Problems with USB drives
You insert a USB flash (pen, thumb) drive or other USB storage device into a USB port but Windows doesn't seem to "see" it.
If the drive appears in the "Safely Remove Hardware" in the System Tray but not in Windows Explorer/My Computer, you may be able to access it in one of these ways:
- From Windows Explorer/My Computer, type the letter of the drive (see below) followed by a colon (:) into the address bar, then press Enter.
- Click Start, Run, then type the letter of the drive followed by a colon into the Run dialog box, then click OK.
- From a Command Prompt, type the letter of the drive followed by a colon, then press Enter.
- Rightclick My Computer, choose Manage, then click Disk Management. If your thumb drive appears there, assign it a new/different drive letter.
Another trick that may lead to a more permanent fix:
- Close any open Windows Explorer windows.
- Click Start, then click Run
- Type REGSVR32 /U SHELL32.DLL then click OK
- Click OK when you see a message box
- Type REGSVR32 SHELL32.DLL then click OK (same as before but without the /U)
- Again click OK when you see a message box.
- Open Windows Explorer/My Computer again. If your thumb drive still doesn't appear, try restarting Windows.
Another possibility: if you have network drives mapped to letters, make sure that there are at least a few unmapped letters between your last physical hard drive/CD and the first network drive. If your last physical drive letter is followed immediately by a mapped network drive letter, USB drives may become "hidden behind" the network drive letter(s).
You try to stop a working USB drive and Windows tells you the drive can't be stopped, try later ... again and again ...
Basically, anything that holds a file open from the drive will prevent its being safely stopped, so first, shut down any programs that may have opened files from the drive (and shut down PowerPoint if it's so much as looked at the USB drive for any reason ... it tends to hold files open long after it has any reason to). Shut any open Explorer or command prompt windows.
If that does't work, here are some other things to check, and thanks to Geeky Ramblings for some of these great ideas:
- Log off, log back on and try stopping the drive again.
- Norton (and possibly other AV apps); temporarily shut them down. But SEE BELOW.
- Close Outlook if it's running.
- Open Windows Task Manager ( press Ctrl+Alt+Del ) and select the Processes tab. Click "Explorer.exe" then click "End Process". Your taskbar and any open Explorer windows will disappear and your desktop will clear. Don't worry. Next, on the Task Manager main menu bar, click File and choose "New Task (Run...)" and enter "Explorer.exe" and press Enter.
- Click Start, Run and type SERVICES.MSC. Look for and stop the iPod service. It may interfere with drives other than the iPod's.
- Right-click Recycle Bin, choose Properties and check "Configure drive independently" then set the properties for your USB drive to "Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted". Files deleted from the your USB HDD drive will no longer move to your Recycle Bin, but will be deleted permanently.
- If you have the Diskeeper defragmentation program installed, try shutting down DKPerf.exe.
- If you're the geeky type and want to get straight to the heart of the matter, download Mark Russinovich's FileMon utility and let it watch what happens when you attempt to safely stop the drive.
Note: Just shutting down, or even totally removing Norton or other Symantec products may not be enough. They tend to leave all sorts of junk behind and running and sometimes interfering with your system even when you (think you) have totally uninstalled. In addition to fervently wishing them an eternity in a very very warm locale, have a look here or google SymNRT for a tool that'll allegedly do a full exorcism.