Add New PC Storage Media - dummies

By Dan Gookin

When you add new storage media in your PC, you might experience a few issues with adding new items to your PC’s storage system. First, let’s understand how you can add new storage to the system and how it is supposed to work. Then, a few hints on what can go wrong.

First, you can insert storage media into the drives that accept removable media: the optical drive and all its various media card readers. Simply stick the media into the drive. After a few moments, the operating system recognizes the media and mounts it into the disk system.

In Windows, where drives have preassigned letters, using the drive letter accesses the media you insert. In other words, to use the media card inserted into drive H:, you use the drive H icon in Windows or the designation H: when referring to the drive in this cryptic pathname manner.

Second, you can add storage to a computer system externally by plugging the drive into the PC. You can connect an external drive by using the computer’s USB, IEEE, or FireWire port or an eSATA port. After a few moments, Windows recognizes the drive’s addition, updates itself to use the drive, and, finally, assigns the drive a letter.

You can confirm that an external drive has properly been added by opening the Computer or My Computer window.

In addition to adding an external hard drive, you can add external removable media drives, such as an optical disc or a media card reader. In that case, you still need to add media to the drive. Although an external, removable media drive is given a drive letter, you then cannot access the drive until you stick some sort of media into the drive.

  • The drive letter doesn’t change when you stick new media into the drive. The same drive letter is always used, no matter which media is inserted. An exception to this rule occurs when you stick a thumb drive into a USB port. In this case, the thumb drive is assigned the next available drive letter.

  • Some older PCs running Windows XP may not have USB 2.0 adapters. If so, you cannot successfully use most external USB drives, including flash, or thumb, drives. Windows alerts you to the problem. The solution is to buy a USB 2.0 adapter and install it.

  • You can attach a drive with media already in it. For example, you can connect a media card reader with a media card already in it and the computer deals with it just fine. Attaching this type of reader works just like adding an external hard drive or attaching a digital camera to the PC; the media reader is added and then the media is read.