Windows Server 2012R2 USB hard drives keep disappearing

On a Windows Server 2012R2 machine, I use StorageCraft Shadowprotect to back up the server nightly.  We have 5 USB hard drives, one for each day of the week.  The backup job runs nightly and the office manager disconnects the drive in the morning and plugs in the next USB drive.  It seems to work fine for a several days and then all of a sudden the drive will no longer appear until you move it to a different USB port.  It will work again for a few days and then not be visible as an attached drive once again.  I just don't get it.  We need to cycle through drives but it seems like Windows doesn't like us doing that.  Is this a known problem with Windows Server 2012R2?
Steve BantzIT ManagerAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I wonder is the drive letter is being lost due to all the changes.  

I would be inclined to get a powered USB hub and connect the drives to exactly the same USB port each time - one port for each drive. I think that way the drive letters would stay constant.
Mal OsborneAlpha GeekCommented:
Are these drives powered from the USB port?  In many cases, 2.5" drives suck power from a USB port, however, typically they use more power than the port is specced to supply. A "high powered" USB 2 port can supply up to 500Ma, while USB3 can manage 900Ma.  Typically, 2.5" external dives suck about 1000Ma when spinning up or really busy, so if connected to a USB2 port are always running out of spec.

Some host devices power down USB ports when overloaded, others can blow a fuse or smoke if a lot of ports are used at once, some limit current by lowering the voltage. (5 drives spinning up at once can pull 5Amps).

While drives used like this usually work, they are not running in spec, and will tend not to be reliable.
Steve BantzIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
They are powered by the USB3 port.  Backups always complete fine so I don't think the drives are drawing too much power.  It just seems like Windows doesn't like it when you disconnect the drive and plug the next one in.  They are all the same make/model.  I read somewhere that there may be a problem with Windows disabling the usb port when devices are disconnected.

I may try the registry edit and see what happens.
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
When you say Windows does not see the drive - do you mean it won't see the drive at all or it will be missing a drive letter?
Dirk MareSystems Engineer (Acting IT Manager)Commented:
We are experiencing similar issues and I have narrowed it down to Trend AV.

My symptoms are.
USB drive works for a couple of days and then drives disappears and device manager shows a USB Mass storage with exclamation error "device cannot start".
Removing the device and scanning for changes does nothing.
Stopping (exiting) Trend and then removing and scan for hardware changes the USB Mass storage device gets detect again and works.

I know this is a work around but its a much better alternative to restarting the server every time.

I have logged and submitted a ticket with Trend, waiting feedback and fix.

I hope this gives you something to work with. Check your AV.

Steve BantzIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
When it stops working, the USB drive shows up in Device Manager with an exclamation mark and Windows doesn't even know what it is.  It doesn't make sense because all 5 drives are exactly the same make/model so it can't be a driver issue.  Rebooting the server doesn't make the drive appear again and the only thing that ever works is moving it to a different USB port each time.  It will work on that one for a while for the drives and then revert to being a device that can't be enumerated once again.
Device Manager
They use GFI Vipre Business for AV.  I tried doing what you mentioned with Vipre disabled but during the hardware changes scan it still shows up as a device that can't be enumerated.
Dirk MareSystems Engineer (Acting IT Manager)Commented:
Did you check under services if the GFI Vipre services are all stopped?

Steve BantzIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Yes, I did manually stop them in Services to ensure it was not running at all.
Dirk MareSystems Engineer (Acting IT Manager)Commented:
Did you uninstall the "unknown device" before scanning?

Steve BantzIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Yes.  I uninstalled it, did the scan and it popped back up as the same device with the device descriptor failed message.

This is why I rarely back up to a series of rotating USB drives anymore.  I usually use a Synology ioSafe waterproof/fireproof NAS for backups.  This particular client didn't want to go that route since they already owned the USB drives.
Steve BantzIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I never did get this worked out.  I went with an ioSafe NAS instead and it is just golden now.
Dirk MareSystems Engineer (Acting IT Manager)Commented:
Glad you got a better working alternative, I recommend keeping this question open for another couple of days maybe someone has n solution for you anyways.


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Windows Server 2012

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