Flash Drive doesn't show

March 31, 2009 at 14:23:50
Specs: Windows XP, 1024 MB
When I plug in my Flash Drive it shows on the task bar and I can access the folder in My Computer - Manage, etc. But there is no drive letter assigned. And I don't see the Flash Drive icon in My Computer window. I know the USB ports (4 in the back and 2 in the front) are good. I also know the Flash drive is good. My Flash Drive works in my wife's computer. My external HD works and shows up with a drive letter so my external drive works just fine.

I have seen reference to this problem all over the 'net but nothing I've seen and tried makes a difference. I haven't a clue what is going on. However, I do admit that I used to yank the Flash Drive out incorrectly without stopping the process like I am supposed to. Now that I know about that procedure I do it correctly. I suspect that I might have fowled up the works when I pulled the Flash Drive incorrectly when plugged into the back of the computer. I really am not sure. Any help sure would be appreciated. Thank you. Fritz

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March 31, 2009 at 15:41:58
Flash drives will often not work properly in certain USB ports.
See response 3 in this:

If you have damaged the drive's data by unplugging it without clicking on the Safely Remove icon in your taskbar, from a previous Topic:


No harm in trying a file recovery program. Depending on the amount of corruption, they can recover data with both FATs bad.

PC Inspector (freeware)

Zero assumption Recovery
The demo is limited
It will only recover 'up to' four folders per run
But you can make multiple runs

Really good, but you have to pay for it.
http://www.runtime.org/ "

If that doesn't help your data is probably un-recoverable, but you can probably delete the partition(s) and make it(them) again, and the drive will probably work fine.
However, you can't delete the partition(s) on a flash drive in XP by default.

You need to use some other method.

E.g. Use a third party program to delete the partition(s) and make it(them) again. You may have one on a CD that came with the flash drive, or the manufacturer may have such a program available that can be downloaded from their website.

hp flash drive formatter

Click on Primary Download Site

"This utility will format any USB flash drive, with your choice of FAT, FAT32, or NTFS partition types.

Optionally you can also make the disk BOOTABLE by specifying a file location. Use the Windows 98 system files available here:

FAT is used for capacities of 2gb or less, FAT32 for capacities larger than that. NTFS is normally not used on memory cards or flash drives, and it is recommended you do NOT use NTFS for any drive partition of 4gb or less capacity, on ANY drive.

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March 31, 2009 at 19:05:11
Thank you for your aid. However, there is no issue about getting access to the folder(s) on the Flash Drive as that can be accomplished by RIGHT CLICK MY COMPUTER AND SELECTING MANAGE, ETC. The issue is that there is no drive letter assigned to the Flash Drive and the icon does not show up in the My Computer window. Do you have any suggestions how to correct that? Fritz

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March 31, 2009 at 21:13:08
There is no drive letter assigned and the flash drive (or memory card) and it will not show up in My Computer or Windows Explorer if XP doesn't recognize the partition(s) on the flash drive (or memory card) as valid.

Most flash drives are partitioned using FAT or FAT32 partitioning - FAT and FAT32 partitioning has two partition tables (indexes of where the files are located) - the first one that is used, and an identical copy that is not used except when a program is able to copy it to replace the first partition table if it's damaged - if the first partition table is damaged, the flash drive (or memory card) won't show up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
XP and 2000 will only show the drive and assign a drive letter in My Computer or Windows Explorer if the partition is a valid FAT, FAT32, or NTFS partition. It can detect some other types of partitions in Disk Management, or a drive with no data on it, but it can't show them in My Computer or Windows Explorer. Some memory cards when used in cameras use RAW partitioning - they can't be seen in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
NTFS partitioning has only one partition table, called a MFT (Master File Table).

If you are sure the drive is plugged into a USB port it should work fine in according to the info at the first link in response 1, try one or more of the recovery programs.

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April 1, 2009 at 09:30:37
Try to assign a letter with computer managment.

%SystemRoot%\system32\compmgmt.msc /s

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10

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