11 Easy Solutions: USB Drive Not Showing Up Error

USB flash drives have to be the most efficient way to transfer and carry around files from most electronic devices. These versatile tools can sometimes not be detected by the Windows computer for several reasons and this can get really frustrating at the moment of need. 

It is better to be safe than sorry; Therefore, if you have experienced this error previously, it is very important for you to read this article. We made this write-up, especially, to help anyone who is experiencing the USB Drive not showing up error on their Windows system.

USB Drive not showing up

You will find everything you need to know about the USB drive you are using and what to do when it is not being detected by the more recent versions of the Windows Operating System (OS).

Factors that cause the USB Drive not showing up error

Connectivity Issues

The simplest explanation for this issue could be a loose connection. This could be caused by both the sides, the USB drive and the USB ports on the computer. This can be fixed by removing the USB drive and inserting it back again, properly. There are a few other simple workarounds that can help you fix this issue on your system.

Improper Power Supply

Some USB ports may not receive an adequate power supply for some reason. This can be fixed through the power settings and by trying to use the computer while it is connected to a different electric socket.

Conflicts in the Drive Letters

This is the most common cause for the USB drive not showing up issue on a Windows computer. When there is an internal conflict between the partitions, that you have made on your computer’s hard drive, it is possible for the USB storage drive to not be detected on the computer.

Out-of-date USB Driver

Like every other computer component, the USB ports also have drivers that help them function efficiently. These drivers get updates for patches and efficiency, on a regular basis. These drivers cannot help the device do their job when they are not on the latest version available.

System Files corruption

System files can become corrupt and get infected by viruses. This will render the associated services or applications useless. If the system file responsible for hosting and managing the USB device or driver gets damaged, there is a high chance that this issue comes up on your system.

Incompatible File System

When any storage device gets connected to the computer, for the first time, it gets formatted and is prepped to a certain kind of file system. These file system types can differ from system to system. This means that a storage drive that runs a different file system will not work on the system unless it is formatted to work with other files. 

Damaged USB Drive

USB storage or external hard drives have shells made of metals or plastic compounds, which means that these can get easily damaged. The easiest workaround for this is to pick it up and shake it to check for a rattling noise. 

If there is an audible noise, it means that the components inside have been damaged and you will have to get a new one. You can also try adjusting the USB drive when it is attached to the port to make the system detect it.

Unallocated Hard Drive

If the hard drive or the hard drive partition has not been allocated on your computer for a particular purpose, this won’t be shown up on the device. The solution to this reason for causing the USB drive not showing up issue is quite complicated but we got you covered.

Solutions to fix the USB Drive not showing up error on Windows 

  1. Basic Workarounds for the USB drive
  2. Try using a different USB port
  3. Troubleshoot the USB Drivers
  4. Check For Device Compatibility
  5. Use Device Manager To scan For Hardware Changes
  6. Remove and Reinstall the USB Controller drivers
  7. Download the Operating System Version updates
  8. Disable the USB Selective Suspend Feature on your system
  9. Make a New Drive Volume 
  10. Format your Storage Drive through Command Prompt
  11. Contact a service unit
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Fixing the USB Drive not showing up error on your Windows PC

Basic Workarounds for the USB drive

The most basic workaround to find out if the USB drive has been detected by your computer or not is through the Disk Management window. The biggest sign of this issue is when the USB drive does not show up on the This PC page or on the left panel in any File Explorer window. 

Disk Management window

There is a slim chance that this might be because of some bug and the drive just hasn’t shown up. There is even a chance that this drive could be available in the Disk Management window. 

Restarting the device should be able to fix this issue when it is caused by a system bug. You can also try connecting it to a different laptop or a desktop to see if it is detected by the alternate host.

Most recent USB drives with a large storage capacity have a power button, which has to be switched on, for the system to be detected. You will have to check that too.

Search for the Disk Management window in the Search bar (Windows + S) on the Start menu. When this window shows up, you should be able to see all the storage drives and the partitions, if any were made. If you do not see the USB storage drive, use the solutions we have listed for you below. 

Try using a different USB port

A computer, be it a laptop or a desktop, has a minimum of three USB ports on them. This number can increase when the user chooses to plug a USB hub extender in. The next easiest workaround is to plug the USB drive into a different port to see if it gets detected. 

USB port

If you can’t see it when you connect it to another port, the fault is with the USB drive. If only one port does not host the drive, you can attach it to another one. The error is with the USB port then.

Troubleshoot the USB Drivers

Windows has a built-in troubleshooter that can be used to detect configurational issues that cannot be detected, normally, by the user. This is what we will be using to figure out which setting has been changed to cause this issue if this is the case. 

