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C:\ missing from THIS PC ?

January 11, 2021 at 05:02:16
Specs: x32 Win10ProV20H2, 4Gb
How to remedy the absence of the system drive (C:\) from THIS PC ? It happens from time to time, just as 'not responding' happens to THIS PC, till a reboot restores it.

Basty


See More: C:\ missing from THIS PC ?


#1
January 11, 2021 at 05:59:29
hmmm... is this a desktop or laptop?

The make/model details would be useful...


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#2
January 11, 2021 at 06:02:05
How did you get this message ??
From a Message Box ? or something else ?
Can you post a screenshot of this problem ?

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#3
January 11, 2021 at 06:21:36
Desktop tower. Antec Sonata I; GA X58A-UDS mobo; with Intel(R) CoreCfM) i7 CPU X 990 @ 3.47GHz
It has been happening only recently.

Basty


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Related Solutions

#4
January 11, 2021 at 06:26:11
There is no message; there is simply an absence of C:\ in THIS PC.

I can see no option to post the screen shots.

Basty


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#5
January 11, 2021 at 06:26:48
A long shot... with all power removed - nothing going in from the main outlet... Open the case and firmly reseat the hard drive connector at both ends.

And echoing "Hackoo" a little; when does this error message appear; at initial power on or later?


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#6
January 11, 2021 at 06:59:05
Sebastian42,

For some reason, you can't post images directly here on
computing.net, so the thing to do is upload images to a
file sharing website. A free one is fileconvoy.com, which
is often recommended here. Copy and save the links to
your images and post those links in a message here.

The main drawback of fileconvoy.com is that they delete
the uploaded images after a period of time, which you
can specify. I think the default is 10 days and maximum
is 30 days.

I'd be interested to see what IS in "This PC". Mainly, where
is the operating system located?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#7
January 11, 2021 at 07:09:31
trvlr : I have reseated the power and SATA connections to the system drive numerous times. I repeat there is NO message - there is simply an absence (sometimes) of C:\ from THIS PC.

Jeff Root : The operating system is located on the C:\ drive that does not show in THIS PC, which makes this phenomenon such an anomaly.

Basty


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#8
January 11, 2021 at 07:49:46
This is a little confusing. You "seem" to imply you have a message displayed that refers to the computer as "THIS PC" - or am I misreading you? In other words how or where is THIS PC reference emanating, coming from?

What does the screen show on power up?

Is there just a single drive installed; and if so is it configured as all the C: drive - no extended partition(s)?

If you boot up and can you access bios settings? If so does the hard drive show its presence there?

How old is the drive in question - and make/model? It "may" be that the drive has an intermittent problem in itself. Presuming that might be so... might be wise to secure/get another drive, and when the system is working OK - clone the current drive to the new. Keep that clone drive safe but to hand, should the original actually die completely? At the very least duplicate all important files etc to an external drive; and seriously important stuff (photos often come to mind) to DVD as well. Verify all duplicates are truly accessible of course... and if possible keep the clone up to date. This is more a safety first measure of course; and regardless of current issues a wise path, measure to take at all times. Don't use flash drives for his; they can and do fail as/when they feel... at any time.

This "might" be a psu problem; which is temporarily resolved by a reboot. Psu capacitors especially can go leaky at any time; and brief power on exposes the lea(s)k and then seals it/them on the next power cycle; albeit until the next time...

Regardless of my last idea, thought - I'd make the clone drive asap; or at least safeguard data to external storage.

message edited by trvlr


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#9
January 11, 2021 at 08:17:38
You are indeed misreading me. THIS PC is an entry in the left most pane of File/Windows Explorer along with Desktop, Quick Access, Libraries, Control Panel, Recycle Bin Network, name of User, etc

C:\ has only one partition; other data drives are also connected, a couple permanently, and others when I switch them on.

Yes I can access BIOS settings. but I would have to close this thread and send it off, while I reboot and inspect BIOS.

I've preempted your cloning advice - I routinely clone every week. "Today is the day" And data is almost ALWAYS double saved to an external device as well as the 'home' location.

A pity I can not quite follow the DETAIL of your PSU discussion, although I gather you say some PSU malfunction can have strange effects.

Basty


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#10
January 11, 2021 at 08:19:52
trvlc
Just for info, on Win 10 there is an option to show an icon named "This PC" on the desktop (I have one and use it). It shows your drives and important areas such as Documents, Pictures, etc.

