New USB hard drive does not show up under Windows?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Ramesh S. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently purchased a new external hard drive (via USB connection) for backing up my laptop running Windows XP. When I connect the external enclosure to my system, however, the drive letter is not accessible via 'My Computer'. Device Manager shows the hard drive is there and no errors are reported, but I can't figure out why the drive isn't showing up. Can you please tell me why I can't access the new hard drive? "

My response:

Great question.

The answer is that you need to configure the hard drive geometry before you can use it under Windows. This entails defining the drive letters associated with the hard drive (example: do you want to split your hard drive 50-50 into "E" and "F" drives -- or do you want 100% of the drive labeled as E drive?).

RE: Configuring the Drive Letter under Windows XP Pro

If you are running WinXP Pro, simply to go the Control Panel [switch to Classic View on the left of the screen if you haven't already done so]. Next, double click Administration Tools, and go to Computer Management -> Disk Management; scroll down to the USB hard drive and right click it to get a dialogue window and choose to create a new drive letter. Once that's done you can format the drive and it will be ready to go.

RE: Configuring the Drive Letter using MS DOS and FDISK

If you're not using XP Pro you can use FDISK via MS DOS and configure your drive letter that way. Unfortunately, it's not as easy to use as the Disk Management utility under XP Pro, and is a bit technical. If you've never used FDISK, I suggest you download my "How to install a hard drive" video -- playable on the computer -- and pay attention to video clip #2 (link below):

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