USB flash drive, a kind of movable storage device, is commonly used in people’s daily life. But sometimes, you may get this error message USB flash drive not recognized when you are connecting it to your computer. Do you know what the reason is and how to solve it?

USB Flash Drive Is Not Recognized by Windows

In general, USB flash drive not recognized error may take place under these circumstances:

  • The USB port is not working normally.
  • There is something wrong with the USB driver, such as improper installation or outdated driver.
  • The USB is attacked by viruses or malware.
  • There is something wrong with the USB device, such as bad sectors.
  • The file system of the USB flash drive gets corrupted.

Except for the main causes above, many other causes also may lead to USB drive not showing up on Windows computer. Coming with the error message, there may be a chance of data loss happening to the USB flash drive.

Don’t worry and stay calm when you find USB flash driver is not recognized by computer. In this post, we will show you how to get rid of this error in two sections. Please keep reading.

Section 1 – Recover Data from USB Flash Drive

First of all, to ensure data security and avoid unexpected data loss during the fix process, you are suggested to rescue data from the unrecognized USB flash drive before taking actions to repair the issue.

What you need is a reliable data recovery program. MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a nice choice. It will help you recover lost files from USB flash drive in three steps.

Step 1: Install the App

Download and install this data recovery software on your computer. Then, connect the USB flash drive to this computer.

Step 2: Scan the USB Flash Drive

Launch the software to enter its main interface. Hit This PC or Removable Disk Drive recovery module to begin.

Check if the connecting USB drive is displayed on disk map. Choose it and then click Scan to begin the scanning process.

Step 3: Select Files to Recover

When the process ends, you can browse the found folders to pick up what you need to recover. Then, click Save to set a storage location for the selected items.

Select Files to Recover

After finishing these steps, you’ve accomplished data recovery from the USB flash drive. Next, you can begin to fix the USB flash drive not recognized error on Windows.

Section 2 – Fix USB Flash Drive Not Recognized on Windows

If you are suffering this error at the moment, take it easy and try the fixes below to deal with it.

Method 1: Remove and Re-connect USB Drive

To troubleshoot the connection failure, you may try removing the USB drive and then connect it again to see whether it will work.

① Eject the USB flash drive from the computer. Then, restart the computer.

② Reconnect the USB drive to computer.

③ If it is still invisible, try reconnecting it via another USB port or to another computer. See what happens.

If all attempts fail, please go on reading the following content.

Method 2: Re-plug Computer

Unplugging computer is another solution to USB not recognized on computer. In this way, you can cut off the power supply for computer and motherboard. Then, all hardware will be cut off. A moment later, re-plug the power supply to reboot the USB ports and drivers. After that, your USB drive may get recognized.

① Turn off the computer and unplug it from the wall outlet.

② A few minutes later, re-plug the computer into the outlet.

③ Boot the computer and connect the USB to see whether it can be recognized.

Method 3: Check USB Flash Drive in Disk Management

Disk Management is a good way to check USB drive status. In some cases, the USB flash drive is not showing up in File Explorer but appears in Disk Management. So, you can go to Windows Disk Management to see whether the USB device appears there.

The USB flash drive would show up as unallocated space if you can find it Disk Management fortunately. In this circumstance, you have two options to make it visible.

Check USB Flash Drive in Disk Management

Option 1: Change Drive Letter

① In Disk Management, right click the USB drive. Click Change Drive Letter and Paths option.

② Click Add and choose a drive letter for the USB drive.

③ Click OK to confirm.

Option 2: Create New Partition

① Also in Disk Management, right click the unallocated space and choose New Simple Volume.

② Keep the default value, or modify them on basis of your need. Click Next to go on.

③ Click Finish to make the changes effective.

Update the Device Driver

Method 4: Update the Device Driver

If the USB driver is out of date, your Windows would refuse to recognize USB flash drive. Follow this tutorial to update the USB driver.

① Right click Start and choose Device Manager.

② Click Disk drives to expand it.

③ Find your USB flash drive and select Update driver from the right-click menu.

④ Choose a way to search for drivers.

⑤ Then, follow the prompts to finish the subsequent steps.

Method 5: Run Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

① Enter Settings window by pressing Start + I.

② Choose Update and Security.

③ Click Troubleshoot -> Hardware and Devices -> Run the troubleshooter.

④ Just wait for a while until the process ends.


Run Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

Method 6: Disable Power Save for USB Root Hub

① Enter Device Manager and expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.

② Find USB Root Hub and choose Properties from the right-click menu.

③ Click Power Management tab, and then uncheck the option Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.

④ Finally, click OK to confirm.

Method 7: Uninstall USB Devices

Usually, if you connect a USB to computer for the first time, you will get the prompt Found New Hardware. Then system will install the driver automatically. But if the installation is interrupted, your USB drive will not be loaded properly.

You can fix it in this way:

① Go to Device Manager and expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.

② Find the USB device and right click it to choose Uninstall Device.

③ Click Uninstall on pop-up window.

④ After the completion, remove the USB device and then reconnect it to computer. Thus, the driver will be installed.

Uninstall USB Devices

Method 8: Format USB to a Compatible File System

Sometimes, your USB flash drive may not be recognized when its files system is not compatible with some running programs. Or if you remove the USB drive suddenly from the computer rather than selecting safely remove hardware and eject media, the USB flash drive not recognized error may happen due to damaged file system.

In these cases, you may consider to reformatting the USB device to a proper file system. As data saved in the USB device is recovered in the section 1, you can format it to FAT32 directly with a third-party disk manager – Partition Wizard.

① Install this software on your computer. Run it to enter its main interface.

② Right click the connecting USB flash drive and click Format.

③ Choose FAT32 as the file system. Click OK to continue.

④ Click Apply to apply the changes.

Final Words

Reading here, you may know there are various reasons leading to USB flash drive not recognized on Windows, so you can try methods above and find a proper one to fix it.

To avoid such cases from happening again, you’d better take care when removing the USB device form computer, choosing safely removal. Meanwhile, making USB data backup is also important for data security.

Hope this post will be helpful. Please feel free to share your thoughts or ideas with us by leaving a comment below.

Categorized in: