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How Do I Get Rid Of A Phantom Drive Letter?

Carl from Henderson, NV writes: 

Under COMPUTER I have a Removable Disk F. There is nothing plugged in to generate this drive info. I have no idea where it came from. How can I remove this in Windows 7? 

Removable drives, like flash memory or external hard drives, should automatically be removed from the operating system when they are unplugged, but there are cases where Windows can get confused and list a drive that isn’t there. Before doing any complicated troubleshooting for an issue like this, always check the physical connection first. Connect and then disconnect a USB drive (such as a removable flash drive or a USB mouse), restart the computer, and check to see if the drive letter still remains in the list of options in the “Computer” menu.

If physical troubleshooting fails, it’s time to move on to playing with settings in the operating system. Check the taskbar at the bottom-right corner of your desktop to see if the operating system thinks a removable drive is still attached. If so, there will be an icon of a USB drive with a green check mark labeled “Safely Remove Hardware.”

Safely Remove Hardware

If the icon is present, click it and check to see if the removable “F” drive is listed as being connected. Click the “Eject” option to tell your operating system you want to remove the drive, and then restart the computer entirely.

Ejecting the Drive

If the “F” drive still continues to appear after the operating system reboots, or if the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon wasn’t present in the list of taskbar options, navigate to the Start menu and click the “Control Panel” option.

Control Panel

Click the “System and Security” link located near the top of the window and underneath the “Adjust Your Computer’s Settings” heading.

System and Security

Near the bottom of the window will be a green link labeled “Administrative Tools,” usually positioned beneath “Windows Anytime Upgrade.” Click the link to bring up another window filled with options.

Administrative Tools

Double-click the “Computer Management” option to bring up yet another window that lets you directly access your computer’s devices and hard drive partitions.

Computer Managment

Locate the “Storage” heading at the left side of the window and click the “Disk Management” option located directly beneath the heading. A listing of all the drives and drive partitions connected to your computer will appear in the panel at the center of the window.

Disk Management

Right-click the removable “F” drive in the list at the center of the screen and select the “Delete Volume” option from the pop-up menu.

Deleting a Drive

Wait for the operating system to finish deleting the drive and then restart your computer. At this point the drive should no longer appear in the “Computer” menu with your other attached drives.

~ Ty Arthur