USB is a widespread technology that allows us to connect many devices to our computers every day. While it’s pretty easy to set up, sometimes it’s not all. What should I do if my USB drive is not displayed?
This can be caused by several reasons, such as a damaged or dead USB drive, outdated software and drivers, partition problems, incorrect file system and device conflicts. Other reasons, such as faulty hardware, a broken system controller, or USB ports, require professional help from your device manufacturer or a certified computer technician.
While it is not easy to determine the exact reason why your computer is not recognizing your USB drive, you can use various possible solutions until it works again.
We’ve put together a few effective solutions that can work when you’re having problems with your USB connection. Most of them are also applicable to various devices like floppy drives, mice, video game controllers, etc., which require a USB connection.
Also, watch our short YouTube video above where we go over some of the solutions below. If you get the error “USB device not recognized”, we have a solution for that too, so follow the link.
- Device Compatibility Check
- Update your operating system
- Windows Troubleshooter.
- Use the disk management tool
- Try connecting to a different computer or USB port.
- Troubleshoot driver problems.
- Use Device Manager to find hardware changes.
- Create new volumes and assign a drive letter
- Disable USB Selective Suspend.
How to fix a mains-connected USB drive not showing up
- Initial checks
- Check device compatibility
- Update your operating system li>
- Windows Troubleshooter
- Use Disk Management Tool
- Try connecting a computer or a different USB port
- Troubleshoot drivers
- Use Device Manager to scan for hardware changes
- Create a new drive volume and assign a drive letter
- disable USB pause
- Make sure your USB device is turned on. Ideally, when you plug a USB drive into your computer, it should turn on automatically, and flashing lights on the device indicate activity. Some devices have a dedicated power cable or physical power button that must be manually turned on for the computer to detect it.
- Check your USB drive for cracks. The flash drive may have been damaged without you knowing, so check it physically before trying again to rule out any problems.
- Restart your computer. This might be an old backup tech support, but it fixes a lot of problems, especially those caused by software glitches. Unplug the USB drive, shut down your computer, and unplug it from the power source. Wait one minute before restarting your computer and trying to install the flash drive again.
- Let your computer boot completely before plugging in the USB drive again. Some computers can run slowly and overload due to the many operations they have to perform during startup, so it is possible that your USB drive will be overlooked.
- Verify the operation of the USB device . When you connect the USB stick to your computer, it is best to turn it on automatically with flashing lights on the unit indicating activity. Some units have a dedicated power cable or physical power button that you must manually turn on for the computer to detect it.
- Inspect the USB stick for cracks . It’s possible that your flash drive was damaged without your knowledge so actually check it to rule out any issues before trying again.
- Restart your computer . This might be an outdated tech support option, but it fixes a lot of issues, especially those caused by software glitches. Disconnect the USB stick, turn off the computer, and unplug it from the power source. Wait up to one minute before restarting your computer and try the flash drive again.
- Allow your computer to load completely before trying the USB drive again. Some computers can be slow and overwhelmed by the multiple processes they have to run during startup, so a USB drive will likely be overlooked.
Check device compatibility
If the USB drive is not designed to work with a computer, it will not appear when you plug it in. On a Windows PC, most USB 3 devices can be plugged into USB 2 ports, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
However, as technology advances, a USB 3 device may require a more powerful and compatible port to function. Before trying again, check your device manual or packaging for compatibility information.
Update your operating system
If you are using Windows, the operating system update includes important files that support various hardware and devices, as well as fixes for any errors you may encounter.
- Open Settings> Update & Security.
- Click Check for Updates. If there are any pending updates, please download and restart your computer before trying the USB drive again.
Use Disk Management Utility
This tool will check if Windows detects your USB drive. It also shows you all the hard drives connected to your PC and you can view information such as partitions, sizes, and more.
- Plug in your USB drive and right-click Start> Disk Management.
- Check the USB drive under the primary or secondary drives. If it has no partitions, it will show as Removable.
