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How to Make Hard Drives Available for Windows Use

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September 8, 2010 4:20:46 AM

I just installed Windows XP Pro 64 bit. I have a couple of hard drives that are in excess of 1 TB that I cannot access through My Computer or Windows Explorer. They show up with a folder icon.

I can access these drives using compmgmt.msc, Computer Management, and read and write to them. However, when I double-click them in My Computer, the PC does nothing.

When I right-click on the drives in Computer Management, most of the options lead to formatting, which I want to avoid at all costs. The only other option is to change the letter which doesn't help at all. I was thinking that once I installed all the drivers for the operating system that everything would be fine, but I was wrong.


Any ideas?? Additional computer specs stated in the sig....
a c 415 G Storage
September 8, 2010 4:34:47 AM

What service pack are you using? Drives greater than 137GB aren't accessible without XP SP1 or later.
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September 8, 2010 11:44:22 AM

Well, its using SP1. I am trying to update to SP2, but its taking a while.
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a c 342 G Storage
September 8, 2010 3:47:03 PM

If these are SATA hard drives, Win XP does NOT have SATA or AHCI device drivers "built in". Assuming you are going to use them only for data storage (NOT as bootable drives), you have two easy choices:
1. In BIOS Setup look for where the SATA drive(s) are configured. Look for a place to set the SATA Port Mode. I fully expect that the one you are already booting from with Win XP Pro installed on it is set to IDE (or PATA) Emulation. In some BIOS's that will set ALL your SATA ports to this mode, and that's good. In some BIOS's, though, you can set the Port Modes individually. If that is your case, you can also set the ports for your other SATA drives to the same Emulation mode, and then XP can handle them.
2. IF you can set port modes individually, you CAN set those for your NON-boot drives to AHCI mode. Then you must get Windows running and install the AHCI device driver for it to be able to use those AHCI devices. The driver may be on a CD of utilities and drivers that came with your mobo, or you may need to download the driver from the mobo manufacturer's website. (I have assumed that you are using the SATA ports built into your mobo to connect these older drives.)

In Computer Management when you examine those non-functioning drives in the LOWER RIGHT pane, what does it show for the File System installed on them? Is it NTFS? Or, does it say "RAW"? If it says "RAW", Win XP is having difficulty reading some info in the Partition Table or the installed File System. If that is the case, search the 'net for how to recover data from a RAW format disk.
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September 9, 2010 12:36:07 AM

Got it. Looking at Comp Mgmt, both hard drives are Dynamic, Online and Healthy.

When I installed this OS, I had to slipstream the SATA drivers in to get XP to see the hard drives. Aside from the service pack 2 thing, I am thinking this may be the real issue. I'll let you know how it turns out...thanks.
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September 9, 2010 12:53:17 AM

Okay, no joy on that one. I can only configure the controller and not each individual drive. I tried ACHI for shiggles, but I couldn't even get the PC to boot up. It was already in Native IDE so I think I'm good there. All the drivers for this mobo have been installed though. i just used the CD that came with it. I will see what happens after the SP2.
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a c 342 G Storage
September 9, 2010 9:24:49 PM

Ahah! I had a suspicion in your first post when you said, "They show up with a folder icon." Now you have confirmed that these are DYNAMIC disks, not Basic. You cannot convert a Dynamic Disk back to Basic directly. First you must back up all its data, then destroy the Dynamic Disk and re-Partition as a Basic Disk, then restore the data. BUT you should be able to use a Dynamic Disk in Win XP Pro without all that! See this M$ article, especially the last link to details of Importing a Dynamic Disk. You may NOT need to "import", but the items help to understand. Some of it may depend on exactly how the Dynamic disks were structured - some are done a lot like RAID volumes.

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/xphard...
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September 10, 2010 1:42:52 AM

Right on, bro. Thanks...I'll get started right now...
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September 10, 2010 1:57:51 AM

Took a look at it. It reads as if the drives are considered foreign drives. I performed the steps for shiggles but when I right click, all I get is Format, Delete Partition, Open, Explore, Change Drive Letter and Path, an Help...I think backing up and formatting is the route i going to have to take. Its like 3 TB of data though, so this is going to take a while...
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September 10, 2010 3:57:27 AM

Just going to use this as an excuse to buy another 2 TB and move everything over and format. Thanks for the help though...
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September 10, 2010 3:57:43 AM

Best answer selected by Radio2006.
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a c 342 G Storage
September 10, 2010 3:47:49 PM

I guess the real challenge, though, is how to get access to the data on those drives so you can back up to another unit. If I understand correctly, you cannot do that with your current system.
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September 11, 2010 2:00:33 AM

Actually, I can. The only thing I can't do is access the drive when I click on My Computer. If I right click on the drive in CompMgmt, and click explore, BAM! Another thing is though, When i plug in a flash drive, it does the same thing. The drivers are installed and I get the "Your device is ready for use" bubble, but when I click on it from My Computer, nothing. Really irritating...
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