All of a sudden I can't see my external USB HDD in Explorer, I can still see in Device Manager and Disk Management, however...


Fun Guy

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Rebooted my laptop and suddenly I can't access my 2TB WDD external HDD.

Drive shows up fine in Device Manager - This device is working properly.

Also shows up fine in Disk Management - Healthy (Basic Data Partition).

But the drive is nowhere to be found in File Explorer (Windows Explorer).

What's going on?
 
Windows Build/Version
Windows 11 Version 21H2 (OS Build 22000.652)

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11

Berton

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Does it have a drive letter assigned in Disk Management? If not File Explorer can't see it. Have seen times where it was necessary to shut the computer completely down and pull the power cord out of it, wait a few minutes for residual power drain from the motherboard then start over. While it's off reseat the USB cable.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro RTM x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 3400
    CPU
    Intel Core i5
    Memory
    8GB
    Hard Drives
    256GB SSD NVMe
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro RTM x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 5890
    CPU
    Intel Core i5
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Onboard, no VGA using DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter
    Monitor(s) Displays
    21"
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD NVMe, 2TB WDC HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender/Microsoft Security

Fun Guy

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Does it have a drive letter assigned in Disk Management? If not File Explorer can't see it. Have seen times where it was necessary to shut the computer completely down and pull the power cord out of it, wait a few minutes for residual power drain from the motherboard then start over. While it's off reseat the USB cable.
That was the issue, thanks!

Why would the computer "lose" the drive letter all of a sudden?

I've been building computers since 1993, and never had this issue.
 

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    Windows 11

idgat

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Why would the computer "lose" the drive letter all of a sudden?

I've been building computers since 1993, and never had this issue.

Happening with disconcerting frequency with me. Overcome it to a greater extent by ... when Explorer recognises the drive on re-start, I use Windows Tools > Computer Management to change the drive letter. Windows seem to then remember this drive and letter in the future.

Make sure you use a drive letter further up the alphabet, so it's not conflicted if there's another USB device already connected.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP
    CPU
    Intel i5-9400
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT730
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32"
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    2 x 1TB SSDs
    Internet Speed
    Classic Australian w.a.p.
    Antivirus
    KIS

Bree

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Why would the computer "lose" the drive letter all of a sudden?
Happening with disconcerting frequency with me....

You may have automount turned off. If so any new usb drive will not be automatically assigned a drive letter. Only drives you have used before and already assigned letters to will be visible in File Explorer.

 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB HDD
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    i5 M 520
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

Fun Guy

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