Windows 10: USB HD turns into a local disk and then is ok - why? Solved

  1.    04 Jan 2018 #1

    USB HD turns into a local disk and then is ok - why?


    I've plugged in my 4T USB backup HD into the same USB 3.0 slot for about a year with no issues. Yesterday I plugged in another 2T USB HD into the same slot and then plugged in my backup HD into the 3.0 slot right next to it. Which means they are sharing the same USB port.

    All of a sudden I found out my backup HD became an unidentified 'local disk" according to Windows Explorer. It looked blank and the properties showed 0 data. I then unplugged both USB HD's and plugged in only my 4T USB backup HD and it was then fine. It wasn't a local disk anymore.

    In the past I have had a quirky 1T HD that sometimes would turn into a local disk and I'd reformat it and load it back up with some double backuped files. About a month ago I removed it from my computer, since it seemed unstable and since it was only filled with double backed up image files. I can always access it if needed. So that's the only other instance I've run into with a good HD suddenly turning into a local disk.

    If anyone has a clue why this happened and what should I do to prevent this from happening? Does this mean my 4T backup is unstable? Or is this a Win 10 quirk? Or should I avoid plugging 2 USB HD's into a shared port? If this happens again and it is stuck as a local disk, how can I fix that without losing all my data? My computer is a dedicated audio recording computer so I purposely have Win Updates off and last updated last April.
    Last edited by GerryPeters; 05 Jan 2018 at 02:54.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    05 Jan 2018 #2

    Do the drives that turn to local disk, have their own Power Adapter?
    This is usually caused by the drive not getting enough power from the USB port. If the drive has it's own power adapter make sure you use it and plug it in directly to the Wall not and not thru a Power Strip or Extension cord as this can diminish the power. Also, if using a Desktop computer, be sure to use the Back USB ports and not the Front as these ports are weaker.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    06 Jan 2018 #3

    Yes both are external USB HDís and have their own Power Adapter and both are plugged in power strips with lots of other things plugged in. And yes both were using these USB ports on the front of my computer. I had both of these HDís plugged into the 2 USB 3.0 slots. On the back of the computer I have a USB 2.0 hub plugged into a 2.0 slot. There are about 8 USB devices on that powered hub.

    If this Is why I had this local disk problem, my big question is, if I continued to do things the same way and it happened again, will the whole HD lose all itís data permanently? Or when it happens if I make the changes like you suggested will I find that it works again and no data is lost?


    So far when this happened all I needed to do to fix it was to safely remove both USB HDís and unplug the USB cords from my computer and then plug back my USB 4T backup HD only and then it was fine.

    Many times in the past Iíve had both these USB HDís plugged up the same way and it all worked fine, transferring data between them. So in light of that was this maybe some unusual quirk that may not ever happen again? Or am I risking losing all the data on the HD by continuing my same approach?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    06 Jan 2018 #4

    I can't tell you what your HDD is going to do or not do with your setup. But rather then have a USB HUB, I would invest in a USB 3.0 PCIe card that can give you another 4 or 8 ports.
    I have found that most USB Mass Storage drives, like USB HDD's work best plugged directly into the Back USB port and not thru a Hub. Mice, Keyboards, Printers, Scanners, Cameras, can all be plugged into Hubs or Front ports
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  5. Posts : 366
    Windows 10 Pro 1803 17134.81
       07 Jan 2018 #5

    Plugging the HD in the back USB 3.0 is the best since maybe if you have a marginal cable (Performance wise) and you add and additional 1'-2' of extra cable, which is how your front ports are hooked up, I have had similar issues. Also it could also be an issue with dirt/dust in the front ports. Get some canned air and try blowing them out.

    Since when you re-plugged in the drive and it worked correctly, I do not believe you will loose any data since the system knows there is a HD there, but it never got the correct handshake to id it. If it happens again, it would be best to run Disk Management and post a screen print of what Disk Management is saying the status of the drive is.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6.    07 Jan 2018 #6

    storageman said: View Post
    Plugging the HD in the back USB 3.0 is the best since maybe if you have a marginal cable (Performance wise) and you add and additional 1'-2' of extra cable, which is how your front ports are hooked up, I have had similar issues. Also it could also be an issue with dirt/dust in the front ports. Get some canned air and try blowing them out.

    Since when you re-plugged in the drive and it worked correctly, I do not believe you will loose any data since the system knows there is a HD there, but it never got the correct handshake to id it. If it happens again, it would be best to run Disk Management and post a screen print of what Disk Management is saying the status of the drive is.
    Thanks for the info. Good suggestions. Iíll do the canned air thing as a precaution. Iíve continued to plug it in the front, because every night I plug up my backup HD and run my backup routine, then in the morning I unplug it. Iíve started plugging other HDís in the back.


    I still wonder if part of the problem is that I have 2 3.0 USB slots in the front next to one another. They are sharing I think itís termed the same port. I found out that on my computer all adjacent USB ports are sharing and itís very bad to plug in a HD right next to my audio interface USB slot. It can cause problems with the audio.

    So I still wonder if that is part of my initial problem. From now on Iíll shy away from doing that with HDís. So what you're saying is that as long as the front port cables are in good working order there should be no problems.

    Thatís reassuring that you donítí think Iíll be losing data continuing to use the front port. Isnít a local drive an internal drive? If so then my computer was perceiving my HD not as an external drive when the malfunction happened.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 366
    Windows 10 Pro 1803 17134.81
       08 Jan 2018 #7

    Well the term "Local Drive" can mean anything and in reality, File Explorer is only reporting what it THINKS it SEE's. A Disk Management display should tell use a bit more on the current status of your drive.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  •    08 Jan 2018 #8

    My response in this thread explains a little further what is happening in your situation USB hub problem - Page 2 - Windows 10 Forums
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  •    09 Jan 2018 #9

    Thanks for all your advice Spunk. On this desktop computer I have a powered 2.0 hub and only minor devices are plugged into it. I’d never plug in a HD into the hub. I did use some compressed air on the ports and I’ll now only plug in 2nd or 3rd HD’s into the rear of my computer, but for reasons stated in the above I want to continue to use the front ports for my backup HD for now, since it’s worked fine for over a year.


    Of course if this problem happens again, I’ll try some of the other solutions. Hopefully this was just a quirky thing that happened possibly because I had a 2nd HD plugged in to the adjacent port. I won’t do that again
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  •    2 Weeks Ago #10

    After several months I've found that if I plug in a 2nd HD into the adjacent USB 3.0 slot on the front of my computer, my USB backup HD most of the time shows up as a local disk, until I unplug the other HD. On my computer adjacent USB pairs are linked together.


    So now I know I should I avoid plugging 2 USB HD's into a shared port? So basically the problem is fixed as long as I plug the 2nd HD into a 2.0 slot on the front of my computer - easy fix.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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