Article ID: 330140 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q330140
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page

Summary

When looking for attached hard drives, USB flash drives or CD and DVD drives using Windows Explorer, you may notice that some drives are not seen in Windows Explorer or the drive may disappear after a short time or when Windows resumes from Sleep or Hibernation. This can be caused by any of the following:
  • Your drive does not have a drive letter assigned to it in Disk Management
  • The drive may be disabled or offline
  • Your USB driver may be corrupted
  • Corrupted registry keys may be causing issues with connecting toyour CD or DVD drive

Resolution

Collapse this tableExpand this table
Disk DrivesUSB flash drivesCD and DVD driveshard drives
Method 1: Run the automated troubleshooter for your version of Windows X X X
Method 2: Make sure that the drive has a drive letter assigned in Disk Management X X X
Method 3: Make sure that the disk drive is Enabled X X
Method 4: Make sure that the drive is Online X
Method 5: Your USB drive may be corrupted X X X
 X
Method 6: Corrupted registry keys may be causing issues with connecting to your CD or DVD drive X

To resolve the issue follow the steps in the methods listed below starting with method 1, if the steps in that method do not resolve the issue, continue to the next method:

Method 1: Run the automated troubleshooter for your version of Windows:

(This method applies to Disk Drives, USB flash drives or CD and DVD drives)
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed


For Windows 7 users:

If your using Windows 7, run the built in Hardware and Device troubleshooter to resolve the issue. To do this, click the link below and follow the steps on that article:

Open the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter

For Windows Vista users:

If your using Windows Vista, click the link below to download and run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter for Windows Vista:
Hardware devices are not working or are not detected in Windows
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding end collapsed

Method 2: Make sure that the drive has a drive letter assigned in Disk Management:

(This method applies to Disk Drives, USB flash drives or CD and DVD drives)
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed


If your hard drive, thumbnail drive, memory stick, or flash memory is recognized in Disk Management but not displayed in Windows Explorer, the drive may not have been assigned a drive letter by Windows.
  1. Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and click System and Security viewed by Category View.
  2. Click Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management.

    If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Look for a drive that does not have an assigned drive letter and is not labeled as System Reserved.

    Note:
    The System Reserved drive is reserved by Windows.
  4. Right-click the unlabeled drive and click Change drive letter and paths…
  5. Click Add and then click OK to select the first available drive letter.
  6. If the Change drive letter and paths… option is not available, make sure that the drive is Online.
  7. If the drive is Offline, right-click the disk number and click Online.
For more information on Adding, changing or removing drive letters for Windows 7, click the link below to see the article on the Microsoft website:
Change, add, or remove a drive letter
For more information on Adding, changing or removing drive letters for Windows Vista, click the link below to see the article on the Microsoft website:
Change, add, or remove a drive letter
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding end collapsed

Method 3: Make sure that the disk drive is Enabled

(This method applies to Disk Drives, and USB flash drives)
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed


If the drive has been Disabled the disk will not be visible in Windows Explorer. To see if the disk is Disabled, follow the steps below to Enable it:

For Windows Vista and Windows 7 users:
  1. Click Start and type Device Manager in the Search box
  2. Click Device Manager in the Control Panel list
  3. Locate the Disk drives item in the list and click the small arrow to the right to expand the list of drives
    • If a disk drive is disabled you will see an icon with an arrow pointing down over the icon of the disk drive
    • If you see an icon with an arrow pointing down over the icon of the disk drive, double-click the icon and click the Enable Device button
  4. Click Next on the Enabling a device dialog box, click Next, and then click Finish
  5. Click Close and then close the Device Manager window

    Note: If you don't see your disk drive in the listed drives, the drive may not have been detected by Windows.

