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Win2K Server Can't Access USB Disk

Posted on 2009-12-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
We have a Windows Server 2000 SP4 server with a StarTech 4-Port USB/PCI card (ALi chip).  USB ports work properly.   When *any* USB disk is connected, Windows' Disk Management recognizes it without a problem (name, size, model, files system, and says "healthy"), but in Windows Explorer, the disk cannot be accessed.  In Explorer, when it appears at all, it will appear as a disk icon with a red question mark on it, and no drive letter, name or contents display.  Clicking it gives "G:\ is not accessible.  The folder was moved or removed."

We've confirmed that the latest drivers are installed for the USB card, correct driver is installed for the most recently-tried USB disk (Western Digital My Passport); and correct versions of disk.inf and usbstor.inf are installed.  Device manager displays no problems; "USB Mass Storage Device" appears under USB Controllers, and the USB disk is correctly identified under Disk Drives.  We've tried USB disks with both NTFS and FAT32 files systems, different size disks (down to 60GB)....  In all cases, Device Manager and Disk Management recognize the attached USB disk flawlessly, but in Explorer the disk can't be accessed.  Anyone got any ideas?
Question by:mtn_lion
LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:Joseph Daly
Joseph Daly earned 400 total points
ID: 26114429
If you go into disk management are you able to assign it a different drive letter? Maybe something further in the alphabet like L or M.

Accepted Solution

a1aait earned 1600 total points
ID: 26114996
My experience with the StarTech cards is that some older motherboards just won't support their full functionality.  Its a bit frustrating because you can see that can recognized devices, but not use them.

If the suggestion from xxdcmast above does not work, you might try a USB card from a different manufacturer.  It may be more expedient than trying to solve the problem with the StarTech card.  You can burn many hours trying to solve this when there might not be a reasonable solution.  Its probably cheaper in time/$ to try another card.  (The StarTech cards are attractive because they are so inexpensive, but if it is hard to get it to work, you didn't save anything.)

USB cards should be really easy to implement.  Plug in, install driver, go.   If this is not the case, your mobo and card may never like each other enough to cooperate.

I had similar problems with StarTech SATA RAID controller card and a USB 2 card.  Just would not work with older mobo, but works fine on newer mobo.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 26115335
What is the size of the HDD you connect to it? If it exceeds the size of 127GB then you could have problems with it as LBA support should be enabled on 2K system.

Author Comment

ID: 26116715
Thanks for the responses.  I tried changing drive letter as xxdcmast's suggested, didn't make any difference.  Strangely, before that, on ONE connection, the disk did show up in Explorer and was accessible--I even changed its name and wrote a small file to it.  But that was the only time it worked; I haven't been able to access it again.  By now I've tried each of the three available USB ports on the card (many times).  Alas, I'm going to take a1aait's suggestion and try a better USB/PCI card if I can find one.  Like you say, how much time do I want to waste jerking around with this one (when a new card will cost less than an hour of my time does)?

Author Comment

ID: 26291551
NOT SO FAST!  So I purchased a SIIG PCI USB Adapter, installed it in the server, fired that baby up, connected a USB disk, and I got exactly the same result!  This is crazy.  I've Googled the daylights out of this and can't find another instance of this behavior.  What could it possibly be about our Win2K server that causes this?

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