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There's A Hard Drive On My Computer That Shouldn't Be There!


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#1 MoleDog

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 05:22 PM

Hello.

 

HP Pavilion 20-b013w All-in-one PC

 

Windows edition: Windows 8.1

Processor: AMD E1-1200 APU with Radeon ™ HD Graphics 1.40 GHz

Installed memory (RAM): 4.00 GB (3.58 GB usable)

System type: 64-bit Operating System, x64-based processor

 

I use with it the original wireless keyboard and the original wireless mouse.

 

I use AVG anti-virus (free) and Zonealarm Firewall (free).

 

Devices and Drives:

 

OS (C:) 327 GB free of 444 GB

Recovery Image (D:) 2.42 GB free of 19.7 GB

DVD RW Drive (E:)

SDHC (F:) 2.51 GB free of 3.73 GB

Removable Disk (G:) 5.16 GB free of 14.9 GB

 

All of those drives are mine.

 

But, it is from time to time that I have this drive(?) on my system:

 

SYSTEM (Z:) 323 MB free of 356 MB

 

It's showing up on my system right now.

 

That one isn't mine. It's some sort of a phantom hard drive (that's what I always call it) or maybe just (a phantom folder?) that shouldn't be there. Most of the instances in which it has inexplicably appeared I have been able to (get rid of it?) by way of rebooting the PC. (Although, I think that one or two times it may have been there even after a reboot.)

 

When I click on it to try and get into it I get a prompt that I don't currently have permission to access this folder. There is the option to click CONTINUE to permanently get access to this folder, but I am not willing to only because I don't know what I might be getting into in doing that. I am not computer savvy. I know only enough about computers to get myself into trouble if I should attempt to figure out how they work.

 

My computer has a lot of other problems, but I thought that I would reference only that one right now to see if anyone can explain its source and to see if anyone can tell me how to prevent it from ever showing up again on my system. I have tried to find a reference to someone else having had a similar situation by way of googling, but I couldn't find one.

 

Would some sort of a virus, malware, adware, trojan, etc. explain it? Is there a hacker in my system?

 

I sure would like to have an explanation for it. Thanks for any clarification that you can provide me with.



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 05:29 PM

I bet this is your EFI/ESP system partition. Some people have reported that a Windows update will assign a letter to the System Partition.

 

Open a command prompt and type the following

 

diskpart

list disk     You should see an asterisk under the GPT heading for you hard drive which will be 0 if you only have one drive.

select disk 0 

list volume

 

Post a screenshot.



#3 MoleDog

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 05:58 PM

I typed diskpart list disk in the command prompt and hit enter which took me to this prompt:

 

Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?

 

Program Name: DiskPart

 

[YES] [NO]

 

This computer already has enough problems that I'm probably not going to do that and risk making things worse out of my own ignorance. But at least your reference gave me some idea about what it may have to do with.


Edited by MoleDog, 20 December 2016 - 06:00 PM.


#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 06:01 PM

That's a normal UAC prompt for diskpart. 

 

You can also check Disk Management. You will see your EFI/ESP partition with a FAT32 file system assigned a letter of Z.


Edited by JohnC_21, 20 December 2016 - 06:02 PM.


#5 MoleDog

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 06:29 PM

I went into the Disk Management. I think I see it where it is referenced as Healthy (EFI System Partition) 360 MB. It doesn't reference the letter Z though. Not sure, but if you're satisfied I am. It seems strange to me that it should show up with my other devices and drives only once in a while instead of all of the time.


Edited by MoleDog, 20 December 2016 - 06:43 PM.


#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:03 PM

It shows Z in Computer but not in Disk Management? That is interesting. You can still verify it by doing the command in diskpart

 

diskpart

list volume

 

See your volumes listed and the letters each are assigned.

 

If you do not want to use diskpart then open Disk Managment. Left click on the Disk 0 box to select. Right click and select Properties. Look under the Volumes tab. This should show Z assigned to your system partition.

 

Edit: If you are concerned download Malwarebytes and do a scan. HitmanPro is also an excellent scanner though you need an internet connection.


Edited by JohnC_21, 20 December 2016 - 07:05 PM.


#7 MoleDog

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:32 PM

I went back into Disk Management, selected and then right clicked Properties, and then looked under the volumes tab. It still doesn't show Z. It shows a total of 4. The first two icons do not have a letter beside them. Under those are OS (C:) and Recovery Image (D:) respectively. I have Malwarebytes (free version) and have run it a few times but haven't found anything very threatening. (I ran it just yesterday as a matter of fact.)



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:44 PM

That is strange. Usually if you have a drive letter in Computer is will show in Disk Management.

 

The only thing I can say is try the diskpart list volume command.

 

Nothing bad will happen using that command. You can then x out the diskpart window. 

 

I have heard of the EFI partition getting assigned a letter for no reason but not the fact that the letter appears now and then. One poster had the System Partition appear after a drive letter was assigned to it and then after a Windows update the letter was gone.

 

If Malwarebytes found nothing I don't think you have anything to worry about.

 

Edit: Did you right click the "Z" drive in Computer and selected Malwarebytes to scan? 


Edited by JohnC_21, 20 December 2016 - 07:45 PM.


#9 MoleDog

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:55 PM

I just followed your original recommendation (the diskpart list volume in the command prompt) and I see Z now. It says Volume 4 Z SYSTEM FAT32 Partition 360 MB Healthy System. Feels gratifying to have an answer to that question. Hey, I couldn't have gotten there without your guidance, so I thank you very kindly for that. I'll probably post other questions about other problems that this computer has, but not right now. I appreciate that you were patient with me. Thanks again.

 

Edit: I did scan the Z drive in Computer with Malwarebytes, but it didn't show any problems. Items scanned 145. Threats identified 0.


Edited by MoleDog, 20 December 2016 - 08:16 PM.


#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 08:11 PM

Your Welcome,

 

There is a way to unassign Z from the System Partition but it doesn't really matter if you have the letter assigned or not. It doesn't affect the function of the computer. The System Partition does not have a letter assigned as default as it keeps a person from opening the partition in Computer and changing or deleting any files. 



#11 MoleDog

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 02:32 PM

System Z hasn't disappeared since my original post. Not necessarily worrisome, just strange. It had always disappeared after rebooting. I'll just chalk it up to coincidence lest I should sound paranoid.



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 09:30 AM

​This problem showed up on Windows 10 computers but I don't know about 8. You can read more here



#13 MoleDog

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 04:22 PM

Just a thought, but I have been thinking more and more that if I had not been pulled into so many different directions by so many other things I would have liked to have been able to learn about computers, especially so that I could fix my own computer problems as a desirable alternative to being too dependent on others. Anyway, thanks for that link.






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