FIX For Drive disappearance issue on Vista & Win7 (XP Scenario 3 at the end)

I have come up with this remedy for the drive letter disappearance issue after closely studying My Passport Essential which I own and it may work for you guys as well.

Important:  This guide is only applicable on external drives that do not suffer from  a hardware issue.

_ First the background: _

Scenario 1 (The Slowness)

My Passport devices are somewhat lazy and take awfully long time to startup when power applied from its USB port. Windows drive enumeration process is taking place rapidly and subjected drive simply incapable to identifying itself to Windows within the given time slot. Other branded or unbranded drives which do not possess hardware drive encryption perform faster on drive enumeration process and do not exhibit this issue. On the given time My Passport only capable of indicating USB interface data and the drive type to Window 7 etc. As a result, Windows mark these drives as empty and not bother to issue a drive letter.

(When My Passport is connected to Windows PC for the first time, Window will allow ample time to ID any drive and wait until driver installation completes. The average user will not experience any issue at this time.)


When the drive is not visible on explorer/Computer, open Disk Management utility and look for the drive corresponding to My Passport and  right click and choose, make partition active. Then assign an upper order drive letter. (E.g… W for WD) Do not assign lower order drive letter such as E, F, G and H so on) Now open windows explore (You should see your drive here at this time) and click “Organize” and the choose “Folder & Search Options”. On folder options click “View” Tab and unchecked “Hide Empty Drives in Computer Folder”.

Scenario 2 (Drive Letter Conflict)

By design, Windows assign drive letters to drives dynamically. For e.g… System partition will be C: and probably D: will be assign to either your second partition or to your CD/DVD. And then next dynamically assigned drive letter will be E:. When initially My Passport is connected to the PC, Windows will most probably assign letter E to My Passport if E is free. Next you may disconnect My Passport and connect another drive (may be a flash) to same port or another. Window will reassign letter E to that drive if no other drive is attached to your PC. Now again you need to access another drive… let’s say X branded USB drive. And the letter E: will be assigned to that drive as well.

Now you want to connect My Passport back in to your PC while other drive is connected or disconnected. (Remember X branded drive had stolen drive letter E: from My Passport) While Lazy Passport getting ready to ID itself to Windows, allocated time slot passes and eventually Windows will mark Lazy Passport as an “Empty Drive”.



Use the remedy described in the previous Scenario. So there will be no chance on drive letter conflict.

Scenario 3 (Windows XP – Copy and paste from Microsoft Support site)

This problem occurs when no device is connected to a USB port. That makes the USB driver set the Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI) controller to a suspended state. When the OHCI controller is in a suspended state, it cannot always detect when you add a new USB device to your computer.



To fix this problem on a Windows XP-based computer, you must be running Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later. To determine if you have Windows XP SP1 or later, click Start , click Run , type winver , and then click OK. If SP1 or later is not listed in the About Windows dialog box, then use Windows Update  ( to install the latest service pack before you try to fix this problem.

Steps to fix this problem

Create a new registry value that prevents an OHCI controller from entering a suspended state.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 322756  ( How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To create a new registry entry that will disable the Selective Suspend feature of the USB hub driver, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start , click Run , type regedit , and then click OK.
  2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\USB
  3. On the Edit menu, point to New , and then click DWORD.
  4. Type DisableSelectiveSuspend , and then press ENTER.
  5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  6. Type 1 , and then click OK.

Note This setting affects all USB host controller drivers in the system.

If the value of the DisableSelectiveSuspend registry entry is set to 1 , the Selective Suspend feature is disabled. Additionally, the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power check box does not appear on the Power Management tab for the USB Root Hub.

Good Luck

Excellent – No Comments so far!  :dizzy_face:

World’s Largest Consumer In Sleep! :smileyvery-happy:

1 Like

‘‘Nothing personal’’

First: You cannot mark a partition as active or assign a drive letter in ‘‘drive manager’’. You can do this in ‘‘Disk management’’.

Second. There are just a few reasons why a drive does not show up under computer. The drive itself could have failed, a letter conflict, the partition on the drive may be damaged, the data cable may no longer be good, or the drive may no longer be getting enough power to fully spin up. 

Third. I guess nobody commented this post before, because it itakes like 15 minutes to read what it says…

Fourth: The scenario number 3 is not very common, don’t know if somebody will use it… 

Hummm, That’s it… Nothing personal, just my comments hahaha :)…

Okay… I’ll correct my typo as on your first comment.

For the second, I had already covered that sort of issues on my first post, which is a sticky now.

Thirdly, I tried to be clear as possible and I am using my second language to help others in a way I can. Since I am not a native English speaker, and  not that English educated to express myself in a short and sweet manner. [SLK]

IMO, if the manufacturer of Windows OS says there is a problem in Win XP; related to USB then it is always worth to post subject matter here, rather than copy and pasting a hyperlink. This may not be an issue for many XP users but…. thought of including that anyway.

If everyone of this forum feels that I shouldn’t be wasting valuable K-bytes on this server and readers time by posting colossal articles, I’ll refrain from typing in the future…

Good Luck to everyone….

Mabikay – SLK

(19.25 Hr. CMB - Sri Lanka)

Hahhaa come on!! :(, that was not personal, my bad if you felt bad… I guess I say my ideas too clearly and directly… However, your post was helpful I was just pointing some other steps…

I apologize if you felt bad due to this comment :(.

I tried to resolve problem considering myself in scenario 1 being (Windows 7 user). But here’s what happened .

  1. Disk Management takes a long time to load when WD is connected.

  2. I click on ‘Make as Active’ which ones again takes forever.

  3. I’m not able to format my hdd too.

The scenarios I explained here are only applicable to fully functional drives that suffer from slow response and Windows limitations. Al steps are workarounds only. Windows next service packs should address issues on dynamic drive letter allocation engine and slow or lazy drives needs firmware update(s).

Looks like your drive has either corrupted file system or connection fault such as bad cable or port. Or it may be an indication of impending hardware fault. As everyone advice here in this community, you can download and run WD DLG diagnostics on suspected drive to verify its status.

 If the PC is intermittently prompting you to format your drive or complain about slow connection speeds (USB 1 instead of USB2), you definitely have a bad connection issue.

If this is the case, you have to resolve that issue first. If WD DLG wasn’t successful or report bad sectors, you need to seek help from HDD Regenerator 2011. This is the only software that I know of repairing disk drives without destroying its data.

HDD Regenerator 2011 Home:

Read info on the website and on the utility itself. Once you finish trial, which only fix one bad sector, you could look on the *bay for free full version. All you have to do is to copy HDD Regenerator.exe from zip file to original trial installed folder and over write the previous one.

Before you begin, read this post if haven done that already.

Good Luck