The most common reason why only one flash drive is usble when multiple USBs are connected is due to a device signature collision.
If you are dealing with bootable devices and seeing this problem, we are confident a collision is the issue. If you are not dealing with a bootable device, then our information below will, probably, not help.
What is a USB signature collision?
A signature collision can happen on any bootable device, so Compact Flash cards, SD cards, microSD cards and USB flash drives. A disk signature is a unique identifier number (UID). It is a unique identifier stored as part of the MBR (Master Boot Record) for an operating system loaded on the device. The operating system will use the UID to identify and distinguish between storage devices. It is commonly made up of eight alphanumeric characters. A disk collision occurs when your operating system (Windows) detects that there are two disks with identical signatures.
For Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, these versions of Windows will disable the second drive and will not allow that second volume to mount until the disk collision has been rectified. If you are reading this article, chances are, this is exactly what is happening to you.
The first thing to do is navigate to the Disk Management tool with in Windows. To do this, use the search tool and type in Disk Management. This will take you to the utility that Windows offers. Here you can see your multiple devices connected. If you click or hover over the device not working you will see one of two messages:
This is happening on Win8 and Windows 10.
When I remove a USB drive and reconnect it, Windows will not assign a drive letter. Clearly this is a problem as every other computer I use assigns a drive letter.
There are three solutions. All of which will work.
1) You can go into Disk Management and select the device and assing a drive letter. This is a manual process and not ideal for each time you plug in a flash drive.2) Good chance the driver or registry entry for that device is rogue or corrupt. Use this USBScrub tool to remove the registry entry. Chances are this will fix the problem. USBScrub link3) Use ‘diskpart’ and enable the automount feature.
Open Command Prompt as Administrator (search for Command Prompt in the Start Menu, right click, Run as Administrator)
Type ‘diskpart’ and hit Enter.
Once in the ‘diskpart’ command prompt type ‘automount enable’ and hit Enter.
Type ‘exit’ and click Enter
For solution number one from above, Disk Management is really the GUI version for diskpart, but a GUI (Graphical User Interface) which has scaled down functions from what all the things diskpart can really do.
Diskpart has 37 commands that you can do very cool things with. The 38th command is
We have read on-line that Microsoft’s May 2019 update might not happen for those with connected USB sticks or SD cards. Microsoft claims the update will simply not happen if the OS detects these connected devices. The reason, Microsoft might re-assign drive letters to those connected devices.
On my first pass of reading this, the reassignment of drive letters doesn’t sound all that bad. Especially for a removable drive. However; Microsoft goes on to state that internal hard drives could also be affected by the drive letter shuffle.
There is your red flag!
The newly published Windows 10 support document reveals; those computers already having the April 2018 (version 1803) or October 2018 (version 1809) updates installed will receive this error message: “This PC can’t be upgraded to Windows 10.”
The Microsoft documentation does not referrence internal hard drives getting reassigned drive letters when no USB or SD card is detected and for that reason we feel you are safe during the update process. This is why Microsoft is blocking the update all together when a USB or SD card is detected in your system. Microsoft understands the importance of mounted internal hard drives; thus their blocking of the update.
If you have found this post, chances are you are trying
to delete and keep the “System Volume Information” folder off your
UPDATE: Thank you to a reader sending in additional information, we now have a solution that is universal to all PCs. You will never get the “There’s a problem with this drive. Scan the drive now to fix it” message. To get this universal fix, scroll to the bottom of this message and look for “Updated Solution.”
I will venture to say, there are probably five reasons
why you are trying to remove this directory (probably more):
You have a SmartTV or stereo in your car and the device is showing this folder, and often times, is the default start location to resume play, so you want to remove it.
A binary verification utility is failing and it shows this folder as the source of inconsistency.
The “Disk needs to be scanned and repaired message” keeps popping up when you remove a drive without using the Eject function from Windows. You are now going crazy and want to stop that message forever.
A virus software utility is indicating this folder has a potential problem (smart hackers could stick their code in here)
You are performing some kind of USB duplication process and this folder continues to be a problem, therefore you want to remove it.
Go ahead and skim down this article if you want to get
right to the instructions. For now, I’m
going to take some time to explain what this folder is. Knowledge is power, and maybe the reason for
why it’s there, will deter you from wanting to delete it.
For any disk or storage device connected to Windows will
have the “System Volume Information” folder. This is a hidden system file, so if you don’t
see it, that is the reason why. You can
see this file when you turn on “See Hidden Files” in your view
The System Volume Information folder contains two files. The two files are meant for setting restore points and indexing for what is on the drive. Windows is trying to help you if and when you need to search the device for data.
The two files are the IndexerVolumeGuid and
WPSettings.dat file. The indexer file
assigns a unique identifier (GUID, Global Unique ID) to the drive. The indexing service examines the files so when
you connect the drive to the computer in the future, Windows checks the
identifier and knows which search database to associate with the drive.
WPSettings.dat file is used for Windows Phone’s Storage settings. If you are dealing with a hard drive, this could be a good thing, if dealing with a flash drive, you don’t need it. I haven’t met a person yet who backed up their phone data to a USB stick.
If you are still on the fence about whether you should
remove this folder or not, think about this:
If you are dealing with a hard drive with an operating system, don’t
delete it. If you are dealing with mass storage
drives, like a USB flash drive, you can remove it with little fear something
bad will happen.
So how do you remove this folder?
How do you keep from this folder coming back?
The solution is a two-step process. The first step will be disabling the indexing
and thus, ask Windows not to put the folder on the drive.
Using Windows 10, you can partition a USB flash drive into multiple partitions. The process is not difficult, you simply follow some easy steps. This tutorial will partition the drive so that your device is assigned multiple drive letters when connected to the computer.
