Desktop Can't See External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by glorya, Nov 25, 2007.

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  1. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    I can't use Acronis 9.0 build 3854 because my desktop can't "see" the external hard drive in My Computer or Explorer.

    I have a Dell Dimension 8400 Intel Pentium 4CPU 3.00 GHZ WIN-XP SP2 Home Edition and it is running okay. I purchased a Western Digital My Book 250GB Essential USB 2.0 external hard drive as a backup resource for files from this Dell. The problem is that my Dell won't let me see the hard drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer; however, the external hard drive (EHD) is shown in Disk Management and Device Manager as F Drive and shows it as being "healthy" and "active". I have been on the phone with Western Digital and after they determined there isn't anything wrong with the EHD, they said there is something wrong with Windows on my machine that won't allow it to be displayed. I can place files on the EHD through a convoluted way of dragging them to a shortcut that I was able to place on my desktop; but that isn't the answer and doesn't always work. There is nothing wrong with the EHD because I tried it on my laptop and it registers there ... but not on my desktop where all my files are that I would like copied. I have also changed the drive to "M" from "F" but the same problem lingered ... so I renamed it F again.

    Is there a way that I can get my desktop to recognize the EHD in My Computer and Windows Explorer so I can get on with copying my files using Acronis? Thank you.
     
  2. mustang

    mustang Developer

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    I had the exact same problem with a Windows system some time ago. Western Digital is correct. Your Windows is broken. I was never able to fix this problem. Doing a Repair install of Windows on top of the existing system just introduced other problems. Ultimately, I reformatted and did a clean install of Windows. Problem solved. It was a long way to go to fix a minor problem, but it worked.
     
  3. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    Oh boy, I was hoping that there was a more simple solution. My Windows is OEM. I am not that computer savvy and wonder if it would be worth it for me. I don't have anyone that can help me. I am wondering if when you reinstall, do you lose all your files from other programs such as Roboform, Incredimail, etc. etc. etc.?
     
  4. mustang

    mustang Developer

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    You will loose all you programs and all data on you C: drive. Don't even think about doing this if you don't know what you're doing.
     
  5. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    I know you are 100% correct with that advice not to do anything ... I would probably "implode." Maybe there is another solution out there for me. I hope someone can come up with it. Meanwhile, I will sail along and wait. Thank you.
     
  6. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Try some housecleaning software like CCleaner, including the simple Registry cleaner in it. You might also want to get a stronger registry cleaner and even the free Clean My Registry might do wonders. Wouldn't hurt to run a spyware cleaner too.
     
  7. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Another thing you could try would be to disconnect all your USB devices, uninstall all the USB Controller drivers in Device Manager, then reboot and let Windows reinstall the drivers. Finally, plug in the USB Drive and see if it shows up.

    If that doesn't work, when you have the USB Drive plugged in, open Device Manager and uninstall the entry for the USB Drive. Then unplug the drive, reboot and plug the drive back in.
     
  8. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    You wouldn't believe how paranoid I am: I have a multitude of spyware programs, AVG anti virus, Ad Aware, Reg Supreme Pro for my reg cleaner, etc. etc. etc. and I run them faithfully. I am "almost" 100% that I am free of malware, spyware, etc. I use Comodo BO clean as well as its firewall. I also clean my temp files, etc. on a regular basis "just in case."
     
  9. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    I would like to try that BUT if I disconnected all my USB devices, how could I control anything (I use a mouse). Would I just go to "Universal Serial Bus Controllers" and delete all of them or one at a time? I am so uncertain and plead ignorance but I willing to learn and follow "explicit" directions.
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Is your keyboard also USB?
    Does your computer have a PS2 keyboard port? If so, then you could plug in a PS2 keyboard (if you have one) just for this and unplug everything else. If your mouse stops working during the process, finish with the keyboard and then reboot. A PS2 mouse would also be an option if you have the port and the mouse.

    You could also disconnect everything USB, except the mouse and keyboard. Set your BIOS to USB Legacy Mode On and then boot into the Safe Mode of Windows. Once in Safe Mode, open the Device Manager and remove the USB controller drivers (yes, one at a time) until they're gone (I think removing the "controller" entries will remove the "device" entries associated with them). Then reboot, set the BIOS back to whatever the Legacy Mode was set too, save the changes, reboot into Windows Normal Mode. It should reinstall the drivers.

