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I'm running WinXP SP2. Around 50% of the time, when I slot in my USB drive. Windows explorer refuses to show the drive.

  1. If I click on the Safely remove hardware icon on the tray,
    I can see a menu item for the drive - say drive G: (the light on the USB drive is also on)
  2. If I type in G: into the address bar of explorer,
    it says 'Cannot find...'
  3. If I type in G: into a command prompt window,
    it works and I can do a dir to see the list of directories on the drive.

To fix this, I've to remove-reinsert the pen-drive. But doing it every day is annoying. Also this happens only on this machine.. I use this drive on my home machine and it works flawlessly each time.

Can anyone suggest things that I could try ?

Thanks for reading...

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6 Answers 6

(Just a few guesses)

  • Try reinstalling your USB drivers for that port in device manager.
  • Try using a different USB port on your computer.
  • Grab another USB drive and test it on the same port to find out if it is the drive or your computer that is making the issue. (From reading your Q it sounds like the computer but you should never assume)
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These are just things to try:

If it's always the same pendrive, try reformating it.

Also, see if there's anything you can do in the disk management utility (right-click My Computer > Manage > Disk Management.

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Firstly, do you have any network drives mapped to G:\ at any time? You can get all sorts of odd behavior by having a network drive and a USB device mapped to the same drive letter. This is why Windows assigns lower letters for removable drives, and higher ones for network drives.

That aside, here's what I would do.

  1. Backup your information and reformat the pen drive.
  2. Once the format has complete, use Disk Management to remove the drive's letter.
  3. Unplug the drive, then plug it back in.
  4. The drive should then be assigned a new letter, and all should be right with the world.
  5. If the drive isn't assigned a letter, use Disk Management to assign it a new one.

Other things to try:

  1. chkdsk /r on the affected drive. Most problems that could be fixed here would be fixed by formatting though.

  2. sfc /scannow - you may have a wonky USB driver file or file system driver. You'll need an XP CD.

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You could use the Microsoft DevCon command-line utility to do some things.

  1. devcon rescan -- Rescans for new Plug and Play devices.
  2. More examples at MSDN


I referred the drivetools site at this answer.
You will probably find an answer to your problem in the notes on that page.

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works everytime - even though i'd like a perma-fix rather than having to do something everytime. –  Gishu Sep 3 '09 at 5:41

Try refreshing the explorer window that's looking at the drives with F5 or CTRL-F5.

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this is old but I had the same problem in W7. The drive was visible in WE until I deleted all partitions and created one and formatted it NTFS.

WE did not show the drive although when I plugged it in it was acknowledged. When I went to drive mgmt it was there alive and well. the answer was simple - the drive did not have a drive letter assigned to it. Without a drive letter it is unmounted and unmounted drives do not appear in WE. Simple add a drive letter in the mgmt screen

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I'm having a hard time finding the full form of "WE".. –  Power-Inside Dec 16 '12 at 6:15

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