This partition process is not done at the USB controller level; or said another way, done at the hardware level. This USB partition process, for a lack of better terms, is done at the software level. What does this mean for you? It means the partitions can be wiped off the drive and full capacity of the USB flash drive can be restored.
When a USB stick is partitioned at the controller level, or at the hardware level, there is no way to reverse the partition. The multi-partition drive is permanent. At the end of this tutorial is the solution for a hardware based partition solution.
So letâ€™s get started.
How to partition a USB flash drive in Windows 10:
Connect the USB flash drive to your Windows 10 machine. Be sure there is nothing valuable on the USB as this process will remove all content from the drive.
Right Click the Windows icon and select Disk Management.
The Disk Management window will appear with all the connected devices. Select your USB flash drive by clicking one time. By selecting your flash drive, it will allow Windows to apply the partition to that device.
For those into home-brew programming projects, its easy to make a microcontroller spit out some Morse code with the post shown below. What makes [pavlinâ€™s] take on this project interesting is that it resides on a tiny USB board with an ARM processor. The design for the board is available with single-sided artwork suitable for production using simple methods like toner transfer.
The STM device has a built-in USB bootloader. It can also act as a serial port, which makes the project very simple and a bit more flexible. The only external parts are a speaker and an opt-oisolator.
The program provides a command line interface over the serial port that you can use to program the message and set other options like speed and the delay between messages.
Sometimes you will connect a USB to the PC and get an error message saying the drive has a GPT Protective Partition and you cannot format the drive. Here is the fix to resolve the issue:
First, what is a GPT USB stick? The GUID Partition Table (GPT) is the successor to the Master Boot Record. The MBR was created by IBM back in the early 90s. The problem with MBR is the limitation to partition table sizes which is 2 Terabytes.
Since there are no 2T USB flash drives (at the time of this post), there is no need to use GPT as your partition table.
Removing the GPT Protected Partition can be accomplished through the Windows Diskpart program.
Determine the Disk Number for the USB GPT-protected drive. To do this, perform the following:
Right-click on (My) Computer.
Select Disk Management (listed under Storage).
Look for the drive that is identified as GPT and note the Disk number (such as Disk 1).
Now, open a Command Window. From the command prompt, type diskpart and press Enter.
The diskpart prompt will open.
From the diskpart prompt, type list disk and press Enter. A list of disks will appear in a text format. You will return to the diskpart prompt.
From the diskpart prompt, type select disk disknumber (in this example from the screen shot above, you would type select disk 1)and press Enter. A message appears saying that the disk is selected. You will return to the diskpart prompt.
From the diskpart prompt, type clean and press Enter. At this point the drive’s partition and signature a removed. You will return to the diskpart prompt.
From the diskpart prompt, type exit and press Enter. Type exit once more to close the Command Window.
There are two ways to make a USB stick read only. One method will make the USB read-only in anything it is connected to, so you could say this is a universal way of making a flash drive write protected.
The other way is a PC specific solution where some registry edits are required to any computer the USB flash drive is connected to.
When we say 100% permanent, this means the USB stick is read only (write protected) on all devices, whether it be computers like a Mac, Windows PC, Linux box or non-processor based products like a car stereo. This permanent solution also means the status of the drive cannot be changed. The other method flags a USB device to be read only in relationship to the PC it is connected to so that whenever that USB stick is connected to that computer, it makes the USB read only and blocks all write commands to the device.
Most times an IT manager or content owner wants the USB stick to be read only so the files cannot be deleted or formatted off the drive. Another reason for making a USB read only is for the original files to remain the same and blocks the ability for files to be changed or manipulated. Finally, it’s smart to have USBs read only so that virus’ don’t jump onto the drive and possibly spread to other computers.
Let us start with the less permanent way because it’s easier to do and doesn’t require any specific hardware.
You will need a Windows7 machine or higher. The Windows7 machine will have DiskPart utility which allows us to perform all sorts of cool things to flash drives, like setting write protection.
Connect the USB to your Windows computer.
To begin, go to your Windows Start and in the Search Field type cmd
This will run your Command prompt.
Next, you will want to get to the C root of the Command prompt and if you are signed in as a user you can simply type cd\ this will get you back to the root of the C drive.
Type LIST DISK
Now you will need to find the USB stick connected to your PC. Most likely it’s DISK 1
When a USB stick is connected to a PC the Windows operating system enumerates the device.Â In simple terms, this means Windows will check to see what type of device was just connected, a HID device, Mass Storage Devicet etc, it will also check the speed of the device.
During the enumeration process some registry entries are made into the Windows registry…this is where a hacker could get into your system and take control.Â This is the update Microsoft issues earlier this week to fix the security flaw.
Since the vulnerability is triggered during USB enumeration, no user intervention is required. In fact, the vulnerability can be triggered when the workstation is locked or when no user is logged in, making this an unauthenticated elevation of privilege for an attacker with casual physical access to the machine. Other software that enables low-level pass-through of USB device enumeration may open additional avenues of exploitation that do not require direct physical access to the system.
So be sure to update your PC with the update notification comes through – it’s in your best interest.
Full Microsoft article
The Alesis IO Dock is a great product for iPad musicians â€“ this small hack makes it even greater. It overcomes one limitation of the IO Dock: You canâ€™t simply hook it to a USB hub. So I decided to build in an additional hub â€“ which allows me to hook up additional class-compliant interfaces like my M-Audio Axiom master keyboard, and power them via the hub.
Yes, it works. No, it hasnâ€™t been thoroughly tested yet. So try at your own risk.
Full Tutorial (nice)