"The device is not ready" message when trying to access USB hard drive

I have a Dell Windows 2008 R2 server that uses USB drives for backups. I swap out the drives once per week.

Around once a month or so, the drive will become inaccessible and show the message "the device is not ready". Swapping in a different USB drive (same manufacturer and model) does not help the issue. Rebooting the server does help it and the device is then properly detected again. This issue doesn't seem specific to any one USB drive.

The issue is that this keeps happening  and I have to keep rebooting the server. Since many people use the server, scheduling downtime on a regular basis like this is painful. I like to figure out how to stop it from happening.

Thoughts welcome and thanks in advance for your help.
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Julian123Asked:
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
We administer multiple Dell servers and use External USB drives for backup in the same manner. We don't have that prblem at all.

I would start by going to Dell's site and updating the Bios, all drivers and making sure Windows is updated.
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
After that, each time it happens check the event log and identify what Windows logs when the drive becaomes unavailable.

Identity the server model, service tag and usb drive model & capacity.
web_trackerComputer Service TechnicianCommented:
When you plug in a usb storage device, unplug it, then plug in another storage device, the operating system is expecting the previously stored device to be plugged back in again. When you plug in any device to a usb port, drivers have to be installed in order to access that device. For example when you plug in a usb keyboard into a different usb port, you have to wait awhile before you can use the keyboard, this is because the operating system has to install drivers for the device. Once the drivers are installed then you can start using your keyboard again. When you plug in a usb storage device the same thing happens, drivers must be installed before you can use the device. The problem with the storage devices to prevent the reinstallation of drivers for the devices if you unplug it without using the "safely remove hardware" wizzard, it will retain the drivers for that port. To verify this unplug your usb drive, then after a few minutes and plug back the same device into the usb port and it will still read the drive. But if you plug in another device then you will get the error "device not ready", as it is looking for the previously used usb drive. When you reboot your computer the operating system installs drivers for each device plugged into the usb ports. This is why rebooting the computer will detect the new usb storage device.  One way to get away from rebooting the computer is to go into the device manager. Click on the view menu, then select "show hidden devices".  Now when a device is greyed out that indicates that the driver for that device is installed but not detected.  I would go to the usb controllers section and delete the usb mass storage devices items. If there are any greyed out storage volumes you can delete these.  Then click on the action menu, and select scan for hardware changes. This should detect the new usb storage device and install drivers for it.

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