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USB external hard drive recognized but not assigned to a letter/not mounting (Win XP)

By JKumar · 9 replies
Jun 28, 2010
  1. Hello,

    I recently bought a Lacie 1TB external harddrive to store some of the data on my old PC (Win XP, SP2, I cant seem to udate to SP3 because windows update wont work).

    The drive is working fine as I've used it on my laptop running Win Vista (64 bit). However, the drive is not being displayed in windows explorer. When I go to My Computer>Manage>Disk Management, I can see the drive there saying it's online, but there's no name attached to it and when I right-click, all the options are grey (otherwise I could of just changed the letter through there).

    Using diskpart on command prompt, I still couldn't change the letter. I also found out that there is no volume assigned to this disk.

    Can someone please help me?? I'd be forever greatful :)
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,306   +577

    I didn't see where you formatted the hard drive. Before you can use any hard drive, external or internal, you have to format it at some point. For hard drives with Windows installed on them, they are usually formatted during Windows setup. For external storage drives, you can format it through Disk Management.
  3. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 53

    Your post is confusing.
    You say the drive works fine on the laptop, but, "...the drive is not being displayed in windows explorer." Is that on the laptop or the desktop?
    If you can't use windows update, you might want to start with a malware scan.
  4. JKumar

    JKumar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry I'll try and be a bit clearer.

    I did format the drive, but it was formatted on my laptop running Windows Vista, and all works fine with that.

    On my desktop running Win XP, no drive letter is being assigned, nor is it showing up in Windows Explorer.

    Do you think the outdated Win XP is the issue?
  5. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 53

  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    So as i understand it, you've double-checked and are certain the drive partitions are still recognized and you can access your data OK using other computers, right?

    Then I'd also suggest trying
    > See [post=875300]How to Cleanup and Remove old USB Storage Drivers[/post]
    > See if this might apply [post=815753]CD/DVD or Disk Problems? How to Fix Problems Caused by Filters[/post]. Follow instructions to remove disk filters
  7. JKumar

    JKumar TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I tried removing old USB storage drivers, everything went smoothly, but the drive still didn't show up.

    I also tried the filters solution and it TOTALLY messed with my system. I went into the registry (with the regjump) and found there was an upper limit, so i deleted that and restarted. But then things were really messed up, my primary harddrive (C) was no longer C and instead a storage harddrive became C. This must of been causing some problems because whenever i went into one of the harddrives in windows explorer, windows explorer would crash in a few seconds, plus every time I try to launch system restore, it would crash too. I have a old saved registry file so I'm gonna import that and see if it gets everything back to normal.

    The good news with that is that my external harddrive did get recognized, however it said i have to format, which shouldnt be the case since i formatted on a different computer.

    Did i do something wrong with the filters? even if i reformatted the drive, i wouldnt be able to transfer anything because windows explorer keeps crashing.


    didnt get a chance to run a scan yet because of all this, will let you know once i do
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    You may have your best luck, timewise, by reformatting the drive in the Windows XP machine, beginning with deleting the existing partition. The greyed-out options are typical of that issue...
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    I'm stumped.
    a) Removing upper/lower filters is a fairly common practice to try and fix some types of CD/DVD and disk issues
    b)) And removing upper/lower filters shouldn't cause the problems you describe like primary drive no longer being your C drive (nor have i ever heard of your result before after someone has done so). So i can't explain what happened.... Is it at all possible you removed the wrong registry key??

    In any case, it sounds (for now) you have two issues:
    a) Restoring your original hard drive so it's usable again and access to the files/folders on it and then
    b) Access to files/folders on your external drive

    Certainly, restoring your original HD and your files on it are most important so would address that first. You might first want to access and copy you personal files and folders before doing anything else. See [post=766270]How to recover your folders/files when Windows won’t boot[/post]
    /* edit */
    As booting into Knoppix to copy your stuff will at least give you a stable run environment to use for copy/paste to backup your personal files
  10. nfljerseys

    nfljerseys TS Rookie

    thumps up for your article, great post...
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