"A device which does not exist was specified" but for folders?


  1. Posts : 36
    Windows 10
       #1

    "A device which does not exist was specified" but for folders?


    I have an external drive that I use to backup my hard drive, about every month. I haven't had it too long and it doesn't get much use because that's all I use it for.

    But for the last two months I have been unable to use it.
    I plug it in, all seems fine, I start my robocopy process, but eventually everything it tries to copy fails with the statement "A device which does not exist was specified."
    I got through a lot of files already, but then hit this wall. I stop the process and try again, and I just get hit by this error instantly.

    I navigate through the drive manually, and I can see the files, except that some folders give me this same error when I try to open them. So it's not having a problem seeing the drive letter, but its a problem seeing specific folders?

    I tried the error-checking tool in the properties dialog for the drive. It ran through and checked everything, and fixed errors, but then I still have this same problem after copying some files.

    I tried searching for this error, but everything is directing me to check things like the drive is installed correctly, I don't see anything about getting this error on certain directories.

    My best guess is that there is a hardware malfunction, but even that doesn't line up because that should have been found with the error checking, or cause problems far worse than this.

    What is going on?
    What should I be checking?
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 1,874
    Windows 10 Pro (+ Windows 10 Home VMs for testing)
       #2

    I'm guessing the external drive is USB. USB 2 or USB 3? Make/model of external drive?

    If it's 2.5" then is it self-powered, i.e. just the one connection cable providing both power and data, or does it use a second cable for power?

    Does the drive appear in Disk Management and is it assigned a drive letter?

    Do you have another data cable you can use for a 'substitution' test?

    Hope this helps...
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 2,198
    Windows 11 Pro (latest update ... forever anal)
       #3

    Backup? User files, System files, OS .... which ?

    Error message : from Robocopy ? Windows ?

    Capture an image of the message screen and post it here.

    EDIT : Thought : as you plug and unplug a USB device, a different drive letter can be assigned on different occasions. Is the Robocopy script set to a defined destination drive letter, and the device when connected is assigned a different letter ?
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 43,290
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #4

    idgat's idea about the drive letter changing is a good one, but a robust backup tool would detect the backup drive didn't exist right at the start and provide a clear warning.

    It doesn't sound as if that's the problem, though, as you say
    I navigate through the drive manually, and I can see the files, except that some folders give me this same error when I try to open them.
    It may be that there's a hardware problem with the port/cable/interface hardware or even power.

    Have you tried-
    - using a different drive and cable on the same port?
    (I.e. exclude the drive and cable as the potential source of the problem)

    Try downloading and running e.g. Hard Disk Sentinel (full functional trial/giveaway - excellent- result right on GUI) and see what it says about your drive(s).
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 32,076
    10 Home x64 (22H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    Marscaleb said:
    ...I plug it in, all seems fine, I start my robocopy process, but eventually everything it tries to copy fails with the statement "A device which does not exist was specified."....

    ...I navigate through the drive manually, and I can see the files, except that some folders give me this same error when I try to open them. So it's not having a problem seeing the drive letter, but its a problem seeing specific folders?

    How long is the path to the 'problem' folders? Are you copying an already long folder path into a sub-folder on the destination drive? Perhaps that's just a bit too long a path?

    In the Windows API (with some exceptions discussed in the following paragraphs), the maximum length for a path is MAX_PATH, which is defined as 260 characters. A local path is structured in the following order: drive letter, colon, backslash, name components separated by backslashes, and a terminating null character. For example, the maximum path on drive D is "D:\some 256-character path string<NUL>" where "<NUL>" represents the invisible terminating null character for the current system codepage. (The characters < > are used here for visual clarity and cannot be part of a valid path string.)
    https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/wi...?tabs=registry
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 36
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    A few details I neglected to mention that people are making wrong assumptions about:

    For this copy process, I am mirroring an entire internal hard drive to an external one. One copy command, copy one drive to another drive.
    In the middle of this copy process the drive is throwing this error. It will literally be fine on one file and then not fine on the next.

    There are lights on the external drive; it has a constant glow that cycles through hues. At no point is this effect ever broken. While a power issue is still possible, it seems unreasonable to be a catastrophic failure.

    RickC said:
    I'm guessing the external drive is USB. USB 2 or USB 3? Make/model of external drive?

    If it's 2.5" then is it self-powered, i.e. just the one connection cable providing both power and data, or does it use a second cable for power?

    Does the drive appear in Disk Management and is it assigned a drive letter?

    Do you have another data cable you can use for a 'substitution' test?