    Most computers have more than one Controller installed. You could uninstall them one at a time and reboot between and see what happens. If you uninstall the controller your mouse is connected to, plug your mouse into a different port to finish.
     
  11. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    You might look at this link.

    http://www.everythingusb.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=9488

    I received several hits when doing a google search for
    drive does not show in Explorer

    Until you find the correct solution, you can try entering the drive letter f:\ into the open Explorer Window.

    I would also run error checking on the drive,
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2007
  12. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    Oh my goodness! This will really be "some doing" for me. I don't know if I am capable. As I mentioned, I am really a novice and I realize your instructions are explicit, but I don't know if I can do it. I am sooooooooooo hesitant. I will have to think this over very, very carefully.
     
  13. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    GroverH: I read the informational link you supplied, thank you. I also did a search for "sptd.sys" on my pc as was suggested but it is not on my system. I had my fingers crossed but, alas, it was not to be. I have Adobe Acrobat Reader 8,1 and Adobe Flash player. I do use these programs so don't want to get rid of them. If anything can be said, "at least I am not alone" in this dilemma. Your link was the first I saw that addressed my problem also. I have bookmarked it and will keep it available to see if someone comes up with an answer there. Thank you.
     
  14. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    If you want to start simple, first try this:
    • Boot into Windows
    • Connect the USB hard drive
    • Open the Device Manager
    • Find your USB hard drive in the list of drives
    • Right-click on it and select to Uninstall
    • Find your USB drive in the "Universal Serial Bus controllers" section
    • It should be listed as a "Mass Storage Device" if it's there. If it is, uninstall it
    • After the uninstallation is complete, disconnect the drive and restart Windows
    • After Windows is restarted, reconnect the USB hard drive
    -----

    Another thing to try...
    • Restart Windows in Safe Mode
    • Restart Windows in Normal Mode
    Sometimes that will sort out a misplaced or messed up driver.
     
  15. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    One thing I would also try would be to use a usb connector on the rear of the computer case. Often times, this provides a better connection.

    Any chance you have another usb cable which you could try.

    None of the above has any guarantees but it is another step in isolation of problem.
     
  16. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

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    A thought – Since the drive shows up in Disk Management and Device Manager I believe that would rule out USB issues in that Windows is recognizing the drive. The specific letter that is assigned is not important at this point.

    If the file ‘sptd.sys’ is by chance a hidden file, and I don’t know that, a search will not find it unless the search parameters are set to include hidden files.
     
  17. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Is it possible the external is assigned a drive letter already in use. I've seen this happen in a few situations. LIke, set up a USB drive on one machine then on another it won't show up except in disk management. Reassigning drive letter wil fix this. Just thought I'd mention it.

     
  18. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

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    In a posting above shieber has suggested that a drive letter problem can cause similar issues. I have never seen this but he has so this is a good point that he makes.

    As mustang suggests your most likely option for success is to re-load Windows. I realize that is not an attractive option but with that in mind have you looked to see if you have the tools to do that? Reading the manual for restore options might be wise. Do you have the Dell Dimension 8400 OEM CD? Dell appears to have different options to do this. I saw one of these similar 8400 PC’s that had an option to create a restore CD by going into the Start menu and locating a Dell entry, not sure what it was called, and this provided the option of creating the restore CD via a CD burner. Once this was done the option to create it was removed. Simply a one-time issue.

    In Summary:

    · Be prepared for the worst case – do the homework about having to restore to the original configuration as purchased and make certain that you have the tools to do so.
    · Back up your personal files to some form of media, realizing that all programs will have to be re-installed.

    To follow is a procedure that I wrote to assist in trouble shooting conflicts in Device Manager. Using True Image as an example and having uninstalled and re-installed it many times, I have found multiple entries for Acronis Virtual HDD under the Disk drives category. Does this cause a problem ? Don’t know. With this situation if you mount an image one of these multiple entries will become a solid instead of being grayed out. The grayed out ones can be deleted.

    Windows XP Device Manager Additions

    Reference:
    The operating system applied is Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2 (SP2) and configured for the Classic view. It is understood that any key strokes referenced in the following may be somewhat different or may not apply when using other operating systems or configurations.

