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How can I stop windows pe from assigning drive letters to non-existent removable drives?

Posted on 2014-07-14
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Last Modified: 2014-07-19
I am trying to reimage a new Acer X4360 using WDS on a 2012 R2 server. I have used the same boot and install images on a number of  laptops with a similar setup - a 120Gb SSD booting in UEFI mode.
The desktops stop after partitioning the drive (single partition) with the error "Windows Setup cannot locate a hard drive with enough free space to store temporary installation files....."
Opening a command prompt and using diskpart shows three disks and three volumes, C, D and E
Drive C is the SSD, but D and E show as removable with 0 free space and do not exist. I believe they are the card readers. From my research I understand Windows won't install if there is a drive with 0 free space. How can I stop the drive letters being assigned?
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Question by:jackd1
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40195408
Disable the card reader in BIOS?  Put an SD Card in the system (odd you're having this issue - I image systems with card readers all the time and there is never an issue.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40195461
Perhaps this article will help:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/A_12280-Running-Out-of-Drive-Letters.html

You may safely ignore the lead-in...I was just having a little fun with it. Head down to the section that talks about drive letters for card readers. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:jackd1
ID: 40195502
My thoughts exactly Lee, but I can't find where in the BIOS to disable the card reader. As far as putting an SD card in, I think I would need two, and I have 25 machines to reimage.
Joe I need to get rid of the drives before getting into Windows, so I can't use disk management.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40195533
I'm probably not understanding how you're doing it, but if you can open a command prompt and run diskpart, you can also run diskmgmt in the command prompt.
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Author Comment

by:jackd1
ID: 40195860
The command prompt is in the Windows PE environment, which doesn't include diskmgmt unfortunately.
I have tried both mbr and gpt formatted disks and still the same error. This is doing my head in!!
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40195888
DiskPart in the Windows PE environment supports the "remove" param to remove a drive letter. Syntax is:

remove [{letter=d|mount=path|[all]}] [dismount][noerr]

Details here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766465%28WS.10%29.aspx

Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:jackd1
ID: 40196045
Thanks Joe. I tried that and it removes the drive letters, but I'm still getting the error. The volumes are still there with no drive letters and two disks show up in LIST DISK with no media.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40196063
Did you try the dismount param? Maybe that will remove the volumes along with the drive letters.
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Accepted Solution

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jackd1 earned 0 total points
ID: 40196166
Thanks both of you for your assistance. As it turned out it was nothing to do with the phantom drives or indeed the target computer. I had created a multicast session in WDS and as soon as I disabled it everything was find. Go figure!!
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 40197057
You're welcome. I was happy to (try to) help. I had a sense that the problem was elsewhere, but never would have figured that one out. Thanks for letting us know. Regards, Joe
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Author Closing Comment

by:jackd1
ID: 40206060
It turned out I had made the wrong assumption about the cause of the problem.
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