What Can You Do When the USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized – Complete Guide

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USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized
Source: Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

When you try to access a USB flash drive, have you ever met the “USB Device not Recognized” error?

You are not alone. Due to various causes, many users have encountered the issue that USB flash drive not recognized / USB flash drive not showing up / USB flash drive not detected. 

This article will outline the issue reasons, solve the errors, and walk you through recovering files from the unrecognized drive with the advanced data recovery software.

To minimize the risk of losing important data suddenly, it’s advisable to recover data from your USB as soon as you have access to them. When you notice the USB device is not showing up, please stay calm and read the followinginstructions to repair your drive.


Part 1. Use Software to Recover Data from USB Flash Drive Not Recognized

First of all, you need to find a reliable data recovery software that supports USB flash drive recovery, for example, MiniTool Power Data Recovery. Free download the program, and then follow the tutorial below to retrieve lost files from a USB flash drive.

Step 1. Install the program and choose one data recovery mode that suits your need.

  • If your USB flash drive has only one partition, you may choose the first “This PC” mode, which is chosen by default.
  • If there are multiple partitions on your USB flash drive, you should select the second mode – Removable Disk Drive.
USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

Step 2. Browse and select one USB flash drive you need, and then click on the Scan button to begin a full scan.

USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

Step 3. Browse the scan result, pick out all the documents that you want to recover by adding a check mark to the square box in front of them, after it’s done, hit on the “Save button, at last, set a new storage location for the files to berecovered.

USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

Part 2. How Shall I Fix a Plugged-In USB Flash Drive Not Showing Up?

What reasons will cause your USB drive won’t be detected by the computer or other equipment? How to fix this if the issue occurs on your PC? In this part, I’ll show some tested methods for you to try to fix the USB device not recognized error on the Windows computers.


Solution 1: Check USB Flash Drive in Disk Management

In some circumstances, USB flash drive is detected but it is not showing in Windows Explorer. You are supposed toopen Windows Disk Management to check whether your USB device appears or not.

Right-click on “Start” at the bottom-left corner of the PC screen to open it → Choose Disk ManagementNow you could look for your USB flash drive there.

If the USB device has no drive letter or the partition becomes unallocated, you will see that device in Disk Management but it will not show in Windows Explorer.

To fix the error when the USB flash drive shows up in Disk Management but doesn’t appear in File Explorer, you may try 2 methods: change drive letter and create a new partition (Pay attention that you need to recover all data from the unallocated space beforehand).

USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

How can I change drive letter in Disk Management (Windows 10, 8, 7) ?

Right-click on the USB drive, then choose Change Drive Letter and Paths  Click on the Add button  Choose onedrive letter, finally, click on “OK to confirm.

How to create a new partition in Disk Management?

Right-click on the unallocated space → choose New Simple Volumekeep the default value unchanged or modify them manually → click Next to continue, when it’s done, click on the Finish button and wait for a little while.

MiniTool Partition Wizard can change drive letters and create partitions in a simple and fast way.

If you cannot find your flash drive in Windows disk management, continue to read other solutions.


Solution 2. Disconnect Your USB Device and Re-connect it

Eject the USB device from your computer, restart the PC, and then connect the USB flash drive once again to see whether it works now. If you fail, please try other USB ports or connect your device to other computers.


Solution 3. Enable USB Mass Storage Device

  • In the lower-left corner of the computer screen, right-click on the Start button → Choose Device Manager
  • Choose Universal Serial Bus controllersafter that, click the arrow in front to expand all options. In this step, you need to right-click on the “USB Mass Storage Device” option. At last, choose Enable device and wait for a few seconds till you notice the option’s icon gets changed.

When all is done, you can go and check if the USB drive is recognized on your Windows PC now.

USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

Solution 4. Update the Device Driver to Have a Try

Right click on the “Start” button in the lower-left corner of your computer screen to open it, choose Device Manager→ Expand it to find your USB flash drive. Now you could choose Update driver from the right-click menu of thatdevice, decide how do you want to search for driversand click it. Finally, finish all the remaining steps according to prompts.

USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

Solution 5. Update Driver of Generic USB Hub in Device Manager

  • You are supposed to click Universal Serial Bus controllers → Generic USB Hub, right-click on it. After that is done, choose Update Driver from the menu, now select ”Browse my computer for driver software. When you see the “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer” at the bottom, please click it.
  • Select Generic USB Hub from the model list→ hit on the Next button and wait for a while.
  • Click on the Close button after the drivers get updated.
  • You should repeat the above-mentioned process for each Generic USB Hub listed.
USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

Solution 6. Disable Power Save of USB Root Hub to Have a Try

  • Open Device Manager, then expand the list of Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  • Right-click on USB Root Hub – go to find “Properties”, in this step, please hit Power Management.
  • It’s almost done, uncheck ”Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power and confirm everything is correct, finally, click OK.
USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized

Solution 7. Use Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

  • Press Start + I keys to open the Windows Settings, after that, choose Update and Security.
  • Select Troubleshoot on the left-hand side. Under the section “Find and fix other problems”, you need to choose Hardware and Devices.
  • Now hit the Run the troubleshooter button and wait till this process is finished.
USB Flash Drive is Not Recognized
Robert Malcolm

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