Long-time subscriber Ed McDowell wrote because of a Windows XP phantom drive problem that had just crept up:
Do you have any experience with the WinZip System Utilities Suite? I think that it has buggered up my old Windows XP laptop as it has installed a Ricoh Memory Stick as drive E and I can’t seem to get rid of it.
I suspect that Ed has a card reader in his computer, and that the program (or some other change coincidentally made the change) simply found it and added it to the list of drives.
Windows XP systems will assign a drive letter to all drives they find, including each of the readers in a multi-card reader that is installed.
As a contrast, Windows 7 does not pre-assign drive letters to removable devices. When an actual readable or writeable device (a flash drive, an SD card, a CDROM, or a DVD) is inserted, Windows 7 will assign the first available drive letter to it.
When I insert an SD card in the card reader in my desktop computer running Windows 7 Professional, it gets assigned to drive D:. That’s the same drive letter that is used when I insert a CD or DVD into my DVD burner.
So, I wrote back to Ed to ask if he has a memory stick reader built into his computer.
It may be that the program simply identified it and set it up as a drive, which is the usual way they are seen, especially in WinXP. In Win7, any removable device will load in place of any other — e.g., my DVDRW drive is normally D:, but when I plug in an SD card into the multi-card reader I installed, the SD card is identified as D: (as long as the DVD drive is empty, of course).
He may be able to do something in the Windows disk management plug-in — Start > Run > diskmgmt.msc
I don’t know for sure and am not running WinXP on any computers, so I can’t check it, though.
Also, if the memory stick (I assume it’s a reader, not an actual memory stick plugged in that he’s complaining about) shows in Device Manager (Control Panel > System > Device Manager), he can "uninstall the device" as far as Windows XP is concerned.
Of course, Windows XP might should find it the next time he boots the computer and set it up again as a card reader, but perhaps won’t set it up as a drive if there’s not a memory stick in the reader.