Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16
  1. #1
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    6,887

    Default So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    I have two identical 1GB Kingston thumb drives, courtesy of Telecom some time back. Both work normally in the old W2K box, taking the next available drive letters when plugged in.

    While transferring data to the new computer I'd noticed that one seemed to go awol occasionally and not appear in the Explorer drive listings, but today it became a minor irritation when I was checking the effectiveness of the autoplay changes.

    One thumb steadfastly refuses to appear in Explorer while the other happily takes the next available drive number. It is nothing to do with the USB port, that works with any other USB storage device I plug in, and if I move it to any USB port on the old box it does the right thing and grabs a drive number.

    If you exclude A & B, all drive letters from C through to W are taken up by partitions on my HDDs or those on my Seagate USB back-up drive, so only X, Y & Z are available.

    So, if I put 'working' thumbs in first, they take X & Y but the third thumb doesn't take Z, but it still appears as a 'USB Mass Storage Device' for ejection, only it has no drive letter. If I insert them in the opposite order, the crook one takes nothing and the other two are still X & Y.

    It's got me baffled!! It doesn't seem to be a port issue, and the thumb works on the old computer, but it doesn't grab a drive letter on the new one. If I plug in my old USB drive enclosure (20GB Seagate in 3 partitions) it automatically takes X, Y & Z regardless of what USB port I use.

    Is that weird or what?? It's worth nothing so I can just toss it away, but I'm curious about the reason(s).

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  2. #2
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    28,131

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    Thats a LOT of partitions-- How many other USB devices are plugged in/ From anotehr forum
    You may need to check how many USB devices you've got plugged in. USB has two limits, power and bandwidth. If you are using too many USB devices at once you may run out of bandwidth on your bus or power to one or all of your devices.

  3. #3
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    28,131

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    Just adding the above, been doing some more "looking". All of the following:
    While transferring data to the new computer I'd noticed that one seemed to go awol occasionally
    if I move it to any USB port on the old box it does the right thing and grabs a drive number.
    That from many other places all says the same thing - The USB drive is fine - the ports are overloaded.

    If I plug in my old USB drive enclosure (20GB Seagate in 3 partitions) it automatically takes X, Y & Z regardless of what USB port I use.
    How is that Powered, by the USB port OR external power plugged into the wall for example.

  4. #4
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    6,887

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    The external drive enclosure has its own power supply, as does the Seagate Backup drive which has 7 partitions, 6 of 50GB and one of 5 or so.

    USB connected, I have an HP1200 Laserjet and an iP4200 inkjet, plus an Epson C1100 colour laser not currently in use so not plugged in to USB. There is the usual mouse and that's about it, apart from occasionally connecting a camera. I have a Jaycar 7-port hub (which is not connected to outboard power at the moment) that provided extra sockets for the old computer and used as a convenient facility for things I need to connect/disconnect to save me crawling under the desk, but all of this ran OK on the old box which has just 2 USB-1 ports and a 4-port USB-2 card so I'm not loading up the USB supply at all.

    It is just the one thumb drive that has the bad memory, and it doesn't make any difference how much or how little stuff I have hanging off the USB ports, or which ports I use (front or rear) this thumb doesn't get a drive letter. I can put on the external powered USB drive and it will pick up X,Y, and Z for the three partitions in that enclosure, but I don't have that running when using thumb drives because I haven't got enough drive letters.

    Yes there are a lot of partitions, but there was a lot of vacant space to play with as I don't actually have that much data, I have survived reasonably comfortably within two 20GB drives for a long time. Maybe I'll download a movie or two once I get ADSL-2 enabled.

    I just like to keep different types of data separate, for example I have an Images partition for photos, and I also have a FAT32 partition for legacy instrument software and data files that are incompatible with NTFS. There's a 6GB partition for the paging file and a large Data partition for WP. There are plenty of spare partitions for backup data and to help keep everything nicely sorted. The two main drives are also RAID protected, but once I get everything set up I'll image the C: drive as well so that will go on its own partition on a different drive.

    Maybe the Thumb drive is faulty in some way, even though it works OK on the other computer. One last thought, I may have plugged it in when there wasn't a drive letter available for it, would that give it conniptions?

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  5. #5
    Computer Tech
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Oamaru
    Posts
    5,811

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    Have you checked in Disk Management to see if you can assign a drive letter to this USB stick?

