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Local Disk (N:) Showing When There is None

Posted on 2013-06-26
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Last Modified: 2013-07-17
This all started when I connected a IDE hard drive from a dead computer to my notebook using a USB/IDE adapter.  I got Disk N: and access was denied to my Windows 7 notebook.  I took the same setup to an XP Pro computer and copied off the data I needed.
The problem is I still have the disk.  I tried changing ownership, but since there is no hardware I could do nothing.  I used USB Deview to remove as many USB devices as I could, although none claimed N:.  It isn't hurting anything but if I wanted to map a network drive to N: I could not as it doesn't appear as available there either.
I searched the registry for N: to no avail, running out of ideas here.

N is not accessibleWhen I try to open I get:
N error
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Question by:pjam
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37 Comments
 
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Dirk Mare
Dirk Mare earned 215 total points
ID: 39278075
What does it show under Computer Management -> Disk Management? Have you tried removing the Drive letter?

It wont solve your problem with the phantom drive but you won't see it under My Computer anymore.

Have you tried using Little Registry Cleaner?

Also under Disk Management does it say "Removable"?
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39278107
Dirk,
Sorry forgot to mention, it does not show up in Disk Management.
Haven't tried a registry cleaner yet, may be last resort.
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Dirk Mare
Dirk Mare earned 215 total points
ID: 39278140
In Device Manager, select View and Select Show Hidden Devices

Look under "Disk Drives" if you see the old disk..
Look under "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" if you see the adapter you used
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by:pjam
ID: 39278211
Dirk,
I did not think of that, but no hidden devices there.
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Dirk Mare
Dirk Mare earned 215 total points
ID: 39278263
Do you still have USBDeview installed? Have you tried uninstalling it?
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39278339
It is a standalone app, not installed.
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:Pradeep Dubey
Pradeep Dubey earned 36 total points
ID: 39278364
I would like to recommend below step to perform :

1) take registry backup 1st :-)
2) open registry and locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
3) delete all entry from here except default one.
4) close the registry and reboot the machine.

All unwanted drive letter will go out of screen.


good luck!
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39279294
No mounted devices in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices

Not even C: or my external Esata E:\
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Dirk Mare
Dirk Mare earned 215 total points
ID: 39279339
I can remember reading I similar issue online..

After removing entries from registry and installing patches.. The person removed a trail version of office 2010 that was installed on his machine and it removed the drive, it's a long shot..
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 249 total points
ID: 39280463
maybe a system restore to a date it was ok will help you out..
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39288618
Sorry nobu,
bad experience last time with system restore.  Need something else.  Issue is not wrth doing a system restore or repair
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LVL 92

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by:nobus
nobus earned 249 total points
ID: 39289142
up to now i did not have bad experiences with system restore or a repair - other than they did not work in many cases
try running sfc then  http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/1538-sfc-scannow-command-system-file-checker.html
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39290213
Nobus,
I had run SFC several times thinking that would fix it.  I ran it again at your request, and it found corrupted files requiring reboot.  I have never been able to access the CBS.log before though (W7 Security!), but with that script, I can now see what was repaired:
2013-07-01 09:28:11, Info                  CSI    000002ff [SR] Repairing corrupted file [ml:520{260},l:46{23}]"\??\C:\windows\System32"\[l:22{11}]"difxapi.dll" from store

The 2nd SFC found nothing wrong.
However I still have Local Disk (N:).
It has to be something in the USB as the attempt to conect using USB/IDE adapter created it in the first place.
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Dirk Mare
Dirk Mare earned 215 total points
ID: 39290286
have you tried uninstalling the USB Composite Device from Device Manager
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LVL 92

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by:nobus
nobus earned 249 total points
ID: 39290326
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LVL 17

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by:pjam
ID: 39290523
Dirk,
I uninstalled USB Composite Device.  Lost my Docking station mouse (Logitech G500), no effect on Local Disk (N:)
Unplugged and re-plugged but had to redownload mouse drivers.
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39293138
nobus,
sorry I replied to this yesterday but don't see it now.
I looked at your first link and USBSTOR showed several USB devices I did not recognize.
However the article was for XP and even running Regedit as Administrator I cannot delete anything or change security to try deleting thse entries.
I have no USB disks attached, only mouse, keyboard, UPS.
regedit USBSTOT
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by:nobus
nobus earned 249 total points
ID: 39293453
0
 
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Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39293688
nobus,
No go with that.  It also is for XP.  Here is what i get when i try to change permissions:
permissions error
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LVL 92

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by:nobus
nobus earned 249 total points
ID: 39293957
then try enabling the real admin account and try again :
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/507-built-administrator-account-enable-disable.html
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39294328
nobus,
must not be good at following instructions, I just spent 2 hours trying and logging in and out still cannot delete registry keys.
Administrators higher than me must have it locked in or perhaps the w7 Ent build is the culprit.
Logged in a Administrator I did see a DOS device mounted as N: and I could delete that, but still see it in Windows Explorer.
Perhaps I will try CC cleaner...
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LVL 92

Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 249 total points
ID: 39295648
>>  Administrators higher than me   <<  is this on a network, then yes it can be the admins locked you out, and you have to ask them for help then
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39296462
cc cleaner did nothing
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:Dirk Mare
Dirk Mare earned 215 total points
ID: 39296826
have you tried Little Registry Cleaner?
0
 
LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39296894
No have not heard of that.
I use Macecraft JV16 Powertools at home & CC cleaner and JV16 lite at work
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 249 total points
ID: 39297039
are you on a network  -  with admins?
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39297063
Yes, I am a domain Admin, but down the totem pole so to speak
This notebook was imaged to W7 six months ago.  I am thinking if I have other issues I can always re-image.  Not sure what to do now, but the Local Drive N: is not worth pursuing currently.
Lots of good answers here so am probably going to close this out and give everyone part credit.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39297560
since it does not see it's file system, it can be the usb adapter is faulty
does it work on the other pc?
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39297836
nobus,
It was caused by hooking up a USB/IDE adapter to a dying hard drive which it could not access.  Strange thing is I had no problem connecting to an XP computer.
I have connected numerous other USB sticks and USB external hard drives sine then with same USB slot on my notebook.
go figure
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39299180
>>   Strange thing is I had no problem connecting to an XP computer  <<  the usb adapter looks ok
i think the OS on the  problem  PC  is corrupt try running sfc or a repair even if you think it's not worth it; the problem will grow worse
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39301837
Nobus, I did run SFC several times, only once was a file replaced.
My notebook is April 2009 vintage, so am considering ordering a new one for myself and re-imaging this for production.  New Fiscal year starts August 1st, yeah!
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39302262
maybe the laptop does not provide enough power on the USB (happens frequently)
that's why i suggest to use a POWERED USB hub : http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=158910
0
 
LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39302293
The USB/IDE adapter has it's own power
Most other USB is run on the HP Docking station, except occasional USB stick
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39302448
i can't say from here what's the cause, but it looks like an OS problem on the Win7 laptop
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Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39302551
Nobus,
Probably so, it was our first image, there have been 5 improvements since then
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LVL 17

Author Comment

by:pjam
ID: 39333198
Nobus, It went away??
Now am having issues with my Esata Drive E:\, probably open a question on that if SFC doesn't fix.  We are talking about 350GB data
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39333490
>>  It went away??  <<  i am not astonished; it happened to me also, and i never knew why.
i "suppose" te OS fixes itself up to a point , and can't get farther for that session, but each reboot it moves on, and after a couple of days it works again
there's always a lot of background "housekeeping" going on in windows
if you post the link, i'll be glad to se eif i can help with the new Q
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