Windows Legacy OS forum


External Hard drive Not found Under My Computer

by AmnaP / January 4, 2012 1:26 AM PST

Hi there I have recently done a clean install of Windows XP SP3 on a Dell c521 (Downgraded from a Vista) after downloading all the right drivers for it to get it to scratch i wanted to transfer data from my external hard drive onto the XP. the hard drive is found in device manager (as USB mass storage) and disk management (but there is not actual label attached to it) but does not appear in My Computer. it does not give me the option to change disk drive letter if i back click the option in disk management there are no options highlighted.The hard drive works on other pcs so cant be down to corrupt files etc. help! tried everything possibleHard Drive Lacie By S+arck (320gb)

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All Answers

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First test. Link, comment.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 4, 2012 1:38 AM PST
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Re: hard drive invisible
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 5, 2012 4:42 PM PST

If that hard drive works on another PC, then the first things I would do:
1. Try another hard drive and a USB-stick on this PC, to see if something is wrong with it (such as broken hardware or not installing all the right drivers).
2. Go back to Vista (system recovery) and see if it works there. If it does, your XP installation simply isn't OK. Then retry once and give up if still doesn't work.

Just in case the issue indicates a failing drive I certainly would copy off all the contents on another PC. You write that still works. And it gives you the freedom to experiment with repartitioning and formatting on that XP machine.


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Use Disk Management to assign a drive letter.
by fjord_fox / January 7, 2012 2:39 AM PST

You said that you have found it in Disk Manager, so you do know how to open Disk Manager, so why don't you assign a drive letter? If you have it partitioned, as I have mine, for each drive, right-click and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths" and then assign a drive letter from there.

Here's another trick in drive letter assignment.
Iif you assign it as drive E: (assuming that your hard drive is not partitioned, and your DVD player is drive D:) then when you unplug it and then later plug in a flash drive, the flash drive would be drive E, and then if you plug in the external hard drive while the flash drive is plugged in, it would now be drive F.
If you want it to always be the same drive letter each time you plug it in, assign a unique drive letter to it as far away from C as possible and let it be the only thing to which you assign that drive letter.
For example, I have a SanDisc flash drive, and by the crazy way they make it, it takes up TWO drive letters, so I assigned it as drives Y and Z. Then, I have an external hard drive, which I partitioned into 3 drives. I assigned that as drives S, T, and U. You can choose any letters you want to, but if you want ti to always be the same each time it's plugged in, don't use thaqt drive letter for any other device.

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by fjord_fox / January 7, 2012 2:50 AM PST

I'm sorry, I did read the whole thing, but now that I have posted (and cannot delete), I see that you HAVE already tried to assign a drive letter, but it was grayed out.

In that case, I cannot refer you to the correct webpage, because although you're telling the make and model of your computer, this is not about that, and you're not telling the make and model of the external hard drive. Now I need to tell you where to look, rather than to provide a link...
You need to go to the website of the manufacturer of the external hard drive.
Then you need to click on Support.
See if the is an option for Downloads and click on it.
They may have a special driver that you need to download and install.
Western Digital does have one. I know that because I helped someone else on another website with the same problem.

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