Windows – Add/Change Drive Letter Causes BSOD

bsoddrive-letterservice-packwindows 7

Recently Microsoft Support had me "upgrade" or rather replace the installation of Windows because I had an SFC error that could not be resolved any other way, apparently.

SFC now runs without reporting any errors.

but now

All "new" external drives to my system cause a BSOD when adding of changing a drive letter.

I have 3 external drives.

disk 1: 1TB is an hard drive previously used on the system with Windows prior to the recent upgrade and is still recognised and is in use without issue.

disk 2: 1GB is a flash disk previously used on the system with Windows prior to the recent upgrade, but now requires drivers to be installed. After drivers are installed automatically, the system BSODs.

disk 3: 2TB is a new drive which also behaves in the same way as disk 2 causing a BSOD.

All of the drives can be seen and used connected to the same system when running Linux.

This means there is an issue with the new installation of Windows.

Things I have tried:

Disk Management

With disk 3, Disk Management enumerates the drive and allows me to use the New Simple Volume Wizard. I use the following settings:

  • Volume Size: Defaults to "1907727MB"
  • Assign Following Drive Letter: set to "do not assign drive letter path"
  • Format this volume: defaults to NTFS
  • Allocation Size: "Default"
  • Volume Label: defaults to "New Volume"
  • Perform Quick Format: default Checked.
  • Enable File and Folder compression: default Unchecked.

The Wizard starts the job, an egg timer sits there for a while, no other information is displayed, I would have hoped for "formatting" to pop up with the drive listing.

When complete the wizard comes up with the following error:

"The operation failed to complete because the Disk Management view is
not up-to-date."

Restarting the system does not change the situation and I am unable to add or change the drive letter.

Disk Management (specify drive letter)

If in Windows Disk Management I follow the same proceedure above but during the wizard I assign a drive letter ("X:"), the wizard does not show an egg timer, but instead says "formatting", which looks more usual.

But then, when the wizard completes, I momentarily see "Healthy, Primary Disk" and then I get a BSOD and memory dump.

On reboot of Windows the same BSOD occurs after loading the desktop.


Using diskpart.exe

  • automount disable to allow the drive to be visible but not mounted
  • select disk 3
  • clean the partition table
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs quick
  • (Device Manager) uninstall the drivers for the disk.
  • Back in diskpart automount enable
  • assign letter=y

I see the drivers being automatically installed and momentarily see the autorun box pop up with the drive letter and then BSOD again.

Device Manager

I have seen reports of people finding Unknown Device in the Device Manager. I too have found this and uninstalled the Unknown Device, and also uninstalled the known device, disconnected and reconnected the device to see the drivers automatically install and a BSOD result.

Disk 3 behaves in this way whether connected by eSATA or USB interface.

Windows Updates are up to date, and the system BIOS is up to date.

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit SP1 – Dell M4400 – Nvidia FX770

Found the BSOD

A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent
damage to your computer.

The problem seems to be caused by the following file: ntoskrnl.exe


If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen, restart
your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

Check to make sure any new hardware or software is properly installed.
If this is a new installation, ask your hardware or software
manufacturer for any Windows updates you might need.

If problems continue, disable or remove any newly installed hardware
or software. Disable BIOS memory options such as caching or shadowing.
If you need to use safe mode to remove or disable components, restart
your computer, press F8 to select Advanced Startup Options, and then
select Safe Mode.

Technical Information:

*** STOP: 0x0000003b (0x00000000c0000005, 0xfffff80002aa8157,
0xfffff88007d5bd30, 0x0000000000000000)

*** ntoskrnl.exe – Address 0xfffff80002ad7c40 base at
0xfffff80002a5b000 DateStamp 0x4e02aaa3

Best Answer

Finally I got a response from Microsoft Support directly who asked me to follow this proceedure:

please try to uninstall the security software and then uninstall and reinstall the Display Adapter Drivers and then check the status of the issue

I uninstalled MSSE, Malwarebytes and Nvidia drivers, then installed the Nvidia drivers.

I inserted disk 2, but it still didn't come up in Explorer. Having no faith in the following I tried it again anyway: Went to Device Manager once more and uninstalled the "unknown device" and the "known device" and re-scaned for PnP hardware.

Boink ! It showed up in Explorer and no BSOD.

Disk 3 connected and required no further attention as it was recognised instantly in Explorer.

The uninstall/install process took a total of 30 mins. I didn't learn a hell of a lot but it was a better solution to hours re-installing Windows and all my software and settings.It's worth hanging on a little longer before breaking out the Windows install disk.