Computers not assigning external hard drive a drive letter (both XP and Vista)

I bought a Western Digital 250GB USB external drive already installed into an enclosure.  I have plugged it into both my XP laptop and my Vista desktop.  Both computers do this:

1. Recognize that a mass storage device has been connected and installed the driver.
2. Show the existence of the device under Computer Management as "unallocated."  (The XP machine says the snapin needs restarted (which I don't know how to do)).
3. Problem - Neither computer has assigned the drive a drive letter for me to access the drive.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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if you go to the control panal> admin tools> computer manager>disk management
if there is you external drive you can click on it and change the drive letter to something later in the range like z, sometimes windows allocates nletters that ghave been uised for removable storage and canot be seen in my computer
slipstream8Author Commented:
I'm unable to change the drive letter as there is not one assigned to begin with.  I'm trying to figure out how to assign the drive a letter, any letter.
f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
Is there an option to make a partition or to activate it?
If so do it.

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can you see the drive in computer manger
if so right click on it and look at the options
The Removable Storage snap-in is ntmsmgr.msc and that's probably the snap-in the message is about.
But it might be about the Removable Storage Operator Requests snap-in, which is ntmsoprq.msc - so if starting the former doesn't get rid of the message, try the latter.

You can use Start, Run, to open either of those manually.

Removable Storage is also a service. You should be able to check its status by right-clicking My Computer, choosing Manage, then in the management console click Services under Services and Applications. On the right it'll be down in the R's... in the notebook I'm on right now it's between Remote Registry and RIP Listener.  If it's not running already, right-click on it and choose Start.
Pétur Ingi EgilssonSoftware Engineer -- ConsultantCommented:
How to assign a drive letter
To assign a drive letter to a drive, a partition, or a volume, follow these steps:
1.      Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.
2.      Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Performance and Maintenance.

Note If you do not see Performance and Maintenance, go to step 3. Performance and Maintenance appears in Control Panel only if you use Category view. If you use Classic view, Performance and Maintenance does not appear.
3.      Click Administrative Tools, double-click Computer Management, and then click Disk Management in the left pane.
4.      Right-click the drive, the partition, the logical drive, or the volume that you want to assign a drive letter to, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
5.      Click Add.
6.      Click Assign the following drive letter if it is not already selected, and then either accept the default drive letter or click the drive letter that you want to use.
7.      Click OK.
The drive letter is assigned to the drive, to the partition, or to the volume that you specified, and then that drive letter appears in the appropriate drive, partition, or volume in the Disk Management tool.
sounds like the drive needs to be formatted
Pétur Ingi EgilssonSoftware Engineer -- ConsultantCommented:
cbmm: I think your right! <- howto format a drive in Vista
slipstream8Author Commented:
The simplest answer is the best in this case.  Partitioning allowed me to assign a letter to the drive.  All is well!
make sure you format with ntfs for the file system. otherwise you will run into 4 gig file size problem, fat
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