Sebastian42
Am I right to assume that the computer becomes unusable when the C drive vanishes?
EDIT:
I realise this sounds too easy but have you tried a "Restart" rather than shutting down and starting up again. On Win10 the Restart resets more things.
Another thing you could do is look in Event Viewer to see what, if anything, is reported there at the exact time this problem arises. Just type Event in Search and it will be at the top of the list.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


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#11
January 11, 2021 at 08:33:02
I have the THIS PC icon on the desktop and it also appears in the left pane of Windows Explorer.
The strange thing is that the PC does NOT become unusable when C:\ is absent from THIS PC.
Resets happen as well as start ups. I like the EVENT advice.

Basty


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#12
January 11, 2021 at 08:40:51
Yup I was misreading you. As clearly the system seems to boot OK and allows file/Windows Explorer(?) to function Just the C: drive isn't showing there?

Two other things come to mind... a possible rebuild - repair installation the operating system; there might a dubious dll involved. The other might be RAM issue; one stick is starting to play up?

How much RAM is present; and is there more than one stick? If there are two (at least) then reduce to one stick. Power down fully of course; remove all RAM. Clean the edge connector(s) on each stick, with a soft pencil style eraser and wipe clean afterwards with a soft lintless cloth (a soft facial tissue will likely be OK). Insert one stick(if you have more than one) into its slot - firmly. Remove, wipe edge connector again and re-insert. Then remove wipe and re-insert a third time and leave there. Power up and see if the effect happens again - or not. Repeat with any other sticks the same process - only one stick installed at a time.. Finally re-insert/re-install all sticks (if more than one), and power up etc..

It may simply be RAM sticks are not securely in the socket(s; or it may be that the edge connectors have oxidised slightly and the above cleaning routine will resolve that. Why insert/remove re-insert etc. three times? To help clean the onboard connectors too.

I doubt it's a psu issue here; as now understood the system boots OK.

When a psu starts to age the capacitors are usually the first point of faiiure; but not always.

Currently I don't run windows at all; my last version was win-7 (dual boot on a Mac). I'm on Mac systems these days; but may get a new win-10 laptop to see what's what etc...


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#13
January 11, 2021 at 08:41:15
I can confirm that BIOS sees the drive.

Basty


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#14
January 11, 2021 at 08:46:58
-I have done more than check the RAM physically - that means remove them and reseat them - I have run memtest on them. No faults reported. There are two sticks.

As for C:\ for NOT showing - that peculiarity shows only sometimes - it sometimes shows up when I want to Save-As, but without C:\ I can cannot 'navigate' the folders on C:\
'

Basty

message edited by Sebastian42


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#15
January 11, 2021 at 08:50:05
Have you done a detailed scan for malware? If so, which software did you use?

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#16
January 11, 2021 at 08:57:07
Over a 4 week period, I routinely scan with Avast, Mbvam, S&D, S.A.A., Emsisoft, Malware Hunter, Security Task Manager, ERARemover - besides the cleaners, likewise on 4 week schedule : Glary , CCleaner, AdwCleaner, TIF remover, Disk Cleanup, Autoruns, StartUp Manager.

Basty


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#17
January 11, 2021 at 09:17:21
Did this per chance start after a given win-10 "update"? And if so do you have a restore point for just prior to that date?

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#18
January 11, 2021 at 09:35:11
It started Xmas eve, well after the update to v20H2 on Nov 3. I don't do restore points because I clone every week. I believe all kinds of other changes to settings are lost if a system is restored .

Basty


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#19
January 11, 2021 at 16:50:55
I wonder if this a case of a damaged dll? And the only way I know to resolve that is by a repair installation; at least that was the usual path in earlier versions of windows?

However, historically (for many of us) if a problem resolved itself after a reboot it was often due to either a psu problem - which we've discounted/ruled out here) or an intermittent RAM module. Even if RAM tested OK with mem-test utils it might still be flakey/intermittent. There would likely be a segment, a cell within the stick that was failing; and when booting up afresh the failing cell/segment might well appear OK or may not. Power cycling might well seem to resolve the issue at the time and all appear well – until the next time. A reboot (not a full power cycle) or a restart – again not a full power cycle (shut down and then back up) would produce a different effect. If there was a flakey RAM segment then it might well not be addressed quite the same way again by the operating system following the “restart”; and thus the problem might well seem to disappear – for that occasion.

