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SATA drive not getting drive letter in XP

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by decaman, Jul 18, 2005.

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  1. decaman

    decaman Thread Starter

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    I am trying to get windows to see this new sata drive on xp box. drive is there, has data because it was once connected before, all cables and connections are good. adaptec sata host controller (pci card) is installed and recognized. windows will NOT recognize the drive or give it a drive letter designation. in disk manager, it shows the drive, the volume, and calls it a "dynamic disk" and is unreadable. see the notes below.

    many, many kind thanks for your help on this hair-puller.

    oh, yes, i have searched many, many threads on many forums. believe me, i wouldnt be here posting this situation if i could find the answer.
    --------------


    1. This is an OEM drive, Samsung SP1213C SATA 120gb.

    2. The first time I tried to install the drive, I had a similar experience -- Windows essentially know it's there but does not assign it a drive letter.

    3. After much futzing around, involving cable swaps, driver updates, sata host controller driver re-installs, windows tweaks, jumper settings, BIOS upgrades, etc, not much happened. Then, one day, the drive appeared and had a drive letter (H:). Seriously. :( :| :) :?

    4. I proceeded to use it for a few months, putting music and pictures on it, mainly. I was able to access it fine. I shutdown/restarted many times.

    5. A month ago I disconnected the drive while it and e/t else was powered down. I went out of town for a week. I came back. I put the drive back in, and Windows saw it, no problem. I continued to put data on it.

    6. Last Thursday Windows stop recognizing the drive for some reason, but the drive is still "there". Here's how I know:


    a. Disk Manager shows the drive as Dynamic Unreadable

    b. SysInfo shows the drive as existant (it's the 111 GB drive)



    I dont remember doing anything drastic. While I was moving data I happened to delete a user (not admin -- just a basic user) profile that i didnt need anymore. that's the ONLY thing i can remember doing that was system related.

    So, what do you think happened? I am at wit's end. I've checked many forums for similar problems but can't find an answer. Admittedly, i AM a moron. One guy with a very similar issue used a partition repair program with success. DO you think I have a problem like that? Corrupted partition tables?

    I think that's the best summary i can give, but im sure i've forgotton something. Any help or ideas any of you could offer would be so appreciated, that i would likely push everlasting good karma your way.

    thank you, again.
     
  2. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    If it is a dynamic disk, just covert it to a basic disk. This way probably a disk that was mapped or may have been part of a raid array.

    To convert to basic disk, start>run type in diskmgmt.msc and hit enter. The drive you want to convert, right click on the right side and choose to convert to basic disk.
     
  3. decaman

    decaman Thread Starter

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    thank you kindly for the response.

    do i risk losing data if i do that? i was concerned that converting it might do so. i think that's what it said might happen when i *almost* begain the conversion you mention above.
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    There is always a risk of data loss when you mess with disk conversions. That is why data is backed up.

    I have never done a conversion on a disk that had anything I wanted; just disks that were going to be formatted anyway. I would think the risk is minimal, however if it is really important info, you might want to make an image of the disk with something like acronis true image. The acronis boot cd should see the drive as long as your bios sees it.This way if something were to happen, you would still have the image.
     
  5. decaman

    decaman Thread Starter

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    thank you for your help on this problem

    the disk does contain critical data. for this reason, i wonder if i am getting into a recovery scenario. i dont know anything about the app you mentioned, but i am willing to try anything. i just purchased a 200gb maxtor drive IDE about 20 mins ago so that i can dump data do it. you think this is the route to go before bad turns to really bad?

    thanks again.
     
  6. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    In order to copy anything, you must be able to "See" the drive in windows. That is why I suggested acronis true image. Acronis generally "Sees" any drive that is detected by your bios. I use this app to make image files quite often. Here is a link to a trial version of acronis I believe the trial is fully functional for a short period [like 15 days]
     
  7. decaman

    decaman Thread Starter

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    thank you all very much. i think it's always good to round off a thread of posts with what actually worked in the end. too often the solution disappears b/c the problem has been fixed and the user sees no need to return.

    so out of respect for your great help and your time, here's what happened, in the end:

    after much deduction, i believe something was amiss with the partition tables. something was corrupted. given the drive's Dynamic Unreadable Unrecognized status, this proved to be quite a situation to remedy.

    i came to this diagnosis after thoroughly checking out the many potential problem areas (drivers, driver updates, cable swapouts, host controller card conflicts, windows settings, hardware settings, etc.) to be aware of when installing these new sata drives. i worked through every single thing to the best of my ability. nothing seemed to work, and the errors i was experiencing told me there was some kind of structural problem on the drive itself.

    i also consulted many experts, both profession and friends. and you nice folks. nothing definitive came out of fixing or reestablishing the connection itself, and i was met with the growing concern that the data was at risk. it seemed like drive failure was in fact a nasty possibility. either way, true fact or not, it didnt matter. you gotta play on the safe side if you havent fixed the problem and you cant get to your data, right?

    so, i began to look into recovery options. i acquired a licensed copy of OnTrack Easy Recovery from a friend. It's regarded as the best out there, and I could not get it to work.

    I also tried full-functioning demos of many types, but for the majority of these, they would not deal with a dynamic disk whose status was "unreadable". Or I had problems reconstructing the drive image.

    i was ready to cry myself to sleep, but then...

    i came across a program called Active Undelete. AU scanned the comp for all available data storage. It DID see the SATA in question. It gave me the option of doing a deep scan on it, which was extremely encouraging. It was actually reading the drive. At the end, a "Recover Files To" box appeared. I was overjoyed. I gave it the destination, copied the files over (i lost NO data) to another drive, and am set.

    I thought you all should know what ultimately happened, as I very much appreciate your help, time, and suggestions.

    I also highly recommend this inexpensive program (like 40 bucks, maybe?). It worked fabulously for me, and I can imagine it would be pretty handy to have around.

    Thanks again, to all of you.
     
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