Saturday, 2 April 2011

It Was On The Cards

My desktop PC has a builtin card reader for SD cards and the likes. After using Vista's 'Safely Remove Hardware' functionality, I don't see the card reader anymore in 'Computer'. How can I get it back? I guess I did something wrong but when I use this for USB sticks, everything works fine?

Indeed, you did something wrong: sticks and cards aren't handled the same way by Vista, and unfortunately it doesn't really tell you about it.

You got what you asked for: the hardware was actually removed. When using this for a USB stick, the stick will be recognised the next time you insert it, but not so for flash memory cards. By the way, you should indeed use it for USB sticks, or you might suffer data loss if Windows hasn't completed all write operations to the stick when you take it out.

Now you might think 'hey but Windows has this plug & play thing that lets it see new hardware when it's connected or when the PC boots, so why doesn't that work for me?'.

Modern PCs always get power, unless you pull the plug or cut the power from the wall socket to which it is connected. Modern PCs also have a power switch at the back to cut their juice off.

If you flick that switch to 'off' and then flick it back to 'on', or unplug the power cord and then reconnect it, Windows will see the card reader the next time you boot the PC, because when the power was gone, so was Windows' recollection of the card reader.

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