Have you experienced a situation where your USB flash drive or pen drive is connected to your Windows PC, but it doesn’t appear to be recognized by the computer? On occasion, an error message such as “USB devices not recognized” or something similar might pop up.
This USB drive not showing up situation renders the USB drive inaccessible, preventing you from accessing the files stored on it. This article provides comprehensive solutions to address the issue of the USB drive not being detected properly on a Windows PC.
Why is the USB/flash drive not showing up on Windows computers?
The problem can stem from hardware-related factors such as dysfunctional USB ports and damaged cables. Furthermore, physical damage to the USB drive itself can lead to non-recognition. Inadequate power supply through the USB port or sudden power surges can also contribute to USB failure.
Software-wise, outdated USB drivers or conflicting driver software can result in the USB device not being detected. Similarly, compatibility issues with Windows can arise due to conflicts in drive letter assignments.
Issues related to the USB device’s file system are also a consideration. Recognition problems can occur due to errors or corruption within the file system. Moreover, if the USB device has an incompatible or incorrect file system, it may not be recognized by Windows PCs. In some instances, the USB disk may appear as an unallocated hard drive, which can further exacerbate the non-detection issue.
How to Fix the USB flash drive not showing up issue?
If your connected USB flash drive is not appearing on Windows, you can utilize iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows to determine if it can detect the USB drive and recognize the files within the device.
If it succeeds in doing so, you can begin by recovering data from your USB flash drive. Afterward, you can proceed to use Disk Management to address any errors that may be present.
Detecting USB Flash Drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows
1. Download and install the Windows version of iBoysoft Data Recovery on your computer, then connect the USB flash drive to your PC and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery software.
2. Select the “Data Recovery” module from the main interface (see the picture below).
3. Check if the USB drive appears in the list upon scanning. If the USB flash drive is listed, select it and click “Next” to initiate a scan for files and folders.
4. Preview the scan results, choose the files you wish to recover, and click the “Recover” button. Thoroughly review the retrieved files and folders to ensure all missing data is restored.
Typically, when you successfully connect a USB drive to your PC, it should become visible in File Explorer. From there, you can access the recognized hard drive to read and write data.
If the USB drive is not visible, it’s advised to first verify its presence in Disk Management—a Windows system utility that displays connected hard disks.
Verifying the USB in Disk Management
Press the Windows key + R, then type “diskmgmt.msc.”
Press Enter to open the Disk Management tool.
Look for the USB that isn’t appearing from the left list.
You might find that the USB drive is visible in Disk Management, or you might not. These two scenarios require different methods to troubleshoot the issue of the USB not appearing on Windows 11/10/8/7.
Scenario 1. USB Drive not appearing in File Explorer, but visible in Disk Management (4 methods)
When the USB drive is detectable in Disk Management yet remains invisible in File Explorer, it signifies that the system has effectively identified the drive.
However, underlying errors obstruct the appearance of the thumb drive in File Explorer. The following remedial actions can be undertaken to restore its visibility:
Method 1. Update or Reinstall the USB Driver
- Access Device Manager by searching or typing its name.
- Identify your USB disk from the roster of USB devices within Device Manager.
- Right-click the USB disk to initiate the “Update Driver” process if it’s available. Then, opt for the option of “Search automatically for updated driver software” (check out the following picture).
- If no updates are available, consider selecting “Uninstall Device” followed by a system restart. This action fosters a renewed recognition of USB disks by your system.
Should direct USB driver updates be inaccessible through your system, recourse can be taken to obtain them from the USB drive manufacturer’s official website。
Method 2. Use Disk Management to Assign a New Drive Letter to Your USB Drive
Sometimes, when you put a new USB drive into your computer and its name is the same as another drive that’s already there, your computer might get confused.
This can make it so that you can’t see the new USB drive when you look in File Explorer. To fix this, you can give the new USB drive a different letter. This should help the USB drive show up correctly on Windows 10.
- Press Windows + X simultaneously, and choose Disk Management from the resulting menu.
- Right-click your USB drive, then select “Change Drive Letter and Paths” from the context menu.