    Hope this helps...
    USB3, and yes it is USB powered with a single cable. ADATA, I don't know the exact model.
    The cable is unlike any others I have because on the HDD side it splits into two plugs, so I can't test with another cable.
    And yes it is assigned to a drive letter; I am able to navigate into the drive in windows after all. That's what makes this a weird problem.


    idgat said:
    Backup? User files, System files, OS .... which ?

    Error message : from Robocopy ? Windows ?

    Capture an image of the message screen and post it here.

    EDIT : Thought : as you plug and unplug a USB device, a different drive letter can be assigned on different occasions. Is the Robocopy script set to a defined destination drive letter, and the device when connected is assigned a different letter ?
    I get the error message both from robocopy AND from windows.
    I tried using robocopy, robocopy gave me the error on everything so I had to stop the process.
    I then navigated to the folders in windows, and got the error on some folders.
    And I'm not using a script for the copy; I'm just typing in the command and parameters into the console. Don't really need a script for one line like that. And yes, I verify that the path is correct.

    dalchina said:
    It may be that there's a hardware problem with the port/cable/interface hardware or even power.

    Have you tried-
    - using a different drive and cable on the same port?
    (I.e. exclude the drive and cable as the potential source of the problem)

    Try downloading and running e.g. Hard Disk Sentinel (full functional trial/giveaway - excellent- result right on GUI) and see what it says about your drive(s).
    I have plugged in other drives into this same port, but not one of this magnitude. Just flash drives, really.

    Bree said:
    How long is the path to the 'problem' folders? Are you copying an already long folder path into a sub-folder on the destination drive? Perhaps that's just a bit too long a path?

    https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/wi...?tabs=registry
    Not long at all. Honestly most folders give me the error right in the root directory. Some root folders work but then the first layer of folders after that don't work. I haven't gone through everything to map out exactly which ones do and do not work, but I see no pattern from what I tested.
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 43,290
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #7

    I have plugged in other drives into this same port, but not one of this magnitude. Just flash drives, really.
    The implication of that is that all is ok with those drives- the problem exclusively centres around the use of a particular drive- is that correct?

    USB3, and yes it is USB powered with a single cable. ADATA, I don't know the exact model.
    The cable is unlike any others I have because on the HDD side it splits into two plugs, so I can't test with another cable.
    The make and model would be of interest- never seen one with two plugs connecting to the HDD. Two at the PC end, yes of course.
      My Computers


  8. Posts : 1,874
    Windows 10 Pro (+ Windows 10 Home VMs for testing)
       #8

    Marscaleb said:
    There are lights on the external drive; it has a constant glow that cycles through hues. At no point is this effect ever broken...


    USB3, and yes it is USB powered with a single cable. ADATA, I don't know the exact model.
    The cable is unlike any others I have because on the HDD side it splits into two plugs, so I can't test with another cable.
    From the description and the OP's location I'm going to guess that it's an Adata HD770G drive:
    &quot;A device which does not exist was specified&quot; but for folders?-adata_hd770g.png
    (with RGB lighting... to fritter away its single source of power, presumably)

    ... and on the HDD side it's just a standard USB 3 B male plug that looks like it's in 2 parts:
    &quot;A device which does not exist was specified&quot; but for folders?-adata_hd770g_usb3_cable.png &quot;A device which does not exist was specified&quot; but for folders?-adata_hd770g_usb3_b_male_plug.png

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by RickC; 05 Apr 2023 at 16:16.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 36
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Okay, I've downloaded the hard disk sentinel (trial version) and after running it... it has no data for this drive. The performance and health just say "unknown." Same with the power on time and estimated remaining lifetime.

    All my internals are at 100%, so I guess I got that going for me.

    RickC said:
    From the description and the OP's location I'm going to guess that it's an Adata HD770G drive with RGB lighting:
    &quot;A device which does not exist was specified&quot; but for folders?-adata_hd770g.png
    (to fritter away its single source of power, presumably)

    ... and on the HDD side it's just a standard USB 3 B male plug that looks like it's in 2 parts:
    &quot;A device which does not exist was specified&quot; but for folders?-adata_hd770g_usb3_cable.png &quot;A device which does not exist was specified&quot; but for folders?-adata_hd770g_usb3_b_male_plug.png

    Hope this helps...
    Yup, it looks just like that. Different capacity though.

    I've had it for about a year, and I use it every month or so for just a few hours.
    It could be a hardware failure with the drive, but that's statistically unlikely. That said, something's obviously broken somewhere, so...

    Any other ideas? What else should I check?
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 43,290
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #10

    If HDS can't read data, that could be worrying or maybe it's not a drive it knows about.

    You could try Crystal Diskinfo (free).

    Also try copying some of the problem files to a different drive using the same method.
      My Computers


 

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