My PC running Win XP Pro (sp 1) has an "In Win" brand "CR-i530" model internal 8-in-1 memory card reader / USB port / Firewire Port / Mic Port. The whole thing fits in a floppy drive bay. http://www.in-win.com.tw/home/english/card_reader.php#
The rub is that the memory card part of it ran just fine for weeks. Now XP no longer sees the memory card virtual drives for reading the memory cards. Although the device has a Firewire port on it, all the memory card hardware is run through USB.
The USB port on the device still works just fine, so I know that the device is communicating with the motherboard. \ Control Panel \ System \ Hardware \ Device Manager reports nothing wrong. If the motherboard can communicate with the device, why doesn't it see the card reader slots? It did before. I can't think of a single change to the system concurrent with the loss of the virtual drives.
The CR-i530 ships with a cd rom, which I've reinstalled several times. On an XP system, I *think* (not sure) that the only thing that this install really does is make registry edits so that the virtual drives have icons visible in Windows Explorer which look like the type of memory card which fits in each virtual drive, to make it easier to remember which drive letter has the Sony Memory Stick, which one has the IBM Micro Drive, etc., etc.
If I plug an external memory card reader writer (San Disk Imagemate 8-in-1 http://www.sandisk.com/retail_eightinone.html
into the USB port of the CR-i530, then my external reader/writer works just fine. The SanDisk's virtual drives show up just fine. Again, this shows that the communication between motherboard and the CRi-530 is not impaired. (Communication *within* the CR-i530 is another issue, but it's a sealed unit).
It may not be relevant, but I use a virtual CD Rom sharing / serving program called CD Rom Emulator (http://www.cdrom-emulator.com/
). It lets me put all my software cds on a file server so that I can lock all the original discs in a closet where they won't disappear, but I can still access them from any workstation in the office if I need to install/reinstall anything. Anyway, CDRom Emulator *also* creates virtual drives, similar to the ones which are created when you put a memory card reader/writer in your system. The CD Rom Emulator has not lost any of its virtual drives.
I've posted this in the XP area intead of the hardware area, because I believe that this is a software / driver issue. If the hardware were truly screwed up, I would think that the USB port on the device would no longer function. Since it does, I susptect software.