What to Do When Your USB is Not Showing Up
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USB pen drives, commonly referred to as flash drives or thumb drives, offer a convenient and portable solution for data storage and transfer. Millions of people around the world use them for various purposes, such as backing up important files, transferring documents between devices, and storing media.

However, there may be situations where your USB drive does not show up when plugged into your computer. This can be frustrating and may lead to you thinking that your USB drive is no longer functional. This article covers initial checks, reasons your USB drive might not appear, and fixes for non-working USB drives on Windows and Mac OS.

Why Your USB Drive Won't Show Up

Before diving into potential solutions, it’s important to understand why your USB device needs to be recognised. Here are some common reasons:

  • Connection issue: The USB drive might not be properly connected to the computer, or the connection port might be faulty.
  • Driver issues: Your computer might not have the necessary drivers installed to recognise and use your USB drive.
  • Drive letter conflict: If your USB drive has the same drive letter as another device, it might not show up on your computer.
  • File system errors: Corrupted or damaged file systems can prevent a USB drive from being recognised by your computer.
  • Physical damage: If your USB flash drive is physically damaged, it might no longer be functional.
USB Device not Recognised on Windows

First Steps and Initial Checks

Before attempting any fixes, it’s essential to eliminate simple problems that could be causing your USB stick not to show up. Here are some initial checks you can perform:

Check the connection: Make sure your USB drive is properly connected to your computer without any loose connections.

Try a different port: Sometimes, the USB port you’re using may be defective.Try connecting your USB drive to a different port on your computer.

Use a different cable: To troubleshoot issues with your USB device not recognised, try using a different detachable cable to identify any potential cable-related problems.

Check on another device: Attempt connecting your USB drive to another computer or device to see if it’s recognised. If it is, then the problem lies with your original computer.

If these initial checks do not resolve the problem, then it’s time to move on to potential fixes for your USB drive.

USB Drive Not Recognised in Windows

If basic troubleshooting hasn’t resolved your issue and your device is still not detected, it might be time to explore advanced solutions. For users frustrated by the common problem of their USB not showing up in Windows 10, it is crucial to start with the Device Manager and Disk Management tool for an initial troubleshooting approach.

  • Check the Device Manager

    1. To access Device Manager on Windows, right-click the Start menu and choose "Device Manager."

    1. Select the arrow next to "Disk drives" to expand the list of devices.
    2. To fix a USB drive marked with a yellow exclamation or red X, Update the driver by right-clicking on the drive.
    3. If the device isn't listed at all, try plugging it into a different port or connecting it to another computer.

  • Assign a Drive Letter

    1. Sometimes, a USB drive may not appear because it shares the same drive letter as another device. To fix this, open Disk Management by typing "diskmgmt. msc" into the Windows search bar.

    1. Right-click the USB drive and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths."
    2. Select "Change" to assign a new, unique drive letter to your USB drive.

  • Reformat Your USB Drive

    1. If your USB drive has a corrupted or incompatible file system, your computer may not recognise it. Right-click on the USB drive in Disk Management and select "Format."
    2. Choose a compatible file system, such as FAT32 or NTFS, and select "Start" to begin the formatting process.

USB Drive Not Recognised on Mac OS

Mac OS has its own set of fixes for non-working USB drives:

  • Check your USB Ports

    Sometimes, the problem can be with the USB port itself. Try connecting your USB drive to a different port on your Mac and see if it is recognised.

  • Use Disk Utility

    Disk Utility serves as a comprehensive disk management tool designed to assist in the organisationof both internal and external storage devices.

    1. Open Disk Utility via Spotlight or by navigating to "Applications" > "Utilities." Choose your drive from the device list and select "First Aid."
    2. Click on "Run" to fix any errors or issues with the drive.

  • Reformat Your USB Drive

    1. Like with Windows, reformatting your USB drive can fix file system issues. Access Disk Utility and choose your USB drive.
    2. Choose "Erase" and pick a suitable file system like MS-DOS (FAT) or ExFAT. Click "Erase" again to start the reformatting.

How to Avoid Errors with USB Drives

For optimal USB drive lifespan and performance, implement preventive measures and follow best practices. This part of the article will guide you on how to avoid common errors and ensure your drives remain in top working condition.

  • Eject Your USB Drive Safely

    Always select the "Safely Remove Hardware" function before disconnecting your USB drive from the computer.

  • Prevent Physical Damage

    Handle your USB drive carefully, protecting it from extreme temperatures and moisture.

  • Update Drivers Regularly

    To ensure your computer recognises and utilises your USB drive, consistently update its drivers.

  • Select the Appropriate File System

    When formatting your USB drive, opt for a file system that ensures compatibility and prevents errors.


If none of these solutions work, your USB drive may be physically damaged. In this case, it’s best to contact professional data recovery services for further assistance. Remember to always safely eject your USB flash drive from your computer before removing it to prevent further data failure or corruption.

Experiencing stress when your USB drive is not detected can be frustrating, especially if you have crucial files stored on it.

However, even with a malfunctioning device, there is a possibility of recovering your valuable data. Trust our USB Drive Data Recovery Services for all types of data loss scenarios.We understand how critical your data can be.

Whether it’s personal memories, crucial work documents, or sensitive information, losing access to your data from a USB drive can be a stressful situation. This is why we offer expert USB drive data recovery services tailored to retrieve lost or inaccessible data from damaged or non-recognisable USB drives.

Trust us to handle your data with the utmost privacy and security. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you retrieve your valuable data.

Frequently Asked Questions

There can be several reasons for this, including connection issues, driver problems, drive letter conflicts, file system errors, and physical damage.

Some potential solutions include checking the Device Manager, assigning a new drive letter, and reformatting the drive. In certain challenging situations where common troubleshooting steps fail to resolve the issue with your USB drive, it is advisable to seek professional assistance.

Yes, professional data recovery services can retrieve data from physically damaged USB drives, but it is not guaranteed. It’s best to contact experts for assistance in this situation.

Yes, expert data recovery services can often retrieve lost or inaccessible data from non-recognisable USB drives. However, it’s always best to back up your data regularly to avoid any potential loss.

It’s essential to handle your USB drive with care and safely eject it from your computer before removing it. It’s also highly recommended that you regularly back up your data to avoid potential loss. If you encounter any recurring issues with your USB drive, it’s best to consult a professional for assistance.