Long-time subscriber B.J. (John) Roberts wrote from Australia to ask about problems with his external hard drive
I have "lost my external hard drive".
It is plugged in correctly but does not appear in "My Computer"
I use Vista home basic, Microsoft Outlook and Internet explorer.
Can you tell me how to find it on "My Computer" please?
I wrote back to John to help him solve his problem.
He probably has connected a flash drive or other peripheral drive, and Windows Vista assigned it the drive letter that it normally assigns to his external hard drive. Windows is funny that way. On hard drives, it remembers which drive letter is assigned to that particular hard drive " including external hard drives.
Then, if you reconfigure your computer, perhaps adding a new internal drive, a BluRay drive, or have something else plugged in that the system treats as a drive, it may assign that drive letter again.
The problem comes when you try to hook up the external drive again, and its drive letter is already in use.
The fix is to use Windows drive management functions (diskmgmt.msc) to change the drive letter of the device that installed to something else. Then, you can hook up the external drive and change its letter. At that point, if you like, you can change back the drive letter on the installed device.
One other solution is to use the diskmgmt.msc program to change the letter on the external drive to a much higher letter of the alphabet.
Windows will, by default, assign the next available drive letter to a drive (or anything it recognizes as a drive) when it sees the new drive.
If you change the drive letter on your external hard drive
to something like R or S, then you shouldn’t have any difficulties like this in the future — unless you connect a lot of "drive" peripherals at the same time (flash drives, external drives, memory cards, etc.)