Monday, November 28, 2011

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Drive Not Appearing In Windows Explorer | How To Fix

In some situation, when plugging in any external USB hard drive or USB flash drives on your PC, will not be displayed (No drive letter will be assigned or displayed to your disk drive even after connecting to the USB Port) in the My Computer or Windows Explorer.

Drive letter assignment is the process of assigning alphabetical identifiers to physical or logical disk drives or partitions (drive volumes) in the root file system namespace; this usage is now mostly found in Microsoft operating systems.

When looking for attached hard drives, USB flash drives or CD and DVD drives using Windows Explorer, you may notice that some drives are not seen in Windows Explorer or the drive may disappear after a short time or when Windows resumes from Sleep or Hibernation.

This issue can be caused by any of the following issues:

  • Your drive does not have a drive letter assigned to it in Disk Management
  • The drive may be disabled or offline
  • Your USB driver may be corrupted
  • Corrupted registry keys may be causing issues with connecting toyour CD or DVD drive
  • To resolve the issue follow the steps below:

    Method 1: Make sure that the drive has a drive letter assigned in Disk Management:

    This method applies to Disk Drives, USB flash drives or CD and DVD drives.

    If your hard drive, thumbnail drive, memory stick, or flash memory is recognized in Disk Management but not displayed in Windows Explorer, the drive may not have been assigned a drive letter by Windows.

  • Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and click System and Security.
  • Click Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management.
  • If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Look for a drive that does not have an assigned drive letter and is not labeled as System Reserved.

The System Reserved drive is reserved by Windows.

  • Right-click the unlabelled drive and click Change drive letter and paths…
  • Click Add and then click OK to select the first available drive letter.
  • If the Change drive letter and paths… option is not available, make sure that the drive is Online.
  • If the drive is Offline, right-click the disk number and click Online.

For more information on Adding, changing or removing drive letters for Windows 7, click the link below to see the article on the Microsoft website:

Change, add, or remove a drive letter

For more information on Adding, changing or removing drive letters for Windows Vista, click the link below to see the article on the Microsoft website:

Change, add, or remove a drive letter

Method 2: Make sure that the disk drive is Enabled : This method applies to Disk Drives, and USB flash drives

If the drive has been Disabled the disk will not be visible in Windows Explorer. To see if the disk is Disabled, follow the steps below to Enable it:

For Windows Vista and Windows 7 users:

  • Click Start and type Device Manager in the Search box
  • Click Device Manager in the Control Panel list
  • Locate the Disk drives item in the list and click the small arrow to the right to expand the list of drives
  • If a disk drive is disabled you will see an icon with an arrow pointing down over the icon of the disk drive
  • If you see an icon with an arrow pointing down over the icon of the disk drive, double-click the icon and click the Enable Device button
  • Click Next on the Enabling a device dialog box, click Next, and then click Finish
  • Click Close and then close the Device Manager window

If you don't see your disk drive in the listed drives, the drive may not have been detected by Windows.

If you receive an error message when Enabling the disk drive, you may have a defective disk drive.

For Windows XP Users:

  • Click Start then right click My Computer and click Properties
  • Click the Hardware tab and then click Device Manager
  • Locate the Disk drives item in the list and click the small arrow to the right to expand the list of drives
  • If a disk drive is disabled you will see a red X over the icon of the disk drive
  • If you see an icon with a red X over the icon of the disk drive, double-click the icon and click the Enable Device button
  • Click Next on the Enabling a device dialog box, and then click Finish
  • Click Close and then close the Device Manager window

If you don't see your disk drive in the listed drives, the drive may not have been detected by Windows.

If you receive an error message when Enabling the disk drive, you may have a defective disk drive.

Method 3: Make sure that the drive is Online: This method applies to Disk Drives

If the drive is currently Offline, the disk will not be visible in Windows Explorer. To check the current status of your disks, follow the steps below:

  • Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and click System and Security.
  • Click Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Look for a drive that does not have an assigned drive letter and that is not labeled as System Reserved.

The System Reserved drive is reserved by Windows.

  • Right-click the drive and click Change drive letter and paths…Click Add and then click OK to select the first available drive letter.
  • If the Change drive letter and paths… option is not available, make sure that the drive is Online.
  • If the drive is Offline, right-click the disk number and click Online.

Method 4: Your USB drive may be corrupted. This method applies to Disk Drives, hard drives, USB flash drives or CD and DVD drives.

Your USB disk may be corrupted, to check for a corrupted disk, plug the disk into another computer to see if the disk is seen in Windows Explorer on that computer. Make sure that you have the driver installed.

If the device is still not seen in Windows Explorer on the alternate computer, the disk may be corrupted. Some hardware manufacturers do offer hardware testing software that may help to access and detect test for issues on their hardware. Visit the hardware manufacturers website and search for any helpful testing software.

Method 5: Corrupted registry keys may be causing issues with connecting to your CD or DVD drive. This method applies to CD and DVD drives

Corrupted registry keys may be causing your CD or DVD drive not to be seen by Windows. An automated Fix it is available to resolve this issue.

To run this Fix it, follow the steps listed in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: 982116 Your CD drive or DVD drive is missing or is not recognized by Windows or other programs.

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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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