I have a drive that stopped being visible in Windows File Explorer. I tried Disk Management in the Computer Management tool and it's not shown there either. Disk Management does take a longer than normal time to bring up the drives report. My guess it's trying to query the 'bad' drive and failed.

However the drive is visible in the motherboard's BIOS and it's also visible in the HWiNFO32 tool which runs under Windows. Other than using SpinRite which works outside Windows, is there any Windows diagnostics tool which can help fix this problem and get the drive working again? I don't understand why it shows in one Windows tool but not in File Explorer.

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    A little more information might be helpful. What version of Windows? What drive interface? – Paused until further notice. Nov 4 '09 at 5:02
  • Windows XP and IDE. – Tony_Henrich Nov 4 '09 at 16:56
  • Didyou ever figure this out? – ITGuy24 Nov 17 '09 at 14:17
  • No. SpinRite sees the drive too and it said some stuff is damaged. I think some tables. With the speed SpinRite was going for recovery, it was going to take weeks! So I quit. – Tony_Henrich Dec 3 '09 at 19:16

At my office, we once used SpinRite to recover data from a failed drive. Unfortunately, I think SpinRite did more harm than good, with more than a month of non-stop wear & tear on the drive while it was trying to recover the data.

I think your best bet is to try using Linux to clone your failing drive onto a good drive using dd_rescue. You can download an Ubuntu Live CD and use dd_rescue to recover data from the failing drive. After you've cloned the drive, you should also make another copy of the clone.

Once you've cloned the drive and made a backup of the clone, you can try using other utilities to try to repair the filesystem damage, or mount the drive in another computer and try to recover your files from within Windows.

If the drive seems finicky, sometimes you can get it to work better for a short period by freezing it.

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I think i have seen this behaviour when the drive has an assigned drive letter that is already in use as a network drive.

Try connecting it to another computer that only has a C: and D: drive. and see if it works on it and what drive letter it is assigned.

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  • If it's a drive letter assignment, I should be able to see the drive in Disk Management and assign it another drive letter. – Tony_Henrich Nov 4 '09 at 16:57
  • Your right it "should", but sometimes it doesn't. – ITGuy24 Nov 4 '09 at 17:14
  • You could try manually assigning it a drive letter. We attach a usb external drive to some Windows 2003 servers but need to assign it a drive letter to be able to use it. – Mitch Dec 4 '09 at 19:37

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