    Note: If you receive an error message when Enabling the disk drive, you may have a defective disk drive.
For Windows XP Users:
  1. Click Start then right click My Computer and click Properties
  2. Click the Hardware tab and then click Device Manager
  3. Locate the Disk drives item in the list and click the small arrow to the right to expand the list of drives

    If a disk drive is disabled you will see a red X over the icon of the disk drive

    If you see an icon with a red X over the icon of the disk drive, double-click the icon and click the Enable Device button
  4. Click Next on the Enabling a device dialog box, and then click Finish
  5. Click Close and then close the Device Manager window

    Note: If you don't see your disk drive in the listed drives, the drive may not have been detected by Windows.

    Note: If you receive an error message when Enabling the disk drive, you may have a defective disk drive.
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding end collapsed

Method 4: Make sure that the drive is Online

(This method applies to Disk Drives)
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed


If the drive is currently Offline, the disk will not be visible in Windows Explorer. To check the current status of your disks, follow the steps below:
  1. Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, and click System and Security.
  2. Click Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Look for a drive that does not have an assigned drive letter and that is not labeled as System Reserved.

    Note The System Reserved drive is reserved by Windows.
  4. Right-click the drive and click Change drive letter and paths…Click Add and then click OK to select the first available drive letter.
  5. If the Change drive letter and paths… option is not available, make sure that the drive is Online.
  6. If the drive is Offline, right-click the disk number and click Online.
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding end collapsed

Method 5: Your USB drive may be corrupted

(This method applies to Disk Drives, hard drives, USB flash drives or CD and DVD drives)
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed


Your USB disk may be corrupted, to check for a corrupted disk, plug the disk into another computer to see if the disk is seen in Windows Explorer on that computer. Make sure that you have the driver installed.

If the device is still not seen in Windows Explorer on the alternate computer, the disk may be corrupted. Some hardware manufacturers do offer hardware testing software that may help to access and detect test for issues on their hardware. Visit the hardware manufacturers website and search for any helpful testing software.
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding end collapsed

Method 6: Corrupted registry keys may be causing issues with connecting to your CD or DVD drive

(This method applies to CD and DVD drives)
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding start collapsed


Corrupted registry keys may be causing your CD or DVD drive not to be seen by Windows. An automated Fix it is available to resolve this issue. To run this Fix it, follow the steps listed in the following KB article:
982116 Your CD drive or DVD drive is missing or is not recognized by Windows or other programs
Collapse this imageExpand this image
assets folding end collapsed

Answers Forum Support:

To see the discussion on this issue in the Answers forum, click the following link:
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-hardware/my-drive-does-not-appear-in-windows-explorer/6921928a-660e-4f59-a8cd-98616e673e4d?tm=1320680572697&page=1&lc=1033

More information

Additional Causes


Bitlocker Encryption:

When an external drive was encrypted with BitLocker (on a Windows 7-based PC) the drive may not be visible when plugging it to another computer (Windows XP-based PC). There may be an expectation of getting a popup asking for the BitLocker encryption key but this does not happen.

This can be resolved by decrypting and disabling BitLocker while connected to the first Windows 7-based PC, the drive will then be visible as expected on the second PC.

Roxio GoBack:
This problem may occur if you have used the Roxio GoBack program on the hard disk. The problem occurs because Roxio GoBack modifies the master boot record (MBR) and changes the partition type on the hard disk. This can cause the drive to be inaccessible in Windows XP, even when the hard disk appears in Device Manager and in Disk Management console.

To resolve this problem, contact Symantec for the latest updates to GoBack.

Or you can work around this problem by using the following steps:

WARNING: If you are not sure that you can safely follow these steps, contact your hardware documentation or contact the manufacturer of the hard disk or the computer before you continue.
  1. Configure the hard disk as the primary master, and then restart the computer.
  2. Disable Roxio GoBack. To do so, follow these steps:
    1. Press SPACEBAR to view the GoBack boot menu.
    2. Press D to disable GoBack, press Y to confirm, and then press ENTER two times.
  3. Shut down the computer and then return the hard disk to its original configuration.

Properties

Article ID: 330140 - Last Review: November 28, 2012 - Revision: 7.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
Keywords: 
kbprb kbcip KB330140

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com