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Windows XP and USB devices

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Here's my specs:
SR1330NX HP Desktop
XP 3200+ CPU
1 Gb RAM
180 Gb HDD
Running Win XP Home SP2

Here's my trouble:
Whenever I try to use a USB device like a flash drive or MP3 player the computer does not seem to assign it a spot. The drive will actually work but does not show up in Windows Explorer unless I manually enter the drive letter assigned to it. For the MP3s they will show up in Windows Media Player but not in Windows Explorer unless I manually enter the drive letter. At the same time my Safely Remove Devices tray icon shows a large list of drive letters. Some of these are from devices that have been used in the past that are no longer connected(old mp3, old flash drive), some are from current devices that are connected (my printer, current mp3, etc.), some of them I have no idea where they came from. Some of them even show up with 4 or 5 drive letters on the same line. I can select any or all of them for the safely remove and it seems to make them disappear from the tray. When I go to device manager though they still show up, but I get exclamation marks on the USB devices that say:

"Windows cannot use this hardware device because it has been prepared for "safe removal", but it has not been removed from the computer. (Code 47)

To fix this problem, unplug this device from your computer and then plug it in again."

These devices are not physically connected to the PC anymore. Even worse is if I reboot or restart the PC all of the drives are back again. I never have any problems at all using any of these devices on my Win 2000 PC at work.

Cam someone please help me out. It seems like Win XP should be a lot more USB friendly than this.
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Could be there's a limit on the number of drive letters available to Windows, no letter availabe=no device in My Computer.

"Tweakui" from Microsoft might solve it. You can limit/unlimit drive letters with that. It's one of the "Powertoys"

Page is here:

Just choose "Tweakui" from the list on the right.
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