- In the ensuing pop-up window, click Change, and assign a new letter to the partition.
- Choose USB letter, confirm with Change -> OK.
Method 3. Try Disk Repair Tool to Fix Your USB Drive
- Reconnect the USB drive to your PC, access the “Start” menu, and input “Device Manager.” Subsequently, select the “Device Manager” icon that emerges in the search outcomes.
- Locate your USB drive, execute a right-click action on it, then opt for Properties.
- Navigate to the Tools tab and initiate click on the Check button.
Method 4. Create Partition on Your USB drive
If you observe that Disk Management lists your USB drive as unallocated space, the drive will not be visible in File Explorer, and you will be unable to utilize the device for data storage.
Common causes leading to the presence of unallocated space on a USB drive include improper ejection of the USB drive from your computer, incorrect formatting procedures, unexpected system disruptions, and virus intrusions.
Below, you will find instructions on how to utilize Disk Management to partition the unallocated space.
- Begin by right-clicking on the unallocated space, then choose the “New Simple Volume” option from the menu.
2. Proceed by clicking “Next” to determine the size of the volume.
3. After that, click “Next” again to assign a drive letter or path to the unallocated space.
4. Continue by clicking “Next” once more to initiate the formatting of the new partition. During this step, you’ll need to provide important details about the disk, including the preferred file system, allocation unit size, and volume label (a name for a storage drive or partition).
Scenario 2. USB drive not showing up either in File Explorer or Disk Management (3 Fixes)
The connected USB drive is unobservable in both File Explorer and Disk Management, signifying a complete lack of detection and recognition by the operating system.
Possible causes encompass physical damage, virus and malware attacks, issues with cables or ports, USB drive non-enablement in BIOS, outdated USB drive drivers, and the presence of bad sectors on the drive.
Fix 1. Examine USB Port and Device Compatibility
As a preliminary step, it is advisable to evaluate the condition of the USB port. If the port exhibits damage, it could obstruct BIOS detection of the USB device.
To assess this, you can connect the flash drive to your computer via an alternate port to ascertain its operational state. If the issue of the hard drive’s absence in Disk Management persists, it indicates that the port is not the source of the problem.
Additionally, you can attempt connecting the USB to a different USB port on your computer. Avoid utilizing multiple USB devices concurrently on the same USB hub to prevent potential power supply inadequacies.
Fix 2. Try to turn off the USB selective suspend setting
The USB flash drive not appearing in Disk Management could be due to a power setting on your system. This involves a power-saving feature that deactivates USB power upon connection, leading to the drive’s invisibility in Disk Management. Here’s how to examine this:
- Access Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options.
- Within the Preferred plan, click “Change plan settings” for the current plan in use.
- Proceed to “Change advanced power settings” > “USB settings” > “USB selective suspend setting.”
- Opt for “Disabled” from the dropdown menu, followed by clicking “Apply” and then “OK.”
Fix 3. Enable your flash drive in BIOS setup
Because of the default configurations by certain motherboard manufacturers, the USB drive might not appear in Disk Management if it hasn’t been enabled in System Setup (BIOS). In this scenario, accessing the BIOS settings to enable the drive becomes necessary in order to make it visible on your computer.
- Initiate a restart of your Windows 11/10/8/7 PC. Prior to the Windows logo display, hold down the “Pause Break” key to interrupt the boot process.
- Observe the on-screen prompts to access the BIOS setup. This message could read “BIOS Setup F8” or “Press F8 to Enter BIOS,” which may vary based on your PC manufacturer or motherboard.
- Employ the “Pause Break” key and subsequently press the appropriate function keys like F1, F2, F8, Del, or other designated keys to gain entry into the system setup.
- Employ the arrow keys to designate “Advanced,” “Onboard Devices,” or “Integrated Peripherals” within the menu. Press “Enter.”
- Opt for “USB Controller” and apply the “+” or “-” keys to modify the settings to “Enabled.”
- Lastly, press the “F10” key to activate the USB ports and then proceed to exit the BIOS settings.