- If you see this in the disk management utility, you can create a new volume and assign a drive letter to it. This way, you can partition or format the USB stick so that it can be easily discovered by other devices, including your computer.
- If your USB drive does not appear, it could be a driver or hardware issue, or the drive is not working.
Try connecting to a different computer or USB port
Disconnect the USB drive from the current port and computer and try connecting it to a different computer and / or USB port. If it works with a new USB port or computer, the USB port might be damaged or not working, or the problem might be with the computer itself.
A faulty, damaged or dead USB port causes problems such as not being able to detect USB drives or displaying error messages. Make sure the port is clean, dust-free and sturdy. If it moves up and down, or seems loose, then it is defective / damaged.
If you are using a USB hub, disconnect the USB flash drive from the hub and plug it directly into your computer. Some hubs do not have enough power to run external drives, which may be the case in your case.
If the USB stick does not appear even after trying to use a different port, computer, or checking in Disk Management, it is likely defective and needs to be replaced.
You can troubleshoot driver problems by using Device Manager, especially if the USB drive is detected by a different computer than the one you are using, indicating a driver problem.
- Right-click Start> Device. Manager.
- Expand Disk Devices and check for a yellow exclamation mark next to any of the listed devices. If one or more of these marks are marked, then the device (s) has a driver problem.
- Right-click the problematic device and select Properties to view the corresponding error message. You can search the Internet for the error to find a solution to the problem.
You can also try the following solutions to resolve driver issues:
- Roll back the driver to revert to the latest driver updates and restore the device to a time when it worked correctly.
- Download the drivers from the device manufacturer’s website from the downloads page, from the support page, or by searching for the correct driver on the website.
- Update the driver by right-clicking it in Device Manager, select Update Driver and follow the instructions.
- Remove the device from your computer, restart it, and wait while it reinstalls the correct driver and configurations.
- Right-click Start and select Device Manager.
- Click Action> Scan for Hardware Changes.
Use Device Manager to scan for hardware changes
- Right-click Start and select Device Manager.
- Click Perform> Scan for hardware changes.
Windows will try to find your USB drive so you can access it again.
Reinstall USB Controllers
This method helps where the USB driver is unstable or corrupted.
- Right-click Start> Device Manager and click Universal Serial Bus Controllers to expand the list.
- Right-click the device and select Uninstall, then restart your computer to automatically reinstall the controllers.
Create a new drive volume and assign a drive letter
If your device appeared during the disk management step, you can create a new disk volume and assign a letter to it. The Disk Management tool fixes problems with partitions and file systems on different disks.
However, only unallocated space may appear on the USB drive, in which case you will have to create a new partition for Windows and other operating systems to use.
- Right-click Start> Disk. Manage, right-click Unallocated Space> New Simple Volume and follow the instructions to create a partition.
If you still can’t see your flash drive, but it is partitioned, make sure it has a drive letter. Ideally, this should happen automatically, but if you remove it manually, the drive will not be detected and cannot be accessed by Windows.
- Right-click the drive partition and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
- If there is no drive letter assigned, click Add and select a drive letter. If it has a letter on it, click “Change” and choose another one.
Disable USB selective suspend
This is a power saving setting that helps to reduce the drain on your battery by turning off the power to your USB drive while it is plugged in. To prevent the drive from shutting down for any reason, disable this feature so that the power management settings do not overlap the USB controller, which prevents Windows from detecting it.
- Click Start> Control Panel and select Hardware and Sound.
- Click Power Options> Change Plan Settings.
- Click Change Advanced Power Settings.
- Go to USB settings and expand it.
- Click USB with the Suspend options and change the Connected drop-down menu to Disabled (Note: If you are using a laptop, click On Battery and change to Disabled from the drop-down menu). / li>
- Click Apply> OK and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
If all else fails, you can replace the USB drive as a last resort, although you can do this if the drive is already broken. Otherwise, we hope this guide helped simplify the process so that you now know what to do if your USB drive is not showing up when you plug it in.