Equally that segment might have been marked a do not use by the previous boot up (which would remain in effect until a power down), and thus would not be used on the restart/reboot (not a full power cycle); and thus all would seem to be OK at that time. But later the problem would would re-appear – after a power down. The whole cycle of events might well repeat next time; it might not...

The only way to clear the RAM issue completely is either to use a known good stick to test and see if the problem resolves (or not). Or as in my earlier response try each stick in turn - on its own; and then confirm with known good stick(s).

Ideally use both approaches if possible if the cleaning a routine doesn’t resolve the problems; and similarly if the mem-test is used and seems to say RAM is OK, but the problem persists. Cleaning and testing each stick on its own, and as just previous, trying a new known good stick to confirm really will eliminate RAM for the most part? Unless there is an intermittent on the RAM socket(s) – which something I’ve not known ever to happen.

I know many seem to swear by them, but I’ve never have found mem-test utilities to be as reliable as they're professed to be. Substitution has always been my success method. The IT hardware chaps in my last place of work always did the new stick approach - not mem-tests. It being quicker and more reliable than any other route (and also time/cost efficient too)?


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#20
January 11, 2021 at 17:14:20
A repair installation sounds to me like a cure that is worse than the disease.
I agree with much of the points you made in the tome-of-a-reply you just made. I feel you are hinting at possible inconsistencies and unreliability - I had already come to that conclusion myself. I CAN do a single RAM chip test again - as I have before.

Basty


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#21
January 11, 2021 at 17:16:47
"I can see no option to post the screen shots"
Use this if you ever want to. No account needed. Give us the link/links please.
https://i.imgur.com/

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#22
January 11, 2021 at 17:20:02
"How to remedy the absence of the system drive (C:\) from THIS PC ? "
Run chkdsk.

How to Check a Drive for Errors in Windows 10
https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials...
Chkdsk commands
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/wi...
chkdsk log location windows 10
http://bit.ly/2HdNqtW


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#23
January 11, 2021 at 17:27:24
Chkdisk returned NO errors.

I have had to edit response #14 of mine where I said 'As for C:\ for showing' instead of 'As for C:\ for NOT showing'

Basty


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#24
January 11, 2021 at 17:28:27
Re’ repair installations...

When I dun them in the past - mostly with XP and win-7 - I found they worked well. I did safeguard “all” data various first (to external storage).

You say you clone the installation weekly, which being so you would have the unusual option of being able to restore the current drive contents should the need arise? With that in mind I see a Repair installation as less a risk than it might otherwise be.

As previous, I now run Mac systems, and have no actual hands on experience with M$-land’s current offering; which seems to be constantly plagued by problems - especially with and following updates...? Thus my presumption that a win-10 Repair installation is relatively simple (it was with XP and win-7) may be misplaced? But as above you have a clone of the drive in your back pocket, which you can use/apply if needs-be; or even create another to have as a lifeboat?


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#25
January 11, 2021 at 17:34:53
When I have finished cloning today, I intend to start using the clone as my 'system' to avoid issues associated with the current system SSD and its connections.

I did not suggest that a repair install is risky, only that it is much bother - with the very likely result that tweaks I have made will be reset to defaults - the objection that I have to restore points as well.

Basty


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#26
January 11, 2021 at 18:43:34
"Desktop tower. Antec Sonata I"
If that spec is correct ( no typo ) & it has a 380W power supply, it may not be enough.
https://www.quietpc.com/sonataapant...

eXtreme Power Supply Calculator
https://outervision.com/power-suppl...
Power Supply Calculator
https://www.newegg.com/tools/power-...
How do I determine how big my power supply is?
https://www.computerhope.com/issues...


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#27
January 11, 2021 at 18:49:15
I have upgraded the power supply several times - it is now 775W

Basty


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#28
January 11, 2021 at 20:46:56
Did you google it? There are numerous reports of drives disappearing from "This PC". It's not a hardware problem.

See the last response in this thread: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us...


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#29
January 11, 2021 at 21:08:43
I don't think I did - it is so counter-intuitive for a system drive to disappear that I think I went direct to the forums first.
Your link refers to 2015 - five years of NO ISSUE for me with disappearing HDDs have passed since then.
Moreover the registry path described does not exist ion my PC - there is NO 'Policies' in my Current Version from the starting point of HKEY_CURRENT_USER>SOFTWARE>Microsoft>Windows

Basty


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#30
January 12, 2021 at 02:55:49
Am I correct in understanding that the clone doesn’t exhibit the same problem as the current/original drip version? Also that the clone is not an SSD, whereas the original is?

If so... what make and model is the SSD?


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#31
January 12, 2021 at 04:11:38
Original and clone are both SSD [drip version ? ?? ???]
The original was Patriot Blaze 120Gb; the clone (now the system HDD) is not easy to determine without doing some dismantling, which I am not sure is NECESSARY.
The Patriot Blaze has been working well since at least July 2016.

Basty


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#32
January 12, 2021 at 04:48:39
SSD are known to be pretty good, reliable these days, although some brands may be better than others.

I have read comments both here and elsewhere that they have an albeit long... but nonetheless a limited shelf life!; and at some stage they will start to fail.

There are comments about which suggest that a given SSD left unpowered for period of time will suffer data degradation; and to avoid it they ought to be powered up at intervals to in effect refresh them. Bearing in mind they are somewhat similar to flash drives, and those suffer from the same problem of data degradation... , and both have a limited number of rewrites... (which is high) even when in regular use, I wonder if the original drive is simply starting to fail?

As I understand it, as segments start to fail on an SSD (much like with HDD) they get marked out as unusable. When you reboot after the problem appears the failed segment is bypassed and data goes to the next in sequence etc. and thus there is no corruption of data - and thus no seemingly missing drive in your situation?

I used to have links to more detailed info about SSD and how they fail, how they go intermittent and so on. If I can find them again I’ll post them here..

I think riider here is more familiar with the pros ‘ cons of SSD and how they actually work, handle, data etc.. Possibly he may drop across here and chip in with his thoughts, experience re’ SSD.

Meanwhile my feeling is that the original/main drive is starting to fail. A feeling endorsed by your comment that the clone doesn’t produce the same problem?

I have only used Crucial SSD, and apart from one which was DOA and replaced instantly by Crucial, had no problems with them. Some of them are several years olde now, I have seen some negative comments about two other well known brands, neither being those you use.

After references and comments here by others re’ SSD long term storage and possible issues, I have resorted again to HDD for serious archiving etc.. but do still use SSD for general day to day and intermediate storage; and for my Mac systems respective Time Machine backups.

message edited by trvlr


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#33
January 12, 2021 at 04:56:29
It's too early to tell - the clone has been playing system for less than a day - whether my problem is solved. I have other issues, but this thread deals with the rare disappearance of C:\ from THIS PC.
Currently C:\ shows in THIS PC

Basty


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#34
January 12, 2021 at 07:20:42
Have you tried sfc /scannow
This will check and replace any corrupt system files.

If it was a hardware issue the drive would not show in BIOS.either.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#35
January 12, 2021 at 08:53:22
One point for clarification: does the problem arrive at the start of windows; i.e during the actual load/launch/opening of the operating system - which otherwise appears to boot OK? Or does it suddenly appear after having been all fine 'n dandy and the "missing" drive was initially showing OK and then "suddenly" it isn't?

My feeling is that the SSD in question is starting to fail; though if the clone does the same in the next day or few...? If the clone goes the same path... then the focus for me would again be RAM.

If a drive is generally OK - albeit with damaged segments/sectors - it quite likely will show in the bios regardless; but present issues associated with a failing drive during boot up and/or later? If the drive was failing to boot at all - due to "serious" failure(s) - then quite possibly it wouldn't show in the bios; especially if sector-1 had gone awry? I've known duff HDD (with multiple sector errors) show in bios - but fail to do anything more; as in wouldn't boot and run etc..


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#36
January 12, 2021 at 14:06:07
Yes, I ran sfc /scannow from elevated command prompt. It told me that there had been problems and they had been fixed. I ran that a second time and it no longer reported finding problems.

I do not normally 'look for C:\ in THIS PC', so I do not know when the problem starts. When it becomes evident, is when I try to 'save as' and cannot choose the destination because C:\ is lacking.

I do frequently have freezes and on rebooting, it stalls at some point. I can pretty reliably restore function by reseating the SATA signal lead into the SSD.

Basty


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