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XP Win Explorer not recognizing drives

By hschoenman ·
I am running XP Home with SP2. It was installed as an upgrade over Win 98SE. I first noticed that my old digital camera (Olympus) was not automatically recognized as another drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer but I could type in the drive letter to see the contents.

I purchased a new disk drive, made it my bootable C drive, formatted two partitions and used the supplied utilities to copy Windows and my files. Explorer exhibits the same problem, the second partition and the old HD do not automatically show up but will if the drive letters (F and G) are typed in. I also thought it strange that the system did not assign drive letters D and E to these drives and move my CD-R and CD-Rom drives to F and G, but it didn't. Once I manually type the drive letter into Explorer, I can do file operations without any problems.

I have searched throughout various Help databases but could find nothing that would correct this.

Thanks for any help on this problem.

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by diskaus In reply to XP Win Explorer not recog ...

Ok firstly Win 98SE operates on fat32, Win XP operates on NTFS, therefore (from experience) they do not see each other , so it is very easy to format the wrong drive when 2 or more drives with the 2 different file formats. secondly it is always best to do a clean install of any windows operating system otherwise it almost always ends up with problems in my opinnion.
I find this is the best way to ensure the least amount of problems occuur.
In your case I would back up your personal files from 98SE then get the model number and the manufacturer of the new HDD and download the diagnostic utility for it ( or use third party software that writes zeros to the drive) low level format ( write zeros) the new drive , then using the bootable XP Cd and follow the
on-screen prompts to create and partition the drive and make sure you format NTFS then install XP, then copy the personal files to the new operating system.
If you wish to keep your old drive as a storage drive i suggest you format it to NTFS as well but only after you have coppied your personal files from it first.
You should not have much trouble after that as long as you do not go tampering with the windows files.

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by hschoenman In reply to

Thank you for the suggestions. I am aware of 1) it's always better to do a clean install, 2) that said I did not want to go through the "pain" of reinstalling all of my software (but I did burn CDs of all of my data), 3) I am also aware that NTFS is normally a better choice for XP than is FAT32, 4) I chose to format the new drive into two FAT32 partitions (rather than 1 or 2 NTFS partitions) because of wanting to install Linux in the second partition. If the problem is truly that the F and G drives are FAT32 then I guess I'll just have to live with it.

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by TheChas In reply to XP Win Explorer not recog ...

First off, Windows XP can work with either a FAT32 or NTFS drive.
Windows 98 cannot read a NTFS volume without 3rd party utilities.

Next, Windows XP assigns drive letters in the order of installation. If you have a C: drive and the optical drives are assigned as and E:, when you add hard drives they will be assigned the next available drive letter.

You can manually change the assigned drive letters as needed.

Now, as to your problem:

Have you scanned the system for viri and Mal-ware?
Anytime you have strange symptoms, the first thing to do is check for mal-ware.

Make sure your anti-virus definitions are up to date, then scan the system.

Follow up with a spy-ware scan using both AdAware and SpyBot

The next thing I would do would be to force Windows to re-install the IDE controller and drives.

Open device manager.
Remove all hard drives and optical drives.
Then remove all IDE controllers.

Close device manager and re-boot.

You might also want to try downloading and installing the latest IDE driver for the chip-set on your motherboard.

If this does not take care of things, you may have a conflicting entry in the hardware ENUM key of the registry.

I recommend either Norton Win Doctor or V-Com Fix-It to scan and correct errors in the registry.


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by hschoenman In reply to

Chas, removing the drives and controllers in dev mgr and letting windows rediscover them and reassign the drive letters anew seemed like a good idea that might work. I did that, but after I rebooted (twice) I was right back where I started, i.e. the only way to see the F and G drives is to type their drive letters into Explorer.

I run Norton A-V with real-time scanning and auto-update. I also periodically run both Ad-aware and Spybot S&amp.

I searched for ENUM in the key field of HKLM in the registry but did not see any apparent problems (doesn't mean there weren't any). I will probably try a registry cleaner next.

I have not downloaded the latest driver for the IDE controllers. That driver is so low-level that I just don't see where it would be causing this problem.

I may just have to chalk this up to a problem I will have to live with rather than do a clean XP install and then install all of the software and the XP patches all over again.

Thanks for your suggestions.

I guess what I am looking for is someone else that has had this same problem and solved it (sort of reinstallation of XP).

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by diskaus In reply to XP Win Explorer not recog ...

Just a note:
To my knoledge Linux does not need fat32 or NTFS and uses its own system and therefore formatss the drive accordingly.

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by hschoenman In reply to

Diskaus, Linux formats the disk as EXT3. The problem is that I have a distribution, Simply Mepis, that runs directly from a CD but allows a hard drive install. It will create it's own partition but it sees NTFS as undividable and wants to install itself onto the whole drive, which would not be a good thing.

Thanks for your suggestions.

I guess what I am looking for is someone else that has had this same problem and solved it (sort of reinstallation of XP).

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