a more fundamental issue! if none of your drives are appearing in Disk Management. Probable causes:
    - Virus infections
    - Problem with your Logical Disk Manager services (there are two)
    - Faulty / bad disk filters (download Filter Driver Load Order). Does your disk appear. Select it. Then check the info on each upper and lower filter for the disk

    Also suggest you also take a look in your Windows Event Log

    /* EDIT */
    ABSOLUTELY, check your Windows Event Log. Is there an error message about Logical Disk Management??? i just in fact (literally, like 2 minutes ago) saw this MS KB (just released Feb, 2009!)
  4. DanielJorgensen

    DanielJorgensen TS Rookie

    Hi, I have the same problem as topic starter (no usb stick, ipod or usb ext HD wokring properly). I have tried to follow microsofts own guide, which you link to. But when both when using FixIt and removing Upper/lower filters manually my laptop fails to start up in normal mode - and I am forced to choose "last working setup." However, it appears to be the upper filters causing the trouble, 'cause the lower filters are removed or at leat not present in the subreg: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
  5. DanielJorgensen

    DanielJorgensen TS Rookie

    No one have a solution for my problem??
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    The link I gave post#2 has 160 comments, surely ONE of them fills the bill ?
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Wow! That's really odd. I can't imagine why removing your filters should cause your normal boot to fail. So here's where to start

    1. Please identify: your computer make/model, your Operating System and Service Pack level
    2. See [post=744411]USB Device Problems? Check for Windows Updates[/post]
    3. Just what type of usb device is the problem? External HD? A flash drive? if a flash drive do you know if it's a U3 flash device?
    4. See [post=720762]Troubleshoot: Windows Won't Recognize Your USB Hard Drive[/post]. Please confirm Device Manager is installing OK both a USB Mass Storage and Disk driver for your USB device.
    5. Download and run FilterLoadOrder. Does your device appear in the list?? If so,
    >> Select it. Then click the Clipboard button (at bottom of window) to copy the data for your device
    >> Then paste the data into your next post
  8. DanielJorgensen

    DanielJorgensen TS Rookie

    1: I have an oooold HP laptap. Can't find model number, but around 4 years old. I run xp home SP3.
    2: checked
    3: I have problems with flash drives and iPod. Haven't tried an external HD. What is a "U3" device?
    4: When I plug iPod/flash drive a generic volume AND a USB mass storage device is installed.
    5: It does appear on the list:
    Filter Driver Load Order http://www.bustrace.com

    Upper Class Filter: PartMgr
    Device Object: USB Flash Disk USB Device
    Lower Filter Drivers: No Lower Filter Drivers specified for this device

    Driver Name: partmgr.sys
    File Location: c:\windows\system32\drivers
    File Description: Partition Manager
    File Version: 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2108) [5.1.2600.5512]
    Product Name: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
    Product Version: 5.1.2600.5512 [5.1.2600.5512]
    Company Name: Microsoft Corporation
    Filter Driver Load Order http://www.bustrace.com

    Upper Class Filter: PartMgr
    Device Object: Apple iPod USB Device
    Lower Filter Drivers: No Lower Filter Drivers specified for this device

    Driver Name: partmgr.sys
    File Location: c:\windows\system32\drivers
    File Description: Partition Manager
    File Version: 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2108) [5.1.2600.5512]
    Product Name: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
    Product Version: 5.1.2600.5512 [5.1.2600.5512]
    Company Name: Microsoft Corporation

    Furthermore, yesterday when I checked the system event log there was an Error: LDMS (3023) when I plugged in.
    Today it says: "!Warning" PludPlayManager (event 256)
  9. DanielJorgensen

    DanielJorgensen TS Rookie

    Maybe there's a friendly soul who will pm LookinAround. I have too few post to pm...
  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Hi DanielJorgensen :wave:

    I'll take a look at your post/data in more depth as soon as i have the chance (probably with next 24hrs). In the meantime, a couple things

    First, if not already, be sure to backup all your personal files just to be cautious!

    1) If you have an ipod i assume you also have itunes installed. disconnect your ipod, uninstall itunes. reboot. then you can reinstall itunes and retry

    2) To provide a look at the 35 most recent Event log entries please click Start->Run, enter cmd to open a command window then copy/paste the following command into the window. Then attach the events.txt file it puts on your Desktop into your next post (use the paper clip icon to attach a file)
    cscript "C:\WINDOWS\system32\eventquery.vbs" /l application /l system /r 35 /v  /fo table /fi "Type eq error OR Type eq warning" > "%userprofile%\desktop\events.txt"
  11. DanielJorgensen

    DanielJorgensen TS Rookie

    1) I have tried that numerous times with no effect.

