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External Hard Drive Takes On False Identity

Started by NonGeek, May 24, 2009, 20:23 hrs

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I have two WD 1TB MyBook External Hard Drives, that sit next to each other.

Drive A is named WD A and has 400 GB of music files, which I created with Sonar, in one folder named A.

Drive B is named WD B and has 900 GB of vacation photos and home video files in four folders named B1, B2, B3, and B4. 

I alternately plug the USB hard drives into a Toshiba Satellite Laptop, Intel Core 2 T5500 @ 1.66 GHz, 4 GB RAM, Vista Home Premium w Scv Pk 1.


I plugged in WD A to the Laptop, and when the menu popped up, it indicated that I had plugged in WD B.  I wondered how I could have mixed them up, but I stopped it, unplugged it, and plugged in the other drive.  When the menu opened, it indicated that it was also WD B.  I opened the folders on the HD and all the appropriate files were there.  I stopped the drive, unplugged it, and plugged the first drive back in to the Laptop's USB port.

The window that opened once again indicated that this drive was WD B and that it contained the four file folders that are supposed to be on WD B, but when I tried to open the folders, they were empty.  I went back to the menu of My Computer, and moused-over the drive name.  It indicated that the drive had 400 GB of data, which is correct for WD A, but I can't access any of the data.  The folder named A does not appear.

So external hard drive WD A has taken on the name and the folders of external hard drive WD B.  It does not appear to have any of the actual files from WD B, and WD A appears to have the correct amount of data on it, but the folder containing that data has disappeared.

It's sort of a Twilight Zone moment.

I don't recall actually transferring any data between the two drives.  I have not previously had any problems with the two drives.  Both drives are less than a year old, and I purchased them new. 

I plugged the problem drive into a different computer, running Windows XP, to see if the name change and missing data problem were still there, and the problem was exactly the same.

Can anyone help me out here?  I would like to get my files back.  Thanks.


It may be that the drives are competing for the same drive letter, which causes problems such as you described.

Under Administrative Tools, go into Computer Management and select Drive Management from the choices. With one drive plugged in, find it in the list and right click on it, and then select "Change Drive Letter and Paths". Give it an appropriate drive letter, and then do the same with the second hard drive. (You should be able to safely ignore the warning message) However, make sure that you give the second hard drive a different letter assignment.
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Mark H

Windows will give a connected drive the first available letter, so if you connect each one separately (not at same time), they will get the same drive letter. You need to do as Scuzzy mentioned to tell Windows to give each drive their own unique identity.

By the way, welcome to Poasters!

Mark H
Enjoy the nature that is around you rather than destroying it.