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Why can't I see an External HD

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September 3, 2009 11:05:21 PM

I have a new fujitsu Hard Drive that I placed in an external case that runs off the USB. My windows XP system will not assign it a drive letter and doesn't recognize it. If I go into the Control Panel it sees the drive and says the proper drivers are installed. What gives? Thanks
P.S. I have several other drives that work in the very same external case very well.

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a b G Storage
September 4, 2009 6:18:56 AM

Have you tried vieweing the disk through Windows Disk Management? Is the data important for you? If not, you may try formatting the disk.
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September 4, 2009 12:53:45 PM

There is no data on the drive. It was never used. I was trying to get it formatted and I thought the system had to recognize the drive and assign it a letter to do that. Since there is no drive letter assigned how do I tell it to format or set partitions or any other such thing?
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a c 349 G Storage
September 4, 2009 2:27:32 PM

"New Fujitsu Hard Drive" is the clue. ANY new empty hard drive needs two operations on it to prepare so Windows can use it. These are Partition and Format. Partition establishes on the new drive a defined area to be used as a drive, and also creates at the very beginning of the drive unit a critical file, the Partition Table, that contains all the details of what Partitions exist on this drive (could be more than one) and where to find them. If you establish more than one Partition on this drive unit, each will be treated as a separate drive with its own letter name. Format, done on each Partition separately if there is more than one on the drive, creates some hidden files for the Root Directory and Allocation Table that track the use of the disk's space by files. Only with those in place can Windows use the disk.

If your drive came with a set of utilities on a CD, look into that disk and find the utility to set up a new drive. If not, you can try the Fujitsu website, although I looked there and could not find what I wanted.

Windows XP has the tools you need in Disk Manager, so follow this.
1. Click on Start in the lower left, then RIGHT-click on My Computer and choose Manage from the menu. In the left pane expand Storage if necessary, then click on Disk Management. You'll get two panes on the right, each scrollable to see all it has.
2. The top right pane shows you all the drives you have in use now. The bottom right pane shows you those same units with different information, PLUS other hardware that Windows does not know how to use yet. Your new drive should be there as one block, probably empty, MAYBE labeled "Unallocated Space". RIGHT-click on that block and choose from the menu to Create a Primary Partition. Watch the menus for two key things.

2(a) The size of your Partition: it can be the entire hard disk capacity, or anything smaller you want. If you don't use the entire capacity to create this Primary Partition, it will leave some Unallocated Space on the drive and you can come back here later to Create one or more Extended Partition(s) to be used as separate additional drives.
2(b) since you have a boot drive with your Operating system already running, I assume you will use this drive for data storage only, and not try to boot from it. So do NOT make this drive bootable.

Run the Partition Creation step and the pane should show you a new block in that drive's space indicating that there is a drive there now with its own letter name. My guess is you have C: (HDD) and D: (optical) drives now, and the new one will be called E:.

3. RIGHT-click on the new Partition and from the menu choose Format. In the options, choose NTFS File System for this large drive. I advise a Quick Format which will do the job in 5 to 10 minutes. A Full Format will do that quick job and then take many hours to test every part of the drive, and usually there is no need for that on a new drive. But you can if you want - no harm in this precaution, just takes time.

4. When that's done, back out of Disk Manager and reboot your machine so Windows can add this new drive to its Registry. Look in My Computer and you should see your drive ready to use.
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September 4, 2009 11:14:38 PM

Thank you. That worked flawlessly.
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