'safely remove hardware' removed hard drive

October 31, 2010 at 01:56:57
Specs: Windows XP pro, AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual/2.00 GB RAM
While attempting to safely remove a USB flash drive I accidentally removed my E: drive and I can't recover it. My C: drive is a seperate 500GB drive (also listed in the 'safely remove hardware' list, I don't know why); the old C: drive had been renamed to E: (this is the one I removed by mistake) and the third drive is partitioned 3 ways with 3 even older drives. System restore only lists the 4 remaining drives/partitions and so is no help. I have done hard, soft reboots and a 10 minute shut down to no avail. Googling the problem produced no relevant links, so I guess I'm the only person in the world to have done this...?

See More: safely remove hardware removed hard drive

Report •

October 31, 2010 at 06:57:43
That drive must be a SATA type. It is listed because your chip set is capable of supporting eSATA (removable) hard drives.

Is the drive in question your boot/OS drive or can you still boot into Windows? If you can boot into Windows you should be able to see the drive in Disk Management and possibly initiate it there. Or the simple fix may be to just unplug the drive from the motherboard while the computer is unplugged and then reconnect it after you are in Windows. SATA hard drives are hot swappable so no harm should come of this. Use the SAME SATA port as currently in use.

I have not seen this issue before but do see the possibility it can happen.

Report •

October 31, 2010 at 10:17:12
All drive letter assignments in the operating system are for logical drives.
When you remove a logical drive that is designated removable, it isn't necessarily assigned the same drive letter the next time it's detected by the operating system.

E.g. When you removed (STOPped) the E drive, when the same drive partition is detected again, e.g. after a reboot, if there were other drive letters available lower than E while booting, then that drive partition will be assigned a drive letter other than E. The operating system will assign the lowest available drive letter, alphabetically.

Whatever hard drive partition that was formally assigned E should show up fine in Disk Management, if there's nothing wrong with it's hard drive's data cable connection or power connection, but it may no longer be assigned E.
If you want to change the drive letter assigned to it, you can change it in Disk Management to any available drive letter, except that you can't change the drive letter for the hard drive partition Windows was booted from.
(e.g. Control Panel - Classic view - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Disk Management.)
If the drive letter you want to assign isn't available, you can change the drive letters assigned to other things to free up the drive letter you want to use.

The drive letter assignment will stay the same for sure as long as you don't accidently remove the logical drive it was assigned to again, or in the case of USB or firewire connected drives, until you have unplugged the physical drive and then have started up the operating system at least once with it unplugged, in which case the logical drive MIGHT be assigned a different drive letter than it was previously, when it's detected again.

Apparently, if your mboard has one of certain main chipsets, e.g. nVidia nForce 4 , SATA internal drive partitions are seen by the operating system as removable drives.

However, sometimes that's not the case, and the hard drive was un-intentionally designated as a removable device, in which case a drive partition, or drive partitions, on it is (are) seen as (a) removable logical drive(s).
Go to Device Manager - Disk Drives - RIGHT click on the model of the hard drive that the partition formerly known as E was on - if Optimize for quick removal is selected, try changing that to Optimize for performance, reboot, look there again to see if that selection has "stuck" . If it has, select Enable write caching on the disk, if you can, however, if you do, don't remove the logical drive, or you may lose data.

Report •

November 4, 2010 at 02:16:13
Sorry for the delay in replying, but I bumped my video card while trying something like this and had a scary coupla days where I thought I'd static fried my MB - just got it sorted tho. Unfortunately, I don't know which of the 3 HDs is the culprit; owing to the tightly packed case and my own neuropathy (lack of fine motor controls at the fingertips) I feel sure that I would fry something trying to hot swap on a live board. I did unplug and replug all the data and power leads at the HDs end while reseating my videocard, but it didn't do anything.

Report •

Related Solutions

November 4, 2010 at 02:27:06
It doesn't show up in device manager at all, I'm beginning to wonder if it was 'safely removed', or if it just suddenly failed. It didn't repartition, and it hasn't shown up as another drive letter - I had certain programs on the drive whose desktop icons have turned generic and which are not locatable on any available drive space.

