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ikon

Is it possible to reconnect a USB drive without unplugging it?

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ikon

Many of you have seen the photo of my WHS2011 server with the 2 Lian-Li EX-503 drive enclosures. In order to prepare the 'offsite' enclosure to have its drives removed, I Remote Desktop into the WHS2011 Server and disconnect the enclosure using the System Tray tool. I then shut the enclosure down, remove the drives, put in the other set of drives, and power the enclosure up again. Powering it up of course causes the server to rediscover the enclosure and bring the drives online.

 

The other day, while cycling the drives, a question occurred to me. What if I needed to activate and bring the enclosure online without powering it down, or unplugging the enclosure from the server and plugging it back in. How would I do that? Is it even possible?

 

I tried using Disk Manager to Rescan Disks but it did nothing.

 

Anyone got any ideas?

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cskenney

Remove it in device manager and then search for it in device manager? Guessing because I am not near a PC right now.

 

Try at own risk

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ikon

It's not visible in Device Manager. Don't forget it's already been disconnected using the System Tray tool.

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GavinCampbell

Was doing some searches for your 503 but couldn't get a definate answer if it allowed hot swapping. My external box allows me to pull and insert drives without powering down anything. The OS automatically will adjust. However I still don't like doing and only do it rarely.

 

If its a backup drive that is not a part of any raid you could be fine ding it as long as its not in use.

 

It does depend on hte enclosure though.

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ikon

My question is more of an intellectual exercise than a problem for me. I am quite happy to power down the 503 and repower it in order to rediscover the drives. I was just curious about what appears to be a missing piece of the USB puzzle. It appears there is no truly elegant way to reconnect USB devices programmatically. While I haven't really needed such a feature, I can see where it might be useful.

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timekills

It isn't elegant, but cskenney's suggestion is close to a way I've had to do it remotely. If you remove a USB device using system tray there are two ways to bring it back online remotely: 1) Remotely reboot the computer (I'm guessing this isn't your preferred method.) 2) Remove the USB controller from device manager - not the device since it won't be there - and then scan for new hardware. It will reacquire the USB controller and rescan for attached devices. As long as the attached device is either self-powered and has power to it or is powered by the USB port it will reacquire it.

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ikon

It isn't elegant, but cskenney's suggestion is close to a way I've had to do it remotely. If you remove a USB device using system tray there are two ways to bring it back online remotely: 1) Remotely reboot the computer (I'm guessing this isn't your preferred method.) 2) Remove the USB controller from device manager - not the device since it won't be there - and then scan for new hardware. It will reacquire the USB controller and rescan for attached devices. As long as the attached device is either self-powered and has power to it or is powered by the USB port it will reacquire it.

 

Thanks. Not exectly elegant, is it? Your example of needing to disconnect/reconnect remotely is one of the scenarios I was thinking of. It's an interesting topic.

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cskenney

Here is a little more information that may help. I decided to do a little Google search this morning to see if there was an easier way to do this. The first article I uncovered was from a National Instruments forum. Problems with NI hardware and USB devices is why I already had an idea how to help solve your problem.

 

Here is the NI post that discusses reacquiring a USB device. http://digital.ni.com/public.nsf/allkb/1D120A90884C25AF862573A700602459

 

The NI post led me to a MS support bulletin about DEVCON (as an alternative to Device Manager) http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311272

 

It appears the version of DEVCON in that support bulletin is an older version but there is a new version available.

 

Based on this post in the Windows community you can get an up to date version of DEVCON from the Windows Driver Kit. Here is a link to WDK

 

Seems like a lot of work to me but it apparently should work.

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ikon

Seems like a lot of work to me but it apparently should work.

 

Yeah. That's what prompted me to ask: I couldn't readily think of an easy way to do it, so I thought, this seems to be a missing piece of the USB puzzle. It strikes me as odd. I wonder if it's possible for someone to write a service that could tap into the USB subsystem and make it possible to do it easily.

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jmwills

I'd bet there is a powershell command for it.

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