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Losing secondary hard drive when I boot with a USB thumb drive attache

Last response: in Windows Vista
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July 13, 2010 5:43:06 AM

I'm having trouble when I boot up with USB thumb drive attached - I tried searching for this problem, but I got a bazillion hits on problems booting from USB drives, which is not what I'm doing.

If I don't have a USB thumb drive attached, Vista boots up fine and all my drives are visible. I can insert a thumb drive while Vista is running, with no problems, and all my drives are still visible.

However, if I leave that thumb drive in the next time I start Vista, Vista still boots up ok, but my secondary hard drive will be missing in Windows Explorer. It shows up in Disk Manager, but as completely unallocated (it's about half full), as though it's a new unformatted drive.

If I shut down, remove the thumb drive, and power up, my second hard drive and all my data is back in Windows Explorer completely intact. Add the thumb drive back, restart Vista, and my second hard drive is gone again. Remove the thumb drive, restart Vista, and it's back.

I've tried this with two different thumb drives and the problem is 100% consistent.

Please note that I'm not trying to boot from the thumb drive - I'm doing a normal boot from the C drive. In addition, the second drive is a separate physical drive, not just a different partition.

Has anybody else run into this with Vista or any other MS OS?

Thanks for you help.
July 14, 2010 6:55:56 AM

Why not go with what works, remove the drive when you're not using it and plug it in when it's needed. Save yourself the grief.
I never leave mine plugged in after use and I don't know anyone that does.
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July 15, 2010 2:29:35 AM

Assign a drive letter to the USB drive in Windows... what's happening is that your BIOS is likely assigning the same letter as your secondary drive and since that drive is already assigned that letter in Windows; the USB drive shows up, but not the secondary drive.

Open computer management and click on disk management. With the USB drive connected, assign it a letter other than the one it's using... preferably F: or G:. (assuming that your secondary drive is D: or E:) .
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July 15, 2010 5:17:18 PM

Zoron said:
Assign a drive letter to the USB drive in Windows... what's happening is that your BIOS is likely assigning the same letter as your secondary drive and since that drive is already assigned that letter in Windows; the USB drive shows up, but not the secondary drive.

Open computer management and click on disk management. With the USB drive connected, assign it a letter other than the one it's using... preferably F: or G:. (assuming that your secondary drive is D: or E:) .



Thanks, Zoron, but that doesn't look like it. After booting back up with the USB drive in, it still has the same drive letter (G: in this case) that it had when I added it in the prior session. My secondary drive is indeed missing its letter (D), but when I try to add it back through Disk Management, all options in the context menu are disabled (including Change Drive Letter) for that drive except for Delete Volume and Help.
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