Lost MyBook Drive Letter



When I first connected the Western Digital MyBook 250 USB2.0 drive to my
brand new Vista Home Basic machine from Acer it ran beautifully. Having
heard all the horror stories about Vista, is was quite delighted to find it
better than I thought. I just left Win98SE behind when my MB flamed out.

Then after a backup image was created and restored after the latest
RealPlayer wouldn't install, I found my MyBook had disappeared from My

Vista Disk Manager finds it but it lacks a drive letter, and a right click
brings up only a help choice which simply opens the generic help screen.
Searching it was fun, but I am unable to do anything much in the command
window probably because of protection.

The Disk Manager says it's in use but I never see any activity. Reinstalling
drivers doesn't help as the drivers are "working". The disk is healthy in
the window, and is called "Disk 1" but seems to be protected from any

The machine works fine whether it is connected or not, and though "safe to
remove" does not work, it removes with no apparent problem

Ubuntu finds it and accesses it just fine either read or write, so the disk
is working as are the
connections. So, it does seem to be some kind of access protection. Windows
finds the same driver each time.

I have tried all the fixes here, including deleting the driver cache and
related files and rebooting, but no joy. I did not apply the hot fix, as it
did not seem to me it was aimed at this problem. My system is fully updated
as of today.

I'm an old DOS jock, so I ma comfortable with a command line if necessary.
As you see, I need help! Any suggestions?

Blessings & peace --- Ray


Eureka! I put together a bunch of stuff I've been reading in this group and
others, and managed to make it happen.

First I discovered the command: cmd exe elevated
which let me acuatlly do something with the command diskpart
I listed the disks
listed the partition on the MyBook
deleted the partition
created a new partition
went back into Vista Disk Management
There I could right click and get all those nifty choices
Then I reformatted as a ntfs volume
Gave it a drive letter
Gave my account full control
and the rest, as they say is history.

There were too many posters who gave pieces of this to thank them all, so
thank you all. I hope someone else can use this.

Now I did one more thing that I am not all that sure was a good idea. I set
my j partition as active. I am not quite sure what that means, but it seems
to be working just fine. Perhaps someone can explain that for me?

Thanks again,


R. C. White

Hi, Wandering.

Thanks for the tip. I'm sure it will help others - but it worries me just a
little. Diskpart.exe is a VERY powerful command and, in the wrong hands, it
can do at least as much harm as good, probably a lot more! I haven't used a
MyBook, but Disk Management should be able to handle almost anything that
you would need to do.

During the Vista beta, we did learn that Vista handles the creation of
"extended partitions" differently from any previous Windows. The first 3
partitions on a new physical drive are created as primary partitions. When
we use DM to create the 4th partition, it is created as a logical drive in a
newly-created extended partition. If we want to create an extended
partition and fewer than 3 primary partitions, then we do need to use
Diskpart.exe to create it. But only a few of us (I'm one of them) need to
use this procedure. (The Help file in Vista's Disk Management has gone
blind on the subject of "extended partitions", so it's not easy to find
information on the new behavior.)

Any primary partition can be marked Active, but only one at a time on EACH
physical drive. Any Active partition on any internal hard drive can be used
to boot the computer (by setting the cables and BIOS to boot from that
physical drive), but I don't have any experience in trying to boot from an
external hard drive. It doesn't hurt anything to leave your MyBook
partition marked Active.

R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX
(e-mail address removed)
Microsoft Windows MVP
(Running Windows Live Mail beta in Vista Ultimate x64)

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