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Windows 7: USB drive not visible

11 Sep 2017   #1
MG312

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
USB drive not visible

Hi

A few years ago I was given a couple of USB drives used for activating some software for a company I do some work for. The instructions on them say "Insert the CD Key into a USB port before running the software"

The software is now no longer needed and rather than throw the USB drives away I thought I'd reformat them and use them for storage.

Upon inserting them, Windows shows the usual "Installing device drivers" message, which then disappears. The USB's do not show as available, and do not appear on the "safely remove" list. I even used a defrag program which shows up hard drive partitions not usually visible - still not there.

Am I wasting my time?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
11 Sep 2017   #2
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

It is possible that the company which provided you the drives put some sort of encryption in the hard drive's USB interface. If that is the case, you may be out of luck. But you could try the following, to see if it will work.

See if you can access the drives in Linux. Most Linux distros can be run entirely from DVD, without having to install anything on the hard drive. For example, Xubuntu Linux.

Go to www.xubuntu.com and create either a 32-bit or a 64-bit Xubuntu DVD. Then reboot your computer, making sure to boot from the DVD.

Choose the option to run Xubuntu from the DVD, rather than install it to the hard drive.

Once you are in Xubuntu, plug in your USB drive. After a few seconds, a file manager window should open, allowing you to see the contents of the drive. Note the hard drive label of the external drive - you will need this information for the next step.

Open a terminal window and run GParted. This is a partition tool. You can use this to delete all partitions and then create one new partition.
  • Be aware that deleting a partition will PERMANENTLY REMOVE all data that was in that partition.
Make sure that you partition the correct drive! DO NOT PARTITION YOUR WINDOWS DRIVE! The hard drive label will let you know which drive you are dealing with.

I'm not sure if you can format the drive using GParted. But there are other ways. Here is some info about how to format a drive in Ubuntu (same for Xubuntu):

https://askubuntu.com/questions/6880...external-drive

Again, make sure you are formatting the correct drive! Do not format your Windows drive!

Once you have formatted the drive, you should be able to reboot into Windows and use the drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2017   #3
MG312

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Many thanks, I'll give that a try.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Sep 2017   #4
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Did you try disk management?
Delete ALL partitions and create new. Format as Fat32.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2017   #5
MG312

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Thanks Megahertz07

Just tried this.



Is the un-named volume of 39Mb the USB drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2017   #6
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Should be on disk manager.
Open device manager and look for yellow alerts (driver problem).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2017   #7
MG312

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Thanks.

Device Manager clear.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2017   #8
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

It may be that the USB stick isn't a drive. It can be just a read only device.
Does it show as a drive on BIOS?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2017   #9
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Copy protected USB flash drives/ memory cards cannot be repurposed - normally :). They may have to be hacked to repurpose and use those as normal drives. For example https://www.mgfx.co.za/blog/building...-flash-drives/

You may have to google and find out whether any such hacks are available for repurposing the particular software vendor's copy protected drives. In any case, those hacks may or may not work for there are many variables in the hardware and firmware. Good luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Sep 2017   #10
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

As an alternative, you could open the plastic shell that the drive is in, take the drive out, and then use the drive as a standard internal drive. In all likelihood, there is a standard SATA internal drive inside the shell. But that may not work either, in which case you could try the Linux method I posted above.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 USB drive not visible




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