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    get a usb powered hub that can accomodate at least 3 thumb drives and give it a shot

  7. #7
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    6,887

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    Quote Originally Posted by CYaBro View Post
    Have you checked in Disk Management to see if you can assign a drive letter to this USB stick?
    I probably could, but I'd prefer not to do that as I only have X, Y & Z free (especially for thumbs and the old USB enclosure), and the assigned letter may be in use by another thumb when that one is needed. Besides that, thumbs don't have assigned drive letters so by rights it should be picking up the next available letter.

    I set it up this way to give me certainty of drive letters. Previously my Seagate and the old USB enclosure would come up with different drive letters according to what order they were activated, despite having been assigned permanent letters in Disk management and this made finding files a slower process as I had to check to see what drive letter they were on each time.

    I could name it 'Z' I suppose, because if that was already in use (my old external USB drive enclosure uses X, Y & Z) There wouldn't be any letters available so I couldn't use it anyway. In fact, I suspect that this situation came about by my inserting this thumb when all letters were in use other than B, and that is permanently assigned as a floppy (old 5.25 inch IIRC) so it didn't take it.

    Reminiscent of Tom Hanks in "The terminal", I guess this drive may have had its entry rights to computer land revoked for the new box, and is now the equivalent of a stateless person. It is still OK on the old 'homeland' box and takes the next available letter.

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Last edited by Billy T; 23-04-2010 at 10:23 AM. Reason: .
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  8. #8
    IT Contractor
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,677

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    It's probably being assigned a letter that is already in use by one of your far-too-many partitions, so check drive management
    Windows 7 x64 // i5-3570K // 16GB DDR3-1600 // GTX660Ti 2GB // Samsung 830 120GB SSD // OCZ Agility4 120GB SSD
    Windows 7 x64 // Phenom II 955 // 8GB DDR3-1333 // GTX460 1GB // Corsair Force3 120GB SSD
    Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505

  9. #9
    6146-B Billy T's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    6,887

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    Quote Originally Posted by inphinity View Post
    It's probably being assigned a letter that is already in use by one of your far-too-many partitions, so check drive management
    No it hasn't, and if that was the case the other identical drive would have the same problem. There are not "too many" partitions, just a lot of them. They impose no unusual conditions on the OS that I am aware of, the only limitation being the availability of drive letters. It suits my work requirements and methods to have an orderly filing cabinet with lots of drawers.

    Anyway, just for fun I inserted the suspect thumb into the old computer and assigned it drive letter :Z. It now uses that exclusively on that box, but when tranferred to the new one it still fails to show in the drive list and to all extents and purposes, it and its contents are invisible. It only appears when ejecting and then only as a device sans drive letter.

    It will remain one of life's little mysteries, and to compensate for this obscure flaw, I have made a hi-tech adjustment to my system by putting a red dot on the affected drive and making a wetware file note to use it only with my laptop.

    Cheers

    Billy 8-{)
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through my restraints!

  10. #10
    IT Contractor
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,677

    Default Re: So how does a working thumb drive lose its drive letter?

    So it doesn't even show in Drive Management on the PC with the trouble? Assigning it a letter on a different PC has no impact on it's assignment on the one with the issue.

    And the issue happening to one, doesn't necessarily mena it will or won't happen to the other
    Last edited by inphinity; 23-04-2010 at 11:43 AM.
    Windows 7 x64 // i5-3570K // 16GB DDR3-1600 // GTX660Ti 2GB // Samsung 830 120GB SSD // OCZ Agility4 120GB SSD
    Windows 7 x64 // Phenom II 955 // 8GB DDR3-1333 // GTX460 1GB // Corsair Force3 120GB SSD
    Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505

Similar Threads

  1. 8 GB DSE Thumb Drive
    By jcr1 in forum PressF1
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 31-10-2008, 06:47 AM
  2. USB Thumb Drive - LOL
    By pctek in forum PC World Chat
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 30-10-2008, 05:07 PM
  3. Replies: 32
    Last Post: 17-09-2007, 09:42 PM
  4. USB Thumb drive
    By famajohn in forum PressF1
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-02-2004, 07:59 PM
  5. uses for USB thumb drive?
    By robsonde in forum PressF1
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 01-10-2003, 08:46 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •