I Cant Access My USB Drive.

Have you ever plugged in your USB flash drive and it does not show up in Windows Explorer?  There could be a couple of reasons for this.  If your computer has more than 1 drive installed (which most do), or you have another USB device plugged in your problem could be a simple fix.  Windows remembers what drive letter it assigns to removable drives (USB Flash Drives, External USB connected devices). When you plug in your USB drive Windows assigns it a drive letter, lets say the letter "G".  The next time you plug in your drive it will assign the letter "G" again. If you have not used your USB drive in a while and you have plugged in a external hard drive for your backups which you leave plugged in,  Windows will assigned it the letter "G".  When you plug in your USB drive you may not find it.

What has happened is that Windows wants to assign your USB drive the letter "G" but your backup drive has taken that letter.  The fix will require you to change the drive letter of either your backup drive or the USB drive.  To accomplish this, you can use the built-in tools in Windows "Drive Management" console.  This can be accessed in Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 by right clicking "My Computer" then selecting "Manage".  This will open the Computer Management snap-in.  From there you will see the "Disk Management" utility.  You should be able to right click on one of the external drives for the option to change the drive letter.  After this is complete, the next time you plug in one of those drives it will remember which letter you choose.This is the most common reason for a USB drive not showing up.  

I found another reason by a trial and error troubleshooting.  CCS has a customer who uses USB Flash drives to backup the daily documents they work on. After a user installed a USB printer the drive stopped showing up in where it was normally found.  This was just a basic printer, no media card readers (which do get assigned a drive letter), no scanner, just a printer.  After checking the Disk Management settings, I noticed that the drive did not show up at all.  The culprit was the power supply of the computer. 

Most USB Flash drives (as well as some other USB Devices) get power from the computer rather than a separate power supply.  Even though the printer did have its own power supply, it still received enough power from the PC to cause the flash drive to not receive any power. It acted like it was broken. Once the printer was unplugged from the USB port, and the Flash Drive plugged in, it was able to be accessed as usual. Sound weird? You betcha… I would have never guessed that a USB device with an external power source could drain enough power from the PC to cause a USB drive not to work. But believe me, I have seen weirder things transpire by adding a simple device to a PC.

If you have any questions about your system, send me an email or call the CCS Support Department at 800-672-4806. We are here to help.

-Bryan alt

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