I had a Seagate 16TB hard drive connected to a SATA port on my Windows 10 computer. I will call this Drive A. I wanted to put in a different Seagate 16TB hard drive, Drive B, same brand, model size, etc., to do a quick file transfer to it. This drive is a backup drive, and was about 80-90% full after I backed up to it last week.

I powered off, unplugged drive A, put drive B in, and booted. The computer recognized it incorrectly as Drive A. So I shut down, put in a completely different hard drive, Drive C, on this same SATA port, thinking it would help the computer realize I am changing the drive on that port. Did that, booted, the drive was correct, shut down.

I put Drive B back in, and it still being recognized as Drive A. In Windows Explorer, it shows the Drive A file structure. In WinDirStat, it shows as blank.

This happened to me before when switching between drives of the exact same brand, model, size.

Can anyone help explain what is happening? And more importantly, how do I get the drive to be properly recognized? Thanks in advanced.

  • Can you try rebooting instead of shutting down? Mar 21 at 20:13
  • 1
    Recognized it incorrectly? What do you mean by this? Did it assign it the same drive letter, or something else? Can you please clarify this part of your question? Mar 21 at 20:13
  • so you are saying that the computer is somehow caching information about the file system for drive A between cold boots even when that drive is not physically connected to the system? Assuming neither A nor B is the system volume.
    – Yorik
    Mar 21 at 20:17
  • 1
    Try to disable Fast Startup.
    – harrymc
    Mar 21 at 20:47
  • Will try rebooting instead of shutdown and startup. Mar 21 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


quick file transfer using drag-n-drop, or backup software? Is Drive B brand new or have you used it before, and did you manually format Drive B before copying files?

backup software will often retain the file hierarchy (like when cloning), but drag/drop will go where you put it..

WinDirStat says its empty.. try exploring the drive in cmd prompt.

with both drives in, using cmd,

cd to the drive in question (ex. >cd /d J:\Path\to\some\folder) dir to list the contents and see if its blank like WinDirStat says

if it contains the data youre looking for, it may be caused by a disk attribute, permission, or an ACL configuration.

  • Drag and Drop file transfer using WinMerge, no backup software involved. I will try and re-create this and use cmd prompt to explore the drives. Mar 22 at 12:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .