Learn how to fix problems that block the USB drive from appearing either in File Explorer or Disk Management or both.
USB drives are now a vital element of our lives due to the ease they provide in terms of transfer of data. Connect it to an USB port, copy the data onto it, connect it to another device and then transfer the data to the system. It’s that simple.
However, there are instances that the USB drive doesn’t show as a device in Windows. This is a huge issue because you won’t be able to transfer files to or from it. This could be because of many reasons, and the process of identifying them is an exercise by itself. But, there are simple solutions that can help get the system back in order.
Table of Contents
Why is USB Drive not Showing Up in Windