New Maxtor External Hard Drive listed as Unknown, Not Initialized, and Unallocated.

Posted on 2006-04-29
Last Modified: 2009-06-25
Hi, Im running XP without SP2.
Just bought a USB2/PCI card and a Maxtor 300G one touch external drive (USB2 connection and A/C powered). My Seagate 5G external drive is recognized (on the new USB) and runs markedly faster than it did on USB 1.1 but with that message, "high speed device plugged into non high speed..."
The Maxtor has not been assigned a drive letter. In Disk Management it shows up as Disk 1 Unknown 279.47 GB Not Initialized -- and Unallocated.
Do I initialize it? How do I get a drive letter?
I did run SP2 but the result was the same so I "ghosted" back to my original set up.
I did try PowerMax but it didn't solve the problem.

Question by:fredshovel
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    There's no risk in formatting the new drive - there's no data on it yet.  :)  Just assign a drive letter to it, format it, and away you (should) go.

    You should run XPSP2 and all of the latest updates.  Is there a particular reason you don't run XPSP2?
    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    When you initialize the drive, there will following steps for you to assign drive letter, partition, format.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    >>  Do I initialize it?  << yes, right clikc on the drive in disk management, select initialise, later select partition, format as required

    >>  How do I get a drive letter  << in disk management, right click the drive, select assign drive letter
    i suggest selecting drive letters at the end of the alphabet, like X, Y or Z to avoid confusion if you add devices later
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Please be carefull adding USB2 ports to a system that has USB1.1 ports. Especially if the chipsets are from the same brand. I screwed up my PC because the USB1.1 drivers recognised the USB 1.1-part of the USB2 ports and simply claimed them. Endresult was that the real USB2 drivers didn't found any available ports and refused to work.

    As the sytem nearly frose when I connected an USB-2 device, I started investigation and found out downgrading the Windows kernel to 'Standard' insted of ACPI-Compiant would probably solve the problem. Unfortunately it didn't and there was no way of upgrading the kernel again to ACPI.

    In the end I got it working by disabling any USB1.1 port in the BIOS, and replacing the USB1.1 drivers with the USB2.0 drivers manually, ignoring the 'Windows cannot ensure....' message. But as my Windows was so screwed-up I had to reinstall it. (I don't like the 'It is now save to turn of your computer' message.)

    So ensure your 1.1 drivers didn't claim the 2.0 ports.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment


    Incorrect drivers can be an issue.  Another solution to that problem would have been to manually update the device drivers in Device Manager, or disable all USB in the motherboard's BIOS so you'd know what devices were 2.0 (ie the ones left) ,then update the driver appropriately.

    Changing the HAL shouldn't fix or change a single thing relating to this problem.   And yes, that will cause all kind of ACPI/IRQ/Shutdown issues.

    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Of course I updated the drivers to the newest version ofcourse, but without success. And disabling them in Windows wasn't an option either, as the driver for the onboard ports claimed the other ports as well, so they all looked similar. There was no way to tell which port was where. (Especially because connecting a device meant a nearly-frosen system)

    I changed the HAL because the symtoms I had after inserting the USB-2 card where similar to some other problems I found on the web, for which a HAL downgrade was a solution. (PC was terribly slow, while CPU was IDLE and there was plenty of memory left.)

    But were not talking about my (already fixed) problem... I only wrote that as a no-go route to show some pitfalls and mistakes I made (and from which I learned). But thanks anyway.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Just be aware that forcing the HAL isn't supported:, and any discussing around doing so should bear that caveat.  Bad things happen, as you saw.

    I agree with what you did concerning USB2 and disabling the motherboard USB to ensure your driver update only hit the USB2 card; that's a good way to solve the problem.  The INFs used by the vendor for the driver install were appearently too generic; you found a good solution.  
    LVL 22

    Author Comment

    Thanks for all the input. There's a lot of great tips there. dclive hit the G (gigabyte) spot with his initial response -- thanks for the wrap on the knuckles; revisiting SP2 seems to have fixed up the USB messages.

    The Maxtor one touch is now formatted and shows up in my Windows Explorer.
    For what it's worth, it's in a Vibe case. It's a beast.

    Thanks again,


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