  • Launch the Device Manager window on your computer by running a search for the tool on the search bar. You can also use the devmgmt.msc command on the Run dialog box (Windows + R) to open the same window.
  • Click on the Disk Drives section in this window and find the device that has been showing you issues.
Disk Drives section
  • Choose the Properties option from its context menu, which can be launched by right-clicking on the device. 

In the window that pops up, you should be able to see the error that your drive is facing. 

Check For Device Compatibility

Compatibility is yet another factor we have to look into when we are dealing with an issue regarding the USB port or drive. The latest version of the USB is version 3.0. If your computer has a USB 2.0 port, it will not be able to accommodate newer versions. However, if you have the latest port version, it can host the older models. 

You should be able to see the versions for the USB port and the drive on the list of specifications. This is available on the list of specifications on the box or packages that the drive or device came in. 

Use Device Manager To Scan For Hardware Changes

Sometimes the USB drivers will not be detected by the system. This is not a big deal and can be fixed easily with a hardware scan on your system. You will find the procedure to do this below – 

  • Open the Device Manager window with the steps we have mentioned in the solution mentioned before the previous one. 
  • Right-click on the Disk Drives section and choose the Scan for hardware changes option from the context popup.
 Scan for hardware changes option
  • Repeat the same for the Universal Serial Bus Controllers category also. 

These processes should only take a few minutes to finish. These scans will also check for USB and storage disk drivers.

Remove and Reinstall the USB Controller drivers

If you suspect a corrupt driver and there are no available updates for the USB drivers, you just have to delete it from your system and install it again. This is an efficient solution as the damaged driver will be gotten rid of and replaced by fresh, functional driver software. Here’s how you can download the USB drivers on your Windows PC. 

  • Open the Device Manager window and locate the Universal Serial Bus controllers section from the categorized device tabs.
  • Find the suspicious device and right-click on it. The Update driver option can also help you here, but only in rare cases. It is still worth a try to download USB driver updates. 
  • From the context menu, choose the Uninstall device option. This action will prompt a confirmation box. 
Uninstall device
  • Choose Uninstall again to completely get rid of the device from your computer. 
Uninstall option in prompt menu
  • Restart your system and open the Device Manager again. 
  • Now, right-click on the USB controllers section and choose the Scan for hardware changes option. 
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Once this section gets the deleted driver back, restart your PC again and check if the USB drive gets detected. 

Download the Operating System Version updates

Some issues on your computer cannot be fixed by any other factor other than an OS update. The OS update could contain the potential solution to the USB not detecting an issue on your computer. You will find the steps below useful – 

  • Bring up the Windows settings window on your system. You can use the keyboard hotkey shortcut or the gear icon in the Start menu. 
  • Select the Updates & Security tile on the page.
  • You will be taken to the Windows Update page automatically. Here, you will see options to download updates and even upgrade the OS to Windows 11, if you still haven’t. 
  • Click on the Check for Updates option on this page to make the system scan the internet for available updates. 
Check for Updates
  • If you see the Download and Install button, click on it and you will see the downloads start. Make sure that you have an adequate bandwidth for your network connection to download the updates. 
  • When the downloads are done, restart your system. It is important to use the Update and Restart option in the Power options for the PC to install the updates on your computer. 

The entire process shouldn’t take more than ten minutes at maximum. When the computer boots up again, check to see if the issue still persists. 

Even if this fix does not help you fix the issue, you will always get your other bugs fixed and security improved when you update your system to the latest OS version. Now, hold tight; we will be entering the advanced solutions. 

Disable the USB Selective Suspend Setting on your system

The Windows 10 OS has a feature to halt the USB flash drive from functioning and letting the user put it to use, normally. This is mainly done to save power on your computer, especially if it is a laptop, that is not connected to the charger. Unless this feature is disabled on your system, you won’t be able to see it when you wish to use the drive. 

We have provided the steps to do this below –  

  • Launch the Control Panel window on your system using the search bar or the start menu (Windows key). 
  • Go into the Hardware and Sound section. On this page, you will have to locate the Power options settings.
  •  Now, click on it and choose the Change plan settings option. 
  • At the bottom part of the page, click on the Change advanced power settings link. 
Change advanced power settings
  • Move to the USB settings option and click on it to draw down more options. 
USB settings
  • Navigate to the USB selective suspend settings and set the Plugged in value to Disabled. Laptop users will have to, additionally, disable the On battery option also. 
  • When done, click on Apply and then OK to save the changes and close the window. 

This will definitely help you with getting the missing USB drive back on your system, under the condition that the USB storage drive is being suspended for power management purposes. In most cases, the device will always get enough power to run and detect the USB drive without any issues. 