    The Problem:
    Previous software and hardware installations with subsequent uninstallations or removal can cause conflicts to develop in that although it might appear that the results were successful the operating system might believe that they still exist and as such can cause conflicts. These are frequently referred to as 'ghosted devices' (a generic term).

    Of interest here is the addition of two new entries in the 'System variables' section. Go to Start > Run and type in the file name sysdm.cpl and press OK. Select the Advanced tab > Environment Variables button. Look for the System variables box in the lower half of the screen. These are added by selecting the New button and adding the data shown. These must be entered exactly as shown and are:
    · DEVMGR_SHOW_DETAILS, set the Value = 1
    · devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices, set the Value = 1

    Results:
    The show details entry indicated above adds a Details tab on a piece of hardware in Device Manager that displays some info about the device. This is not particularily useful in that the same info is available in System Information. Nevertheless it doesn’t hurt to have it here. Of greater significance is the second entry to show nonpresent devices. With this in place opening Device Manager and selecting Show Hidden Devices in the View pulldown at the top, 'ghosted' devices of previously installed hardware and later removed may be displayed. To open Device Manager go to Start > Run and enter the file name devmgmt.msc. Press OK. Select the View button at the top. Pull down and check 'Show hidden devices'. All detected devices will now be displayed. Some will display as a solid and some will be grayed out. The grayed out devices are thought to exist but are not presently active. Click the (+) box to the left of a category to expand the item. In previous systems ghosted devices had to be viewed in Safe mode. Look for and question duplicates if they exist.

    A word of caution or perhaps a disclaimer:
    Identify any red or yellow error symbols that might exist. These potentially need to be corrected. Grayed out devices can be disabled or uninstalled if you are certain that the device doesn't exist. Making an error here can create system problems that can be difficult to correct. Do not modify any entry that you don't fully understand. Better to ask questions at this point. Think of this as a window for identifying potential issues.
     
  19. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    Eureka: I read this information below from another source and thought I would try it in reverse. Using Tweak UI, I checked and unchecked boxes and then I looked at both Explorer and My computer. Yup, Drive F is now operational. Thank you all for your help. The answer to my wishes ... and a very simple solution. I hope it helps someone else.

    Hide Phantom Drives
    SUMMARY: Hide drives from Windows XP that don't really exist.

    When browsing your Windows XP computer using Explorer, have you ever noticed icons appear that don't actually correlate to installed hard drives or backup devices? These phantom drives can be somewhat of a nuisance when navigating your machine, and they can also slow your operating system down as it constantly tries to find files on these devices that don't exist. To remove these phantom drives:

    1. Download and run Tweak UI for Windows XP using the tips mentioned in MalekTips.
    2. Click the "My Computer" link.
    3. Underneath, click the "Drives" link.
    4. Uncheck boxes next to drives that you know do not exist on your system.
    5. Click "OK" when done
     
  20. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

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    Happy to hear that you were successful. The only downside in using TweakUI to do this is that the conflict still exists. By unchecking a drive box TweakUI has instructed Windows to not look at it.
     
  21. glorya

    glorya Registered Member

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    Perhaps I didn't explain myself clearly enough. Using Tweak UI under My Computer and Drives, there was no checkmark in Drive F. I put one there, and I believe that was the answer. I can now see the drive in Explorer and My Computer. There were other check marks for drives there and I knew that I didn't have drives for them. They must have been leftovers when I would plug in something and not use the icon to safely remove hardware. Anyway, that is what "I think" happened. I don't believe the problem lingers anymore. Again, thank you all for the time you spent to help me. I hope this will aid someone else without fretting as long as I did with this problem.
     
  22. Bruce Mahnke

    Bruce Mahnke Registered Member

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    I understand. Yes, drive F needed to be checked. In fact by default all drives are checked whether they are used or not. This allows you to have the ability to add a new one and get an assignment. I see no advantage in unchecking any of them. Glad it worked out successfully.
     
  23. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    And without having to do a dreaded reload on Win!

    It seems that the drive was tagged as Hidden (or, if you prefer, untagged as viewable) and TUI let's one change that tagging. A good tip to remember.

     
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