If your PC shows a “USB drive not recognized” error or your PC is completely unresponsive, it could be due to a number of reasons. Your Windows may not be compatible with your USB drive file system, or there may be a problem with your USB drive.
Luckily, we’ll dive into the reasons why your USB drive isn’t showing up and how to fix it.
Why is my USB drive not showing up?
Here are some reasons why your USB drive is not showing up on your PC:
- Outdated Windows
- Damaged USB controller
- Damaged USB port
- Outdated drivers or software
- Problems with partitions
- Outdated Drivers in PC Motherboards
Troubleshoot USB drive not showing up
Before moving on to the fixes, check if Windows can detect your USB drive. Press Windows and X at the same time to open the additional menu. Click Disk Management. In this new window you can see all the connected devices.
You may see your USB drive in this list, or it may also have a name like Removable Drive. If you still don’t see your USB drive, we can explore some methods below:
Turn off power management settings
Sometimes when your PC is in power saving mode, it may turn off devices like USB drives to save battery. So if your PC is in this mode, your USB drive may not show up. Thankfully, there’s a way to prevent that from happening.
- Follow our steps above to access Equipment management and double click Universal Serial Bus controller.
- Double click USB Root Hub. You will now see a small pop-up where you can view the properties of your USB.
- From the tabs above, click Energy management.
- Uncheck the box that says Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.
- Click ALRIGHT.
Note: If you notice multiple USB Root Hub devices, please repeat the steps for all of them.
Turn off USB in Power Plan Settings
Similar to the previous solution, this step is another way to prevent your USB drive from being disabled. Here’s how you can do it:
- enter Resource plan in the Search bar. You may see an option called Edit power plan in Control Panel.
- In the new pop-up, click Change advanced power settings. You will see another popup named Energy options.
- Scroll and double click USB settings then double click USB selective suspend setting.
- Click Plugged in: Enabled. Click Disable.
Update/reinstall the USB controller
If your USB driver is corrupted or inconsistent, it may not recognize your USB drive. So the only method is to update or reinstall the USB driver. Here’s how you can do it:
- Type “Equipment management” in the search bar and open it. Here you can see a list of all the devices in your PC.
- Now scroll to the bottom and double click Universal Serial Bus Controller. You may see two or more drivers from the drop-down list.
- Right click on each device and click Update drivers.
- If you want to uninstall it, click Uninstall the driver.
- Now you can restart your PC. Windows will automatically install the new drivers.
- You can also click Scan for hardware changes. Then try connecting your USB drive.
If your PC still won’t recognize your USB drive, there must be damage inside the USB port.
Update Motherboard Chipset Driver
If the Chipset driver on your PC’s motherboard is out of date, your PC may not be able to detect your USB drive. To resolve this issue, it is best to update the driver to the latest version.
- Read your PC’s manual and related product information documents from the motherboard manufacturer.
- Open your PC manufacturer’s online support page.
- Usually, all computer brands have the option to install drivers on their official website. So you can choose the right driver and install it for your PC.
Format the USB drive
If most of the solutions don’t work, there may be a virus or corrupt file in your USB drive, preventing it from showing up. This can happen often with relatively old USB drives and those that you frequently share with others. To get your USB drive working properly again, you need to format it.
Another situation where this step is useful is if the drive has been partitioned, but you still cannot use the drive. If the drive is in a format that is not compatible with Windows, it may result in the USB drive not showing up. It’s best to remember that Windows supports drives with file systems, like NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT.
Please note that while formatting the drive may work, it will delete all the files and empty your USB drive. So you should back up some files if you have them on other platforms. In the meantime, here’s how you can format your USB drive:
- In the search bar, type Create and format hard disk partitions. This will lead you to Disk Management Windows.
- Right click on removable storage. From the additional menu, click Format.
- inside Volume label Name the storage area in File Explorer.
- From the drop-down menu of File systemclick NTFS.
- From the drop-down menu of Allocation unit sizeclick Default.
- Check the box that says Do a quick format.
- You can also check the box that says Enable file and folder compression.
- Click ALRIGHT.
Now you can try to connect the USB drive to your PC.
Check for hardware damage
If software-related solutions are not giving you good results, then it’s time to check for any physical damage. To confirm this, you can try connecting the USB drive to another computer. If it works, then the problem is with the USB port on your PC. If the USB drive still doesn’t show up on another PC, the problem is with the drive itself.
You can use a flashlight to check for any damage around or inside the USB port on your desktop or laptop. Similarly, do the same test on your USB drive. Check for cracks and damaged parts.
If so, you can take your PC to a local electronics repair shop to have the damage repaired. If there is serious damage to your USB drive, it may be time to replace the USB drive with a new one.
Update your Windows
Finally, updating your Windows can do the trick. This is because performing this step will fix any minor errors and update all the drivers and components of your PC. Just open Update and Security from settings. Go to Windows Update and click on any available updates.