Drive Lettering




This really is the era of  "Plug and play"  computing,  certainly with USB.  We have USB Printers, scanners, Harddrives, joysticks, game pads, steering wheels and even coffee cup heaters .. where will it all end?

Well sadly quite a few people are starting to get the odd problem,  This relates to an email I received from a distant friend.

"When I plug in my USB flash stick,  I Do You hear a bling-blong,  but no drive appears in My Computer.  The same USB flash stick comes up perfectly on another computer.  Any ideas?"

Well,  there might be quite a simple solution to this problem.  When you hook up a USB drive of any sort,  the system has to first recognize that something was plugged in  (the "bling-blong" you hear),  then it needs to verify that it can detect exactly what the specifics of the drive are.  What maybe happening is actually a drive lettering issue,  and here are the steps to both verify that and how to correct it so that you can always see your USB drive.

1)  Plug in your USB drive and wait for the "bling-blong" to verify the system has detected and is ready to work with the drive.

2)  Go to Start-Settings-Control Panel  (this can be slightly different depending how your computer is setup),  but basically get into the Control Panel.

3)  There are 2 ways to get to the next section depending on how your Control Panel is setup:
a)  If you are using Category View:  Select Performance and Maintenance,  then choose Administrative Tools
b)  If you are using Classic View:  Select Administrative Tools.

4)  Select Computer Management from the new choices shown.

5)  Under the Storage heading select Disk Management.

6)  The right side of your screen should now show whatever drives are connected to your system.  At the bottom  (generally a grey background section)  you should see a list of drives  (Disk 0,  CD-ROM 0,  etc).  One of those drives you should be able to see as your USB drive.

7)  Right click on the USB drive  (either the title box or the details box where it tells you the file system type  (FAT, FAT32, NTFS).

8)  Select  "Change Drive Letters and Paths..."  from the context menu that shows up.

9)  Click the CHANGE button and select a new drive letter  (this is where I believe the problem resides,  your USB drive is attempting to use a drive letter that is in use by another drive,  like your CD-ROM possibly,  and so your system can't "see" the data because when you click on the drive letter it shows you the CD drive and not the USB drive.

10)  Choose a drive letter from the dropdown box  (you can pick whatever you want,)  I tend to set my USB drives to use drive letter U (for USB) on all my systems,  then I always know where my USB drive will show up.

11)  You will get a Confirm pop-up box warning you that  "Changing the drive letter of a volume might cause programs to no longer run. Are you sure you want to change this drive letter?"  click on Yes and the drive letter will change.  (This would only be a problem if you actually had programs installed to the USB drive and will not affect 99% of the population.)

12)  Now return to My Computer and check for the new drive letter and you should be able to see your USB data.  Any time you plug in the drive it should in the future show up as the drive letter you just assigned.

You can use this method on ANY computer you might plug the USB drive into if you always want to see it as the same drive letter.  And as a final note,  the drive showed up when you booted the system with the USB stick already plugged in as during bootup it automatically rolled it over to a new drive letter and thus let you see your data.



DiggerJoe








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