USB HD - No Drive Letter (Different than everything I have read)

By Ewok69103 ยท 13 replies
Jan 14, 2007
  1. Hi everyone. Here is my problem:

    I want to take the information from an old HD from an old computer and put in on a new one. When I plug the old HD into my computer via an external usb HD case (tried 2 computers), the computer recognizes the HD but it doesn't show up in My Computer. That problem I have seen before. Here is where I think it is different. This HD I am almost sure, originally used the drive letter "C". When I go into Disk Manager I see it there, but it does not give me an option to change drive letter, but only delete partition. I need the information on there. Please someone help. I am not too savvy with computers so if I don't understand exactly what you are saying, please don't give up on me. Thank you everyone. Here are some pics. I hope they help. Sorry if they are big.


  2. peepnklown

    peepnklown TS Rookie Posts: 126

    Are you log on to an administrative account?
    If might also want to uninstall the USB controller and reinstall it via device manager.
    Help 2
    If all else fails you might want to look into software that can fix the partition table.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    if the drive was a boot drive, you cannot use it as an external drive because it's os is bootable. Windows will get confused or crash. You will need to use a flash drive or a non-bootable hard disk to transfer the files.
  4. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 293

    "if the drive was a boot drive, you cannot use it as an external drive because it's os is bootable. Windows will get confused or crash."

    You can do what he is trying to do, Windows will not crash (unless you have installed the HDD as the primary ... then it will!). Instead of right-clicking where you are in the pic (icon), right-click further down the page where is says DISK 1. You should be given an option to initialize the disk.

    When you install a new HDD you must first initialize the disk and then assign it a letter. Let us know how you go :grinthumb
  5. Ewok69103

    Ewok69103 TS Rookie Topic Starter

  6. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 293

    Ok thanks for all that,

    It's a wierd one indeed ... no drive letter exists but the HDD is online and functional. You say this is a USB HDD right? Is it a larger HDD or a laptop HDD? If it is larger, how about setting the jumpers on it to cable-select and attaching it via IDE to your PC.
    Have you tried normal left mouse-click where I told you to? Just asking thats all! And if you go into the properties of the drive, is there any options perhaps to convert to NTFS? I noticed the HDD is FAT32, which slouldn't matter, but during conversion (which does not format) it may give you an option to assign a drive letter.

    Let us know how you go and good luck :grinthumb
  7. Ewok69103

    Ewok69103 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you so much for your help. Even though I haven't solved the problem yet, I really appreciate you taking the time to try to help. I will solve this one way or the other :) Maybe there will be something in the pictures that you see that I am doing wrong....again I am not a computer pro by any stretch of the imagination. Thanks again.




  8. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 293

    Have you tried your USB HDD on another PC? Does the same problem still occur? Normally what I'd do is go for a full format (not a quick one), convert it to NTFS in the process and assign it a drive letter, but since you have data on there that you want to obtain this idea wouldn't suite you (do it if you ever retreive the data to salvage the HDD).

    Signs are pointing to a corrupt data table on that HDD of yours, or a hardware fault. Try your HDD out on as many other PCs as you can. IF all do not recognise the disk then I'd say theres a fault with the drive.

    Or, theres an off chance that the partition when created was marked as "hidden". If you can obtain a copy of Partition Magic (software program), run the program and "unhide" the partition.

    Good luck as always! :grinthumb
  9. Ewok69103

    Ewok69103 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So what does everyone think? Any more ideas or is Partition Magic my last option? I have to believe this has happened to a lot of people. I will look into Partition magic but does anyone have any other ideas as well that may help?
  10. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 293

    I meant to ask you also, in Disk Management I can see other removable disks coming up with drive letters U, T, etc. What are they?

    If you open My Computer and select TOOLS - MAP NETWORK DRIVE - Then, drop down the letters box, do you have any spare letters? Its just a thought, and I know it's got to be wrong, but there ARE available letters there right?
  11. Ewok69103

    Ewok69103 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    They are drives for the card reader thats built into my computer. I do have available drives and can change any of the drives to different letter. So strange. Im getting so frustrated :(
  12. monton

    monton TS Booster Posts: 113


    I have had a similar issue. I used an old windows 98 boot disk to boot, ran fdish, looked at drive information and then exited fdisk. Rebooted and the disk was now assigned a drive letter. I have no idea why/how it worked but it did.

    Worth a 5 minute try.
    I didn't change or alter any drive in fdisk, just looked

  13. Ewok69103

    Ewok69103 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi monton. I gave that a try, but nothing :( I honestly dont know what I am going to do. Thank you for your help is much appreciated.
  14. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 293

    On your computer, what is the next available letter?
    I'd hate to say it, but by the sounds of it your HDD is possibly corrupt or damaged. The disk cannot be initialized and I think a format would possibly fix it, but I cannot be sure.
    Run through the format option in disk management but don't format it, just note whether or not it will in fact assign it a letter. Cancel out of it after that ...

    Is it possible to take your USB HDD out of its case and mount it inside your PC?
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