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XP Device Manager sees USB Mass Storage Device but no drive letter allocated

Posted on 2006-06-27
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I have just bought an IDE/SATA to USB cable so that I can access a pile of old IDE hard drives without opening the case of my PC.  Some of them work immediately, with the drive being recognised, a letter being allocated, and the contents being accessible in Explorer just as if it was any other drive or a USB memory stick.

However most of the drives are recognized by Device Manager as a USB mass storage device, but no drive letter is allocated making them inaccessible.  These old drives were all used with Windows 98 and were formatted with FAT32.  

Disk management doesn't recognize them either.  I have tried on a number of machines running XP or Win 2000.

The drives need to be set as master which I have done in each case but still no luck - recognized as a USB device but that's all.

Any suggestions on how I can access the data on these old drives without having to physically reinstall them?
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Question by:Bloodrule
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by:Watzman
ID: 16997623
They may need to be formatted and partitioned.  Does Disk Management show the drive?  If so, what does it say about the partitions?  If these were formatted on an older computer using CHS addressing (or non-standard LBA, or any kind of software (Disk Manager, etc.), the partitions may not be recognized, even though the drives will be.  You may need to reformat/repartition on the XP system.

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by:gbirkemeier
ID: 16997639
Check the jumpers on the drive. Make sure they are in the MASTER position.
Some drives will only work if the jumpers are completely removed.
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by:Bloodrule
ID: 16997772
Thanks for your answers.  Disk Management does not show the drive(s).  I wanted to avoid partitioning and formatting if possible as that will defeat the purpose of me wanting to retrieve the old data on them.

I have ensured the jumpers are in Master position.  If not, the drive isn't even recognized by Device Manager.
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gbirkemeier earned 500 total points
ID: 16998079
Try removing all of the jumpers. Sound odd, but I have seen it work several times.
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by:Bloodrule
ID: 16998309
That worked!  Thank you for saving me from many hours of frustration!
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by:gbirkemeier
ID: 16998322
Glad I could help.

Thanks
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