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USB Drive Recognized but not assigned letter

13109 Views 19 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  TheMatt
Note: I was told by moderator TheMatt here to start a new thread for this, so please don't consolidate it .

Original Post:

Hey everyone, I've got a weird problem here.

I bought an MP3 player and it's one of these USB ones that can also act as a flash drive. So I plug it in and it installed properly but it isn't assigned a drive letter and I can't find it in My Computer. Also my computer seems to really lag when it's plugged in, programs will hang but when I unplug it they pop right open. The player works like a top on my brother's computer though.

Here's what I've tried so far, based on searches for an answer:

- Uninstalling and reinstalling it.
- Uninstalling all USB components and allowing WinXP to find them again.
- Installing a program called "Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager"
- Going in to the "Manage" in My Computer and trying to assign it a drive letter, however as I mentioned this screen just hangs whenever it's plugged in, but as soon as I unplug it the screen pops right up.
- Installing the driver (The manual said it wasn't nessesary for WinXP but since it didn't work I figured I'd try it)
- Shutting down every non essential program and trying it then.
- Restarting windows
- Checking to see if there were any windows updates (There weren't)

Any ideas?

I've now also tried this:
Go into the services window (Start > Run... > Services.msc) and enable these:

Plug and Play
Universal Plug and Play Device Host

I wasn't able to try this:
when the Add New Hardware Wizard pops up, click Install from a specific location manually, and put a check in Include this location in the search, and select C:\WINDOWS\inf in the adjacent window. Then let it search, and it should find it.

because the add hardware wizard doesn't pop up, all that comes up is this icon

and when I hover over it it says "Safely Remove Hardware"

So it knows it's there, it just wont give it a drive letter and let me access it.
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Go into the Control Panel and click Add New Hardware. It should scan and detect the MP3 Player. Then follow the steps. If it doesn't find it, go into the device manager and see if it appears as an unknown device.

When you enabled those services, did you make sure they were set to Automatic in the properties window and then did you click the Start button after to start it?

What brand/model MP3 Player is it? I had a very similar issue with my new Samsung MP3 play. I have noticed that most Samsung MP3 players have this issue as well.
It already finds it, and shows it as 2 things
- SigmaTel MSCN USB Device
- USB Mass Storage Device

When I click on either it just comes up and says "The Device is working properly"

I didn't do that automatic thing before, I just did it now but it didn't help.

It's a Curtis MP 1003

Thanks for your time in helping on this.
If it doesn't show in device manager, try another USB port. If you are using a front USB port, try the ones in the back of the computer. BTW, does it light up or show that it is reciving power? And do you get that little icon when when all your flash drives and USB drives except the MP3 Player? If so, what does it display when you right click and select Safely Remove Media?
- If it doesn't show in device manager, try another USB port. If you are using a front USB port, try the ones in the back of the computer.

It does show up in the device manager as "USB Mass Storage Device"

- BTW, does it light up or show that it is reciving power?

Yes, and I also get the little "da dum" sound.

- And do you get that little icon when when all your flash drives and USB drives except the MP3 Player?

I don't have any other flash drives, the only other things I use USB for are joysticks and they work fine. I've tried unplugging them, but still nada.

- If so, what does it display when you right click and select Safely Remove Media?

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Do you have TWEAK UI installed.

If so you may not have the drive letters available.

Run TWEAKUI and enable the drive letters.


Nope, I checked and I don't have that program.

Tweakui is here

Unless the drive letters are ticked in, to make them available to Windows. Windows cannot see any drive with a letter that is not ticked in.
Except in Control Panel, Admin Tools Storage


well they show up as ticked in and the ones that don't have anything assigned have a red dot with a white question mark in them.

I use partition magic, and have a Z drive s4et up, could that be screwing it up?

Please advise what

Z drive s4et up is.

I can't find anything using google.

Is this a disk drive oerlay program or something else.


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oh sorry that was a typo. I mean I use Partition magic, and one of my drive letters I use is Z.

So I have:
A : Floppy Disk Drive
C : Hard Disk Drive
D : Hard Disk Drive
E : CD Disk Drive
F : DVD Disk Drive
G : Hard Disk Drive
H : Virtual DVD Disk Drive
Z : Hard Disk Drive
So, I guess I'm screwed huh?
Not yet. Try uninstalling the MP3 Player in device manager and letting Windows reinstall the driver. See if it works then. If you can't assign a drive letter in either partition magic or the disk management, I would next try it on another computer to check if it may be a problem with the MP3 Player itself.
I've already tried uninstalling and reinstalling, and it works on my brother's computer fine. I guess I forgot to put those on my list.

Do you know how I would go about getting Partition Magic to change my drive letters? Can I do that without it screwing up my programs on that drive?
Does Disk Management or Partition Magic see the MP3 Player? if so, you should be able to just assign a drive letter.

When you went into device manager to uninstall it, were there any yellow !'s next to it?
When I go in to disk management it is perpetually frozen until I unhook the usb drive then it comes up and shows the regular drives. Partition Magic works fine but then doesn't see it at all.
That is very odd. I have another idea. It is kind of long, but it is worth a shot.


First, run Windows Update. Go to Install all the updates it finds. It may ask to restart, but do not do so yet.

Now, go into device manager and uninstall the driver for the MP3 player like you did before. Then unplug the MP3 player, but do not plug it back in yet.

Reboot, and right before the XP screen is supposed to appear, press and hold F8 until you get a boot menu. Then, select Safe Mode with networking.

Once you log on, plug your MP3 player in. Hopefully, it will not recognize it, and it will pop up with the Add New Hardware Wizard. If it doesn't, go into the device manager and click Install.

When you get the add new hardware wizard, say you are connected to the internet (only if you are). Then, on the next screen, select Install the Driver from a specific location.

On the next screen, un-check the box labeled Search Removable Media and put a check in the box labeled Include this Location in the Search. For the location, choose "C:\WINDOWS\inf\" (if the "inf" folder does not appear, go into Start > Settings > Control Panel > Folder Options > View > Show Hidden Files and Folders) Then, click next. It should find the driver.

If it doesn't, un-check the box labeled Include this Location in the Search, and put a check in the box labeled Search Removable Media. Now, pop in the CD that came with the MP3 Player. Have it search that.

Once it has found the driver, reboot and go back in normally. If it boots up in safe mode by default, press F8 in the same way as before, and select Start Windows Normally. Now plug in your MP3 Player and see if Windows Explorer recognizes it.

If those steps don't work, check if it is recognized in Windows Media Player as a portable media device. You may need to use that to transfer music. Note that sometimes it requires Windows Media Player 10, so you might have to upgrade it.
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Ok, I'mma need some time on that one.
Meh, I just got rid of it and got a new one, this one still doesn't show up in my computer but I can at least get in to it when I go to My Computer -> Manage.

Thanks for the effort though, it was appreciated.
Did you see if Windows Media Player recognizes it as a portable media device?
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