USB device probing is inconsistent

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http://www.linuxquestions.org – I think this problem is caused by udev, but maybe also the kernel. I just bought 3 new USB backup drives, WD My Passport brand, 2TB each. I have Slackware64-current installed from the packages as of 2013-08-21. When I boot up the system installed on the /dev/sda hard drive on SATA (there is also /dev/sdb on SATA), with one new USB drive plugged in, the USB drive does not come up in /proc/partitions, not even the whole drive line. If I unplug the drive, then plug it back in, then it does show up as /dev/sdc. But this is MOST of the time. ONE time it did show up in the initial boot, as /de (HowTos)