Report •

November 4, 2010 at 05:11:22
Did you look in Disk Management to see what is listed there. If the drive has become corrupted it will not show in My computer. Show still show in Device Manager though. Are you positive all three hard drives were previously showing in My computer?

Have you checked in the BIOS to verify all the SATA controllers are enabled?

Are all your hard drives SATA type? SATA use the smaller data cable that is usually red. IDE/ATA use the wide white ribbon cable.

Report •

November 4, 2010 at 09:31:41
You said...

"....I did unplug and replug all the data and power leads at the HDs end while reseating my videocard..."

"It doesn't show up in device manager at all"

By the way, always remove the AC power to the power supply whenever you are messing with unplugging and plugging in anything inside the case, including merely plugging in power connectors into drives !

OtheHill said...

"Did you look in Disk Management to see what is listed there. If the drive has become corrupted it will not show in My computer."

That's the case sometimes if the data on the drive is damaged, but if the mboard is recognizing the hard drive, it should show up in Device Manager - Disk Drives - (the model), AND in Disk Management.

Your mboard probably is not presently recognizing the problem drive is there.

Since you were messing with connections inside the case, the most likely thing is you have a problem with the connection of the problem drive's cables.

Did you remember to plug in both the data cable and the power connector ??

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.

Both connectors should be all the way into the drive's sockets for them.

I'm assuming you haven't changed bios settings regarding detecting drives, and the SATA controller is still enabled there. If you have been messing with the bios settings, if you think you may have set something wrong, loading bios defaults usually enables the detection of the full size of all hard drives, and enables all drive controllers.

Report •

November 7, 2010 at 04:14:53
It showed up in neither Device Manager nor Disk Management. It is SATA and it is the disk that's the problem: I swapped the data connector and the MB port of the defunct drive with my still functioning SATA drive and that drive still functioned fine. So I'll take the drive to my pal who built my machine and hopefully he can retrieve some or all of the data. I must say that I prefer the SATA cables - the ribbon cables to my one IDE drive, DVD burner and floppy drive really make it hard to do or see much inside the case. Yes, I actually have a floppy drive - no, I don't know why. I suspect the drive just packed it in and I thought it had something to do with "Safely Remove Hardware" because I had used it recently. I haven't changed any BIOS settings or done anything software related. Thanks to both your help, I was able to isolate the problem and the disk - it's unfortunate that it wasn't an easily dealt with issue, but, it's not if your hard drive's gonna fail, but when.

Report •

November 7, 2010 at 08:42:10
Your pal should be able to figure out what's going on, if he or she know's what they're doing. That person should try to figure that out when it's connected to your computer first.

It's extremely unlikely the SATA drive happened to fail at the same time you accidently removed the drive letter for it. If that were the case, it's likely you would have had symptoms for quite a while previously that it was in the process of failing.

If the SATA drive truly is dead, your pal cannot extract data from it if your computer (or any computer) cannot recognize it.

In that case, if you MUST recover the data from it....
That would require either replacing the drive's board with one that is compatible with the drive, or transferring the platter(s) inside to another drive that is compatible with it(them). The cheapest way for you to probably successfully do that is for you to buy a used working drive that's exactly the same model, and either you or your pal would need to try either method. If swapping the board doesn't help, you or your pal would need tools that fit the often oddball security fasteners in order to open it up and remove the platter(s). Otherwise, you would need to spend considerable money to have either the hard drive manufacturer's service department, or a data recovery expert, do the same thing.

If the drive IS dead, if it's still under warranty, you can RMA it and make a warranty claim, for as little as the cost of shipping it one way, the speed and cost of the shipping being up to you - your drive will be either repaired or replaced, and you will have the remainder of the warranty period for it. You must ship it in a package with appropriate minimum or better protection against damaging it - see the manufacturer's web site - or in some cases you can pay a fee for fast shipping and they will send a replacement drive to you in appropriate packaging, then you ship your dead drive back in the same packaging - the payment must be made online - if the drive is found to be okay or if they dtermine you damaged it yourself, then you will be charged for the replacement drive via your credit card or other online payment method.

Report •

Ask Question