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Phantom flash-drive repeatedly appearing on my Windows 7 system, how to remove?

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I have a phantom USB memory stick appearing and disappearing repeatedly on my Windows 7 HP laptop computer model 8730w. The computer keeps making a noise 'bah-dum', about once a second and in the 'Memory Stack' briefly (1/8 of a second) appears as F: drive before disappearing.

I've never put a memory stick on this machine since Windows 7 was recently installed. At first this did not happen after install, then it started.

This is causing havoc on my system. Menus that are opened get closed in sync with the beeping, making it hard to use menus if you are not quick enough.

How can I exorcise this phantom drive from my system and reclaim control of my computer?


I just had this exact same problem. It is really very annoying to try and troubleshoot this while these windows keep popping up. If anyone has a way to turn these updates off it would be very helpful to anyone else having to deal with this.

I ended up sorting showing hidden devices and sorting by connection as suggested. I found several disconnected F:/ drives listed as a "Portable Device". I went ahead and deleted these.

After a reboot I haven't had the issue, but I will post back after a while to confirm that this fixed it for me.

Edit: It came back, it is a Micro SD slot causing the problem. Instead of deleting it (as suggested below) I just disabled the device. For now I get a sound every so often, but no popup. Will post back here if I find anything else.

Phantom flash-drive repeatedly appearing on my Windows 7 system, how to remove?
OK! So I was incorrect in my post. It happens after a LONG day and a LONGER Night. Fresh eyes the next morning, AND Three Phantom Drives forced me to dig in and SOLVE this issue.

(The above was originally created as a PDF and hosted on a google docs site. I've downloaded the single-page PDF as an image and included it in this response.)

Does it always flash in and out? That is, does it never stay long enough to examine the details?

In any case, open a command-prompt and type the following.

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

Next, in Device Manager, select View->Show hidden devices, expand the Disk drives branch, and note down the name of the phantom flash-drive.

Now select View->Devices by connection then click My Computer (or whatever name your root device has—pressing Home should also suffice) and press the * key on the numeric-keypad (or in your case, the laptop equivalent).

Then scroll down to your USB devices (it will likely be towards the bottom). Look for the device name that you noted. It should be a leaf-node connected to a USB mass storage device, which in turn is connected to a USB root hub.

Right-click the leaf-node (the one with the drive icon) and select Uninstall. Repeat for the mass-storage device it was connected to.

Optionally reboot (it’s recommended since then you’ll know if it was a software issue or a hardware issue).

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