Make a New Drive Volume 

You might have to make a new drive volume and assign a letter for it so that the unallocated space on the USB drive can be put to use. This process is, usually, done by the system automatically, when it detects the drive. But under the unlikely circumstance that it doesn’t, we’ll have to do it manually. 

Making a new drive volume is a complicated process that requires very careful out-taking.  This is because the computer’s storage drive has to be split into drives to make a new partition for the storage. Do not fret as we’ll help you get this done in no time at all. We will be using the Disk Management tool again. 

  • Launch the Disk Management window and wait for all the available drives to load on the page. You can search for it or navigate to it through the Start menu.
  • Open the context menu for the Unallocated space option and choose the New Simple Volume option from the menu. 
  • You will see a series of instructions that will help you make the partitions for your drives. If you cant see the USB drive even after this, you should be able to see this when you allot a drive letter. 
Change Drive Letter and Paths option
  • Right-click on the partition and choose the Change Drive Letter and Paths option. 
Add option
  • You may not see a drive letter, in which case, you will have to select the Add option and choose a new drive letter. If there is an existing letter, choose Change and assign another one. 
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The instructions that you will receive for creating a partition can differ between computers, on the basis of their internal storage unit(s)’ capacities. The system scans the hardware for its capacity and provides personalized instructions to split another partition out of it, without having to lose or transfer the existing data. 

Under the rare chances that you lose the stored files, you can always use a data recovery tool to recover your files, without any issue.

Format your Storage Drive through Command Prompt

If a quick format, that is done during the device’s initialization, has proven to be ineffective you might want to format the drive completely. The easiest way to do this is to run the necessary command lines in an Admin: Command Prompt window. 

To get this window up and running, you will have to search for the CMD tool (Ctrl + Shift + 2) and choose the Run as administrator option. This is the easiest option to launch Admin: Command Prompt on your computer. Once the black script window is up and running, execute the below-stated commands one at a time:

diskpart
list disk
select "Disk Number"
clean 
create part pri
active
format fs=fat32 or format fs=ntfs

The last command asks the user to choose between a FAT32 or an NTFS file system. Restart your system after this procedure and verify if the drive is available. 

Contact a service unit

Once all the above procedures are done, you will have to take your USB drive and the host device to an authorized service unit to get a technician to look into the issue. If you have a valid warranty, you might even get a replacement or free repair service. 

You can also try contacting the customer service team for the USB drive manufacturer, device brand, and Microsoft. If none of the solutions work for you, you might have to get a new device or storage unit. 

This article has everything you will possibly need to know about the USB drive not showing up issue on the Windows 10 OS.

FAQs

Why Is My USB Not Showing Up?

A USB drive may not show up because of the following reasons

– Connectivity Issues
– Improper Power Supply
– Conflicts in the Drive Letters
– Out-of-date USB Driver
– System Files corruption
– Incompatible File System. 
– Damaged USB Drive
– Unallocated Hard Drive
– Minor OS bugs
– Incompatible USB versions

How Do I Get My USB Drive To Show Up?

If you are experiencing the USB drive not showing up error on your Windows OS-based computer, you can implement the following solutions – 

– Basic Workarounds for the USB drive
– Try using a different USB port
– Troubleshoot the USB Drivers
– Check For Device Compatibility
– Use Device Manager To scan For Hardware Changes
– Remove and Reinstall the USB Controller drivers
– Download the Operating System Version updates
– Disable the USB Selective Suspend Feature on your system
– Make a New Drive Volume 
– Format your Storage Drive through Command Prompt
– Contact a service unit

How Do You Fix A Undetected Flash Drive?

When you plug in a flash drive into your computer, there is a tiny chance that it might not get detected by the Operating System. In this case, you can use the solutions that follow – 
– Attempt to use a different USB port
– USB Drivers Troubleshoot
– Examine Your Device’s Compatibility
– Scan the system for hardware changes in the Device Manager
– Remove and Reinstall the USB Controller drivers
– Download pending OS updates
– Deactivate your system’s USB Selective Suspend feature 
– Create a new volume on your hard drive and allot a letter for it
– Format your storage drive
– Take the device to an authorized service center or the dealer

How Do I Fix An Undetectable Flash Drive?

A USB flash drive can be undetectable in some situations. If you face this annoying issue while using your Windows computer, you will find the solutions below helpful – 
– Attempt to use a different USB port
– USB Drivers Troubleshoot
– Examine Your Device’s Compatibility
– Scan the system for hardware changes in the Device Manager
– Remove and Reinstall the USB Controller drivers
– Download pending OS updates
– Deactivate your system’s USB Selective Suspend feature 
– Create a new volume on your hard drive and allot a letter for it
– Format your storage drive
– Take the device to an authorized service center or the dealer