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Old 1st September 2006   #1
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External Hard Drive - Drive Letter Missing (now unallocated)


Hello, first time poster.
I am having trouble with a Maxtor External USB drive. (this is not the first time with this problem) Yesterday, I noticed that my drive letter was missing from explorer so I went to the safely remove USB option which showed the device being present. I then disconnected and reconnected the hard drive and heard two sounds, first (one beep) was the device being recognized and then another sound (two beeps) indicating something was wrong. I went to the disk management and checked for a drive letter. Then noticed at the bottom it was showing an unallocated disk (180 GB) and also had a pop up wizard prompting me to format/partition the drive (which I didn't perform). When this problem occured previously I eventually was able to go to another computer and perform a free pc file recovery with a program off the web. While I was content with this solution it wasn't perfect primarily because I couldn't recover large files (500 MB or bigger). Any easier & possibly free solutions/programs would be appreciated, and once I finally recover what I need, I'm trashing the hard drive.
Thanks!

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Old 1st September 2006   #2
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unplug the drive and reboot. Plug drive back in...If no drive letter, reboot with drive attached.

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Old 1st September 2006   #3
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I haven't needed to use recovery programs recently, but you could search these forums for "recovery", some freebies have been suggested.

If this is the "same" problem that occurred previously, I might think there was a problem in the boot sector (MBR) of the drive. After you recovered your data, I would look at completely removing the partitions and even doing a low-level (zero) format if that was possible. Run through Maxtor's utilities for the drive. If a utility "EZ Bios" is offered, do not install it (although if you run out of options to recover your data, try installing it, recover the data, then uninstall it).

If you are using NTFS format, see what Maxtor recommend, but I would use FAT32. NTFS is more important on the Windows drive.

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Old 1st September 2006   #4
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Originally Posted by Steve R Jones
unplug the drive and reboot. Plug drive back in...If no drive letter, reboot with drive attached.
After following your suggestion and running norton disk doctor, the drive letter appeared, but now it is telling me that it needs to be formatted, which is obviously not what I want to do. Under the properties it is telling me there is 0 used pace and 0 free space. in the disk management it no longer is telling me that the disk is unallocated, but I should also note that I used norton disk doctor to rebuild the partition which could have something to do with the drive letter reappearing. hopefully this didn't damage any of the files that I am attempting to recover.

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