    2) I couldn't create a logfile using that script command as Windows couldn't locate: "C:\WINDOWS\system32\eventquery.vbs"

    I have tryed to make a system event log manually. Errors and warnings are in the top of the list.
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    1) oops. forgot both that you're running XP home and that eventquery.vbs command is only available under XP Pro

    2) Thank you for creating the event summary report by hand. Interesting...
    >> While i can't see the event detail from the summary you manually provided and
    >> To get the detail, is more work but is possible i step you through how to install and using a freeware tool that can provide all that detail automatically (similar to eventquery.vbs which isn't available to you)
    >> But, even as the summary report stands as is, what i DO see from the summary you provided, as is: I see many ERRORs regarding Windows Services and Logical Disk Management (LDMS) which makes me suspect you might very well have a malware infection! (i don't think is worth the effort of trying to get all the detail first as all those errors in Services and LDMS are most often malware related vs. something else)

    I don't know if you have your XP installation CDs? as whether you will find it easier for you to reformat your drive and re-install Windows or (your choice) can continue to hunt down/try fix your problem.

    'cuz if you prefer/don't want to reinstall Windows XP i'd really next recommend you See here for Virus/Malware Removal Instructions. Follow the instructions, then post a new thread in Virus/Malware forum for the experts there to review and get any malware removed and declare you malware free.

    Let me know which path you prefer so i could also keep an eye on your progress if you post a new thread in the A/V forum
  13. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    just fyi.. for more info about your Event Logs.. i decided to create a general post/tutorial on using the Windows Event log tool i mentioned prior post (and will work under XP Home edition)

    See [post=768354]Event Log Explorer,a tool to help Manage, Analyze and Report Windows Event Logs[/post]
  14. DanielJorgensen

    DanielJorgensen TS Rookie

    First of all, thank you for your help.

    I would love to re-install windows, but I have quite a lot of stuff that I'd like to keep and no easy options of taking backup. Maybe I just should find a external HD with firewire.

    I just did a full scan i Safe Mode with Malware's Anti-malware. I didn't help.
    I will check your anti- malware/-virus instructions tomorow.
    Some time ago my PC did have a major attack - some virus that blocked my security center and wanted me to install Anti-Virus 2009 (didn't do it ofc). Anti-Malware removed the virus (well, at least me PC worked perfect afterwards). Can that have anything to with my disfunctional USB?

    By A/V forum I guess you mean the "Virus&Malware removal"
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    You're most welcome. Glad to help!

    Re: backup device. I'ld recommend an external HD that also has its own AC adapter. (not that you plan to, but just the fyi, don't rely on USB flash drives for your critical data/backups. they can be far too unreliable)

    Re: fixing your problem
    All those Windows Services and LDMS problems i saw summarized in your event log immediately suggested malware infection (even without seeing the event detail). Now that you mention you had a recent infection, it only makes me more convinced you need to be certified "malware free" before trying see just why and what is causing all those ERROR entries in your event log.

    It's possible the malware was removed by your previous effort but that problems it caused weren't fixed correctly (thus causing all those log ERRORS and could easily explain your USB troubles)

    So... if you wanted to just reformat/reinstall.. then 1) do all your file/folder backups AND 2)advise also you also backup all your drivers as well (save you the time of find them all again upon a reinstall). You could use DriverMax to backup your drivers. You might also consider investing in a tool like Acronis True Image 2009 (i use it myself) which can not only do the normal file/folder backups but can actually take a snapshot of the entire disk image which allows you to restore your disk EXACTLY as it was at the time of the backup if need be and you decide you want more then just getting to files/folder type backup data

    Otherwise, next step See here for Virus/Malware Removal Instructions. And then, yes, you should post the logs in the Antivirus/Malware forum. Once they say your system is OK we can look any errors in your event logs that might still remain. But is most prudent to check/fix malware first (which may just fix your broken Windows even if no malware remains)
  16. DanielJorgensen

    DanielJorgensen TS Rookie

    A mate of mine visited me yesterday. He brought his USB HD, not knowing that he wouldn't be able to use it with my laptop. BUT good news - it worked! I did a backup and a re-install. Know my iPod and flash drives workes perfect - and everything is bliss!

    But wow - next time i think i will use DriverMax ;-)

  17. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Daniel - LookingAround pointed you to the Virus and Malware board.
    This is advice you really should seriously consider, especially since
    a) the source - Lookingaround is highly respected here. and
    b) in making your back up to your friend's drive you may have infected it before doing your reinstall...

    Now, both of your computers may become infected from this drive.

    I would strongly recommend... Quarantine that drive... do not plug it into any other computers than yours.
    Run the eight steps with this external drive attached. Make sure that the scans do include it.
    Then, if needed, follow the directions for making a post in that forum.
    If you find malware anywhere, and that drive has been connected to any other computers, those computers should be checked as well!
    After you post, one of the malware helpers will get to you as soon as they can.
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