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Windows 7 Pro x64, my external hard drive is a Western Digital Caviar Black.

The hard drive is connected via USB (tried all my 2.0 and 3.0 ob my Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7) but once I initialized it in the "disk management" (or whatever the proper term is; I'm using a German edition of Windows) I have to assign it a manual drive letter. Otherwise it doesn't show up.

I'm confused because usually externally connected drives (be it USB sticks or real hard disks) just show up as "Removable media", but this one doesn't.

Is this OK/expected? Will there be troubles when I go to another Windows computer?

I formatted the drive with quick format and NTFS. I changed the permissions to have read/write for "Everyone" on that drive.

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3 Answers 3

USB flash drives show up as removable media because they are made using flash RAM, so it's like a memory card rather than a actual drive. A hard drive on the other hand, is well, a hard drive, not flash RAM (SSD's are also just like flash drives for the most part), therefore for the computer to recognize the mass storage unit you connected to it, it requires a drive letter, even if via USB, since to the computer unless you are attempting to install a OS on the drive, will see it as a normal hard drive.

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Yes this is as expected, external hard drive enclosures without cart systems are considered by the system as "Local Drives".

I like to set up my letters for them at the far end of the alphabet so they will re-acquire their previously assigned letter, which they usually do. Other recognition and lettering issues with USB external hard drives have existed for some people due to the drive having the exact same ID as another drive, which was also a solvable issue.

Safe removal for the drive (or usb device) will still be available for the drive, similar to a USB flash stick.

I removed my comment because I was over-thinking it to another actual problem.

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The HDD is there, but sometimes when doing this windows will assign a drive letter that already exists. Find the volume in disk management (start/run/diskmgmt.msc) If you can't find it, unplug the drive and look for the volume that disappears. Once you have found it right click it and and assign a drive letter that you know isn't used, or just set it to Q: if available.

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