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External USB storage devices with Vista


I lent ,y computer to my sister for a week, she was using a USB flash drive on it with no problems. I was using external hard drives beforehand on a daily basis with the computer - which has Windows Vista on it.

Since I have got it back my hard drives are not recognised, when I plug it in nothing happens, the computer works fine until I go on 'My computer' to view the drive, nothing is visible and the computer freezes. My computer closes and everything disappears, task bar etc, only the desktop and IE windows remain visible. I have to turn off the PC.

I've been looking for solutions, Ive cleaned the registry using Registry Booster 2 and also found solutions on forums involving the usbstor.inf file. I have made sure this is in the C:\WINDOWS\INF folder. Still hard drives are not recognised. Its really frustrating, in safe mode I can view and open the drives. Any ideas please,
kind regards, Alix

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2 ideas.

In reply to: External USB storage devices with Vista

1. Boot up your LINUX CD and see if Linux sees the drives.
2. Look at System Restore to when it worked.

If you end up using hard disk recovery software, try ZERO ASSUMPTION RECOVERY or GETDATABACK (see google for links.)

And a parting thought. Maybe they mapped drives to the letters you used on the USB drives. Fix? Un map all shares, reboot.


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Unsure what to do

In reply to: 2 ideas.

Thanks for the reply Bob.
1. I dont have a Linux CD and have no experience with it.
2. I tried system restore - to earliest date available and that still didnt work

The drives work on another PC so I dont think I'll need recovery software just yet will I :S As for mapping sister wouldnt have done anything other than plug it in. She said the batteries went on my mouse so she unplugged that and put a USB one in, Im thinking that has something to do with it...but she said she plugged it in and it worked straight away. She changed the mouse on it Friday morning and Friday evening I couldnt use external drives..very strange. Any other suggestions?

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Un map anyway.

In reply to: Unsure what to do

Who knows if that's it unless we do that. As to Linux it's a possibility and easy to do. Linux CDs are free to download and requires no Linux know-how. Read an example at

The reason for that test is to see if all your hardware is working. If you don't see the drive in Linux then it adds to the possibility of disabled or blown ports.


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Still no luck

In reply to: Un map anyway.

Not tried the Linux idea yet, but I have unistalled all USB ports and windows detected them fine, still not working with Mass Storage Devices, other USB items i.e. wireless adapter and webcam are fine - so the ports are ok. Really no idea what to do now :S

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Let's ask this.

In reply to: Still no luck

Are you trying to fix it yourself to the point of trying Linux?

If not then take the drive and the laptop to a service counter. The test I noted is to give direction to whether it's a software glitch or hardware failure. Sometimes you have to dive in and if not you head to the repair counters.


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Tried that :)

In reply to: Let's ask this.

Took it to a repair shop today..they got the drive working on a vista laptop straight away - but still nothing on mine. The guy couldnt think of anything to do other than clean install of the OS. Wanted

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I'm a little unclear.

In reply to: Tried that :)

So the drive works on YOUR LAPTOP? Or not? The linux test is how I can test USB ports and more without touching the owner's hard disk.


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Yep - works on laptop

In reply to: I'm a little unclear.

Yes the drive works on a XP and Vista system..just not mine...its not just one drive..its all flash drives, ext hard drives, ipod etc...anything mass storage basically.

The USB ports are fine..they except mice..webcams, the lot.

Been put off linux now reading up on it so I will continue to fiddle with it until a friend has time to look at it. Hopefully I find a solution first Happy

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"The USB ports are fine..they except mice..webcams, the lot.

In reply to: Yep - works on laptop

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Had a read through

In reply to: "The USB ports are fine..they except mice..webcams, the lot.

Interesting, I will try and get into the Bios and see what I can find...if you knew my sister though you would understand that any deliberate change is out the question, could this happen without her input...seems strange that I had used the drives for months before and she was using her flash drive on it whilst she was using it.

I will see what I can come up with..thanks for your continued support

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Not much luck in the Bios

In reply to: Had a read through

Got into the Bios and didnt make any noticeable changes, changed something regarding USB waking computer - that had no effect, only other thing about Legacy as you mentioned was Legacy Diskette or something along those lines, there was no reference to USB with it.

Windows Explorer is crashing occasionally even when there is no USB drive attached so it could be something that isnt only directly caused by mass storage devices.. Im at my wits end!

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This is why I use Linux for a test run.

In reply to: Not much luck in the Bios

It's cheaper than obtaining a new mainboard for a test swap...


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In reply to: Not much luck in the Bios

In a round about way - found an old Acronis True Image backup of my hard drive - well the windows partition, and managed to eventually restore it - glad I took that image file now - will do this more often from now on! Thanks for your help Bob, still unclear what the problem was though haha

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