Question Windows 11 - 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

Golden Member
Oct 25, 1999
1,197
3
81
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?
 

Tech Junky

Senior member
Jan 27, 2022
793
256
96
Check to see if a drive letter is assigned.

If something changed internally HW wise it might have knocked the drive assignment off the interface.
 

Fun Guy

Golden Member
Oct 25, 1999
1,197
3
81
That was the issue. I reassigned the drive letter and now it is accessible.

Odd, since I made no hardware changes, I just rebooted.
 

Tech Junky

Senior member
Jan 27, 2022
793
256
96
That's Windows for you.

I've been fighting with UEFI issues and gpt duplicates preventing a drive from working on my new laptop. Had Windows on a gen 3 drive and cloned it to a gen 4 and got it working for a little bit. Then the trackpad decided to act up and not click like it should. Finally pulled the gen 3 drive completely because fresh windows install was still using the efi partition for some reason and did a fresh install instead. UEFI / tpm / secure boot are a pita.

Assigning a letter seems like a cakewalk after all of that.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,308
1,187
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I've encountered a similar issue, mostly because I seldom use the eSATA front-panel port that I absolutely required for my flagship system.

I have a (now $70 -- was once about $30) StarTech docking station for bare drives, 3.5 and 2.5", SATA HDD and SSD. Very useful device. But I use it occasionally, and forget "what to do". It has both eSATA port and USB 3.0 port. I've verified, after momentary panic, that they both work properly. So it's not the StarTech, not the eSATA cable, not the drives.

Turns out, everything works properly if the eSATA port -- connected to a motherboard Intel storage controller -- is defined as "hot-plug" or "hot-swap" in the BIOS.

What will I encounter with Windows 11? I'm going to take my damn time with that experiment, I tell ya . . . I tell ya. . .
 

mastertech01

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Nov 13, 1999
11,659
16
81
I had the same issue with a flash drive today. I had to assign it as K drive. My computer has 2 hard drives, 2 optical drives, and each of the memory card reader ports gets its own drive letter in Win 11. So that left me having 8 drive letters before inserting the flash drive so I guess that was more than Windows will assign on its own. The same drive popped right up as e drive on my Zbook.
 

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