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This question was asked by a user on Microsoft Answers website las year, but it had no answers so far (unsurprisingly). I am facing the exact same issue.

Here are the steps to reproduce this problem using the same computer :

  1. Install Windows 7 and use additional hard drives with data on them. In my case they used to be on an XP/Vista system. There will be no problems.

  2. Next, use the hard drives back with XP/Vista. There will be no problems.

  3. Now, use the hard drives again with Windows 7 and it will install automatically device drivers for these hard drives requiring restart. After the restart the drives will not be available in My Computer and the Disk Manager will show the entire drives with unallocated disk space.

  4. Use the hard drives back with Vista and they will be fine with the data showing again.

What I don't understand is how Windows decides that certain hard drives need new device drivers. How come my drives worked perfectly right after the installation with Windows 7 but once used with Vista, then back with Windows 7 they got automatically new device drivers. And why installing device dirvers has to render the disks as unallocated space when they already have perfectly healthy working data with previous Windows systems.

This makes dual boot of almost no use when using multiple HDD systems, and such a flaw is simply unacceptable. To make a long story short, how to make W7 recognize my HDDs with the data in it AFTER I used them on an XP/Vista OS.

Original Question/Issue here

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It's important to note that the "clarification" by the original questioner makes it clear that the above is a conflation of two different incidents, on two different operating systems, with two different types of hard disc drive, exhibiting two different sets of behaviours. Describe your own problem, M. Jacobi, rather than hijacking someone else´s description that later proved to be completely misleading. – JdeBP Jun 20 '11 at 13:05
Ok. To be clear, I am not "hijacking" it, I clearly quote it. I usually take time to formulate thoroughly my questions. It just happens that I have been facing EXACTLY the same issue (on and on). From my point of view, what is written above fairly describes my situation (aside from any "clarification"). Points 1 to 4 are clear enough to me. I am ready to add any details to make things clearer. – Mika Jacobi Jun 20 '11 at 13:59
Can you list the formating of all drives in question and what interface these additional drives are using when connected to each computer. I've been using 7 for close to 2 years in prep for our upgrade from XP/Vista and have never seen this issue in out environment. – edusysadmin Jun 20 '11 at 14:14
Clarify step 2, are they used in the same PC?, any cables being changed? We need Specific and accurate details of your hardware configuration if you ever want to solve this. – Moab Jun 25 '11 at 23:14

I've seen this before. I regularly see this when I have drives setup with eSata. Generally, I never restart. But I've never had the driver just not show up. Sounds more like a motherboard problem, because technically Windows doesn't even know which drives are hooked up. BIOS does. And BIOS tell windows what drives are there.

share|improve this answer
I am confused about what the real problem was, to be honest. I ended up losing 2 hard drives that just stopped being detected by the BIOS (though they were spinning). I don't know what was the real culprit on this story. Maybe the drives were beginning to tire out (but this problem was recurrent with other drives...) – Mika Jacobi Aug 6 '11 at 9:45

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