Activating a Firewire PCI card on Windows XP?
April 5, 2005 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Having moved a PCI Firewire adapter into a new Windows XP machine (and lacking the original disc which came with the Firewire adapter) I can't find a way to make the new PC recognise any drives connected to the Firewire slots. What am I doing wrong?

Further explanation: a year or two ago I purchased a PCI Firewire card for my old PC, which allowed me to plug in my Lacie external Firewire drives. Unfortunately the old PC has died, so I purchased a new one and installed the new card. However, I do not have any original installation disc for the card and there is no marking on it to suggest the manufacturer.

Upon plugging in my Lacie drives (which are variously formatted in NTFS and FAT32) I get the same response from the new computer - which is that it makes the bing bong noise but no drive mounts on the computer.

If I go to "Add Hardware" with the drive plugged in I see the words "LaCie Group SA Extreme LUN 0 IEEE 1394 SBP2 Device" and when I follow through the stages in the wizard it tells me all is perfectly healthy. But no change - even after restart.

There is, however, a "Multimedia Controller" listed which is accompanied by a yellow question mark and I cannot account for what piece of hardware this might be, save for being the PCI Firewire adapter. Plus there is another controller listed marked "VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller" but again the wizard says it is working properly. All the Googling I have done suggests that the Firewire drivers should come standard with XP. But I can't see my little drives. Any suggestions gratefully received!
posted by skylar to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
It sounds like everything is in order, as it's detecting both your Firewire controller (VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller) and drive (LaCie Group SA Extreme LUN 0 IEEE 1394 SBP2 Device). Start Disk Management (go to Start->Run, then type "diskmgmt.msc") and see if the drives show up there. If they are, Windows may think they're unformatted.
posted by zsazsa at 9:02 AM on April 5, 2005

Okay thanks for this good advice - after loading up Disk Management the drive whirred into life and certainly a drive is showing up there.

But I can't seem to do anything with it. And I'm slightly confused as to why this Windows XP machine cannot see the drives while the previous Windows XP machine, and my Apple Mac, can see them.
posted by skylar at 10:04 AM on April 5, 2005

Maybe there is no drive letter assigned? In Disk management, there should be a drive letter listed after the partition name. If not, right click on the partition, select 'Change Drive Letters and Paths', and assign a drive letter to it.
posted by Boobus Tuber at 10:26 AM on April 5, 2005

Mapped drives are assigned drive letters in preference to external drives under XP. Say you have a floppy at a:\; System partition at c:\; Data at D:\ CD-Rom at E:\; DVD burner at f:\ and a share to another computer at g:\. When you plug the drive in windows may assign it the drive letter g:\. Because this drive is already being used by your share connection you can't see the hard drive. Follow Boobus Tuber's suggestion. Note that you must have local admin rights to change drive letters.

If Disk manager asks you to write a signiture go ahead it won't harm anything.

Also try moving the interface card to a different slot if you can. Because of the way PCI addressing works with PnP sometimes you can have problems with specific hardware in specific slots. Moving cards around can solve this.

It's unlikely but you may have zapped the card moving it over. You may want to try it back in your old machine if you can to see if it's still working.
posted by Mitheral at 11:27 AM on April 5, 2005

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