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I frequently have to connect and disconnect hard disks to my PC by USB to transfer files. Sometimes Windows detects the attached USB device, installs it, but doesn't mount it.

I thought one solution could be to delete hidden devices stored in Device Manager, but that doesn't solve the problem.

How can I solve the problem and what is the cause?

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Have you check autorun settings? – M'vy Apr 5 '11 at 9:00

If you mean it does detect the device and you can browse it manually using windows explorer, but does not automatically open it using the windows AutoPlay function, see this article to re enable the Autolay function.

Scroll down about half way to find the fixit icons, use this to restore the autoplay function.


enter image description here

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thank you for the answer, but this is not my case; the device is detected and installed, appears USB icon in the task bar but I don't see the folder mapped in computer resorce. – maxim Apr 7 '11 at 14:13

See these two articles :

A computer that is running Windows XP cannot detect a USB flash drive, an Apple iPod, or an external hard disk drive

Why doesn't my computer detect my new USB device when I'm running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003?

Both contain a FixIt that will fix the registry problem for you, and also manual registry-editing instructions.

It is recommended to create first a system restore point, just in case, to be able to return to the current situation in case of a problem.

It can of course also be that the unrecognized disks require a driver that you don't have.

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I have tried your suggestion but the problem persists ... – maxim Apr 7 '11 at 14:14
Have you looked at the manufacturer's website to see if they have a driver, or did the USB come with a driver CD ? – harrymc Apr 7 '11 at 14:48
Unfortunately no, it is simply a normal hard disk SATA connected with USB adapter. – maxim Apr 11 '11 at 6:57
I have added a 2nd Microsoft FixIt link. – harrymc Apr 11 '11 at 8:39
Thank you for the link, but nothing again. I have tried to attach another hard disk and it works well; it seems the problem is relative to that hard disk, as if it remembers the problem. – maxim Apr 11 '11 at 13:09

From own experience, try plug your usb cable to your usb harddisk with a greater force.

I have experience of usb harddisk not showing up in my computer, however, when I plug in the usb harddisk, I always heard a sound "dong dong" from my usb harddisk, indicating that their are connected successfully. But the drive is not showing up in "My Computer". Ultimately I found someone suggested to plug the usb cable with greater force so that they make a better contact.

And I tried that and it is successful. Try it.

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Sometimes XP won't automount a drive if there is an assigned drive letter conflict. These steps have worked for me in this situation:

  1. Open the Device Manager by right-clicking "My Computer" > Manage
  2. Mount the drive with Action > Scan for hardware changes
  3. Map the drive to a different letter in the Disk Management subsection by right-clicking the drive > Change Drive Letter and Paths…
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