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


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\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\DeviceClasses
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\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\Contro l\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!
Jan 2 '13 #1
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