Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


No drive letters for external drives

  1. #1


    Winnipeg, Canada
    Posts : 19
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Centre RTM

    No drive letters for external drives


    HI there folks!

    I have googled the crap out of this problem, but I can't seem to find an answer. All 3 of my external drives suddenly have no drive letters assigned to them. There is no hardware problem that I can find. Each are plugged into their own dedicated USB port on the computer. I can assign letters to them manually and use the drives as normal, but when I reboot, the drive letters are "forgotten". I have tried using the drives under different operating systems and on different computers all with the same results. Any suggestions are appreciated

    Snarks

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    What pops into my head is that somehow the external drives where assigned an ID or Attribute - That tells windows not to automatically assign a drive letter
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by KYHI View Post
    What pops into my head is that somehow the external drives where assigned an ID or Attribute - That tells windows not to automatically assign a drive letter
    I had that issue after using a drive for a Windows To Go install. I formatted it and went to use it as storage latter on and it would not get a drive letter. I could assign one and it would be good until I unplugged it and tried to use it on another PC. I ended up doing a diskpart clean to fix it and get it back to normal.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Now, what pops into my head after Alphanumeric's comment - is the drive is marked as "Active"

    No just ran a little test using diskpart "Active" not the cause..

    Attachment 59878

    But, do notice in the partition details above it states > Hidden=No
    A Hidden Drive would not be assigned a drive letter > as below

    Attachment 59880

    Which was set as "Hidden" and "Required" by the "Attribute"
    Last edited by KYHI; 31 Mar 2015 at 06:14.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    That's the issue I had. Windows to Go sets the drive as Hidden. If you don't boot from it, and just plug it into a USB port it doesn't get a drive letter and is thus hidden. Just formatting the drive doesn't kill the hidden attribute. I could have fixed it via diskpart by changing the attribute. I just didn't figure it out quick enough. Doing a clean fixed it. Latter on I figured out what was going on. likely not the issue here though, not for 3 drives.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Yeah but it is 3 drives in different PC's - all with the same result - so would lead me to believe it is the drive..

    If OP follows the diskpart commands in the cmd windows - he can see the drive "Detail"
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    I have tried using the drives under different operating systems and on different computers all with the same results.
    Yeah but it is 3 drives in different PC's - all with the same result - so would lead me to believe it is the drive..
    That's the spooky part.

    Is your computer malware free?

    Do you use bitlocker? Are the drives encrypted?

    I might pull one of the drives out of the enclosure and connect it directly to the computer via SATA instead of through the enclosure's USB interface and see what happens. While it seems unlikely, it is possible something took out all 3 enclosures - like a power hit.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Winnipeg, Canada
    Posts : 19
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Centre RTM


    Well, two of the drives are now dead. One is even preventing the computer from booting up as long as it is plugged in to it. I have the one backup drive left so I will try changing the attribute from hidden (if that is the case) using diskpart. I can trace this all happening to a Windows 10 Tech Preview install. I had all 3 drives on when I did it. I don't know if the Tech Preview gibbled the drives somehow, but I'll wager it had something to do with it.

    Snarks
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    Quote Originally Posted by SnarkyTwit View Post
    I can trace this all happening to a Windows 10 Tech Preview install. I had all 3 drives on when I did it. I don't know if the Tech Preview gibbled the drives somehow, but I'll wager it had something to do with it.
    Plenty of threads about this but I can't say it has ever happened to me so I don't know if the solutions work...

    build 9879 bricking drives!!!! - Microsoft Community

    Build 9879 hard drive disaster (read this) - Microsoft Community
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  10. #10


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Well. there you go...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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