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Upgrade to W2003 R2 SP2 leaves USB Memory Sticks without Drive Letter

    Question

  • Hi,

      I have been helping a friend of mine to upgrade his W2K Server to W2K3. The upgrade did not go smoothly (it took forever) but in the end we managed to get it to work. Then we proceeded to update to current status with all the available patches. As it stands right now, it is up to date, stable, running OK and all the hardware has been recognized and works reliably with the correct drivers.

    The problem showed up when they tried to use USB Flash Drives as manual backups. They do local backups and also off-site. They backup business data manually (i.e. no app) by simply copying the info into USB Flash Drives.

    They tried to use the same USB Drives they were using with W2K but suddenly none of them works. The symptoms are all the same:

    The drives are recognized as USB Mass Storage Device and Generic Flash Disk USB Device (as it should). But no drive letter is assigned. The drives are not visible in Explorer.

    In Disk Management the Flash Drives are visible but with no letter assigned to them. If one tries to assign a letter, Disk Management accepts the command but does not provide the pop-up window to make such change. If one tries to format the Flash Drives it displays the message: Logical Disk Manager - The format did not complete successfully.

    There are no errors related to this in any shape or form in any Event Viewer.

    The USB driver for flash drives belongs to MS and it is the current one 10/1/2002 v5.2.3790.0

    USB Hubs and Host Controllers are all up to date and working properly (any other USB device that is not a memory works properly, such as HDDs, CD/DVDs, cameras, etc.)

    I have tried all the standard cures out there. Namely:

    - Change the drive letter: Disk Management won't do it

    - Format: error message

    - Boot in Safe Mode: USB not assigned a drive letter, same as in normal boot

    - Other USB drives: same result (also tested these drives -7- in other PCs and are all OK).

    - Others: such as Geparted automount enable and running DriveCleanUp to remove all the dead entries in the registry from:

    Removes from the device tree non present
    - USB hubs
    - USB mass storage devices
    - USB Disk devices
    - USB CDROM devices
    - USB Floppy devices
    - USB Storage Volumes
    - USB WPD devices (Vista, Win7 only)

    and their linked registry items under

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\DeviceClasses
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2\CPC\Volume

    Then  I started searching for XP-related issues (since W2K3 is essentially XP) and came across this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925196?wa=wsignin1.0

    This is simply a KB indicating that sometimes two entries are to be removed from the registry (UpperFilters and LowerFilters from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}) to solve this issue.

    Upon removal of said entries the USB Flash drives were recognized OK and assigned drive letters OK. However, the same process re-assigned all the HDD Drive Letters to the point of interfering with normal W2K3 operations. This would not have been so bad, if it would be possible to revert to the original drive letter using Disk Management, however, if one tries to access it, it hungs forever at the stage of: "Connecting to Logical Disk Management service".  In other words, Disk Manager becomes inaccessible. Reverting the Registry deletions gets the system back to the original state (i.e. not assigning USB letters, but assigning correct HDD letters).

    In other words, the issue is directly related to the registry and has nothing to do with hardware (MOBO or flash drive) or software (third party or the OS) issues.

    Any idea would be greatly appreciated indeed!


    • Edited by globus998 Monday, December 31, 2012 6:15 PM
    Monday, December 31, 2012 5:37 PM

All replies

  • I'd make sure the computer or mobo manufacturer 2003 chipset has been installed.

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Monday, December 31, 2012 6:18 PM
  • I'd make sure the computer or mobo manufacturer 2003 chipset has been installed.

    Tx! Of course! It is. All drivers are up to the latest.

    Also, if it would be a driver issue, removing UpperFilters would not have made any difference. However, it does. It is clearly a registry issue, but I have no further info as to how to go about troubleshooting. There are no further error messages that I can see or error codes or logs.

    Monday, December 31, 2012 6:31 PM
  • Ok, but that may not be the same thing. The mobo chipset is required for integrated hardware to function correctly. If you think the registry is damaged then this one might help.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816579

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Monday, December 31, 2012 6:35 PM
  • Ok, but that may not be the same thing. The mobo chipset is required for integrated hardware to function correctly. If you think the registry is damaged then this one might help.

    Tx, but I think we need a clarification. The term "chipset" refers to the physical, hardware, integrated circuits that are soldered on the MOBO. I don't think you are suggesting to replace them, since, in practical terms, it is not possible. I understand that you are asking if the drivers for said "chipsets" for example the Northbridge and the Southbridge and associated hardware components (PCI interfaces, HDD controllers) etc. have been updated to the latest version. If this is your question then the answer is yes. They are all up to date.

    Wrt Registry corruption, no. I do not suspect the registry is corrupted. What I suspect is that for some unknown reason W2K3 made standard changes to the registry and those standard changes are preventing the USB Flash Drive to be assigned a letter.

    Wrt to the idea of doing an in-place upgrade, it would seem to me that it is like trying to go hunting mosquitoes with a nuclear weapon. It's outcome is not only uncertain (W2K3 will make the same changes as it did before when it in-place upgraded from W2K) but it may actually create other problems during the installation.

    The issue must be a minute entry, somewhere in the registry. Again, if this would not be the case, then removing UperFilters would not have any effect. Alas, it does.

    Monday, December 31, 2012 7:07 PM
  • The manufacturer chipset allows windows and drivers to comunicate properly with the mobo integrated hardware. With that said I'd suggest doing a clean install, then chipset before any additional drivers and or service packs.

     

     

     


    Regards, Dave Patrick ....
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties or guarantees , and confers no rights.

    Monday, December 31, 2012 7:12 PM
  • The manufacturer chipset allows windows and drivers to comunicate properly with the mobo integrated hardware. With that said I'd suggest doing a clean install, then chipset before any additional drivers and or service packs.

    So... now you are suggesting going hunting bacteria with a nuclear weapon????

    The whole point of doing an in-place upgrade from W2K to W2K3 is *not* to have to re-install everything under the sun.

    Again, it is clearly a setting in the registry. This should be fixed by a surgical change, not by killing the patient.

    Fine. Thank you for your input. Just one last thing, sometimes is good for the soul to just recognize that you don't know. I think this is one of such times....

    Monday, December 31, 2012 7:19 PM
  • You might just need to reassign a drive letter to the drive.  Check in disk management and see if the drive is showing up there.

    Hi, tx for the input, but as I stated in the first post, Disk Management does not work when it comes to any USB drives. I cannot reassign a drive letter, or any drive letter to any USB for that matter.
    Monday, December 31, 2012 11:06 PM