Solved HDD not recognized after changing drive Letter

January 31, 2013 at 02:59:59
Specs: XP, DualCore
I changed the drive letter of an external 2.5' HDD (from F to D).

Then for some reason I suddenly can't use the drive anymore.

Now when I plug it, the error message is on Win7 is "You need to format the disk in drive"
The error on Win XP is D:\ is not accessible

which is quite weird.

The drive is not used much, it never had surface problems, etc.
Of course I don't want to format it because I have some info there.

Any ideas about what the problem could be...?


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January 31, 2013 at 03:13:04
External hard drives can act unpredictably sometimes. Test it with SeaTools for Windows first, just to make sure it's healthy. Click "Downloads" on this page:

Test the drive with the Long/Extended test.

Note: SeaTools can be used to test any brand of hard drive.

Note 2: always save important files on at least two drives. One copy with no backups is very unwise..

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January 31, 2013 at 04:33:24
✔ Best Answer
See if Disk Manager will let you reassign the old drive letter back and see if that might help.
Try removing it from the external case and install it as a second internal hard drive (plugged in but laying on the top or bottom of the open computer case) and see if Windows recognizes it as formatted. If it still needs to be formatted and the drive letter it assigns is not its original letter, try reassigning that letter and see if that helps.

As a LAST resort (do not try until all other options are exhausted):
Format the drive but make sure that you use the Quick Format. Then run a file recovery program like recuva to try to restore the files on the drive. Understand that even the best recovery software will may not be able to recover everything (which is why it is a last resort). I have seen that common files like Music, Pictures (JPEG), and common Office files (Word, Excel) are more likely to be recovered than less common file types (Photoshop, Autocad, saved games, etc).

As mentioned, always save important files in more than one place. External drives are best for backing up important files that are on computer's internal hard drives and for taking those files with you. If you modify a file, make a copy on a flash drive until you can copy the new version back to the computer. If you off load files from a laptop to make extra room, place a copy of them on a desktop or make a CD or DVD archive copy to put away BEFORE you delete them from the laptop.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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January 31, 2013 at 05:49:17
I'm curious why you changed the drive letter?

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Related Solutions

January 31, 2013 at 06:26:10
The registry tracks where everything is. When you changed the letter the registry can no longer find the files.

Change the letter back.

Additionally, D is usually reserved for your optical drive. I am also curious as to why you felt the need to change the letter.

The drive should still show in Disk Management, where you should be able to change back to the original letter.

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