USB shows up as Removable Disk

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by Tony D, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Tony D

    Tony D SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Hi, I'm working on Vista Home Premium on a Dell XPS laptop. When I insert a USB flash drive, it makes the usual 'ba bud' sound. However, it shows up in Computer as "Removable Disk". Properties shows 0 bytes used and 0 bytes free. It basically shows as unformatted.

    I know the USB drive is good because it works on another computer. Additionally, I tried 2 other USB drives and get the same result.

    If I plug in an external hard drive, that shows up fine. So the port is good.

    Thinking it may be a power problem, I tried a small 512 MB drive. No joy. I also tried using a powered hub. Still no joy.

    Note: One of the drives has a light that illuminates when it's powered. The light does illuminate. Another sign that the power is good.

    I tried formatting the 512 MB drive. It recognized the size and started formatting it as FAT32. When the green status bar got to the end, it said "Windows was unable to complete the format." I put that drive in another computer and can see that all the files were erased.

    I'm at a loss. Any suggestions?
     
  2. DSTM (Dougie)

    DSTM (Dougie) Retired CHF Staff

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  3. Tony D

    Tony D SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    That's what I do. Maybe that's the difference. The hard drive is NTFS and the Flash drive is FAT32.

    Following that thought, I formatted a USB flash drive as NTFS. Inserted it into the computer and it is recognized properly. So it has to do with the formatting. I've never seen this before.

    Note: I wasn't able to format the USB drive on my XP machine as NTFS. The option wasn't available. Had to use my Windows 7 machine.
     
  4. DSTM (Dougie)

    DSTM (Dougie) Retired CHF Staff

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    That's a new one on me as well. As long as it's now recognized that's the important thing.:)
    Windows does some weird things at times.
     
  5. Plastic Nev

    Plastic Nev SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Just wondering about the drivers for USB portable devices.
    Format one drive as FAT32 on the other computer first, then open device manager on the Vista machine and open the portable devices entry, then plug in the drive, it should show up in device manager. Open that entry and try a driver update, if no good, uninstall the driver and reboot, it should reinstall new drivers, see if that sorts it out.

    Nev.
     
  6. Tony D

    Tony D SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Thank PN, There was no Portable Devices category in Device Manager. The drive shows up under the Disk Drives category. I uninstalled the driver and rebooted. I left the USB drive in the computer. On boot, it found new device and loaded the driver. Problem persists. It doesn't recognize FAT32 drives.
     
  7. Plastic Nev

    Plastic Nev SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Hum, that might be a part of the problem if Portable or removable devices isn't a category in DM, how you get that category though, I don't know.

    Nev.
     
  8. Tony D

    Tony D SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Remember, it works fine with USB flash drives that are formatted NTFS.

    btw: I don't see the portable devices category on my XP machine. USB flash drives show up under Disk Drives.
    I do see the Portable devices category on my W7 machine.

    Anyone know if the Portable devices category shows up in Vista? I'll bet Vista is like XP in that USB flash drives show up under Disk Drives.
     
  9. Plastic Nev

    Plastic Nev SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Hum, that is an odd one, later today when I have a bit more time, I will run up my slow old XP desktop and have a look at what my flash drive looks like, I will format it in either NTFS or Fat32 and see what happens and let you know. I don't have a Vista machine, only XP or W 7, so can't say what Vista will do of course.

    Nev.
     
  10. DirtyPolo

    DirtyPolo Inactive Staff Member

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    It's been a few days so not sure the status of this issue, but another thing to try, is plug the drive into the PC that can recognise it and then view it under Disk Manager. It has been known before that a flashdrive, when formatted might not be 100% formatted and there still might be a tiny partition persisting that the other PC cannot read and so refuses to read any of it. Make sure to format it on the PC that can read it.
     
  11. Tony D

    Tony D SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Thanks. I did try the flash drive in on XP machine which read it just fine.

    I also tried other FAT32 formatted USB drives in the Vista machine. None were recognized. There's something in the Vista machine that doesn't recognize FAT32 formatted drives.
     
  12. Plastic Nev

    Plastic Nev SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    Hum, one thing that might throw a bit more light on this, does your Vista machine have an SD or SDHC card reader, or if not, a USB to card reader. Most SD and SDHC cards are formatted to FAT32 for use in camera's or video cameras. If you have such a card and reader what happens with it?

    Nev.
     
  13. Tony D

    Tony D SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    It didn't have a card reader. Sorry.
     
  14. DirtyPolo

    DirtyPolo Inactive Staff Member

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    If there any specific need for the drive to be FAT32 formatted? NTFS is the better and more stable file system anyway! :p

    One last thing you could try is to run a dskchk on the USB drive to make sure it is formatted correctly and doesn't have a corrupt partition.
    Windows XP does have a command "convert" which will convert the file system without losing the data so you wouldn't have to remove and recopy the data.
     
  15. Tony D

    Tony D SUPER MODERATOR Super Moderators

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    I see no need to run chkdsk. The machine in question didn't recognize several of my USB drives. They were all formatted FAT32. They all worked find on other machines.

    The only reason I see to stay with FAT32 is if you're also using a Mac. Mac OS can read, but not write (natively) to NTFS without jumping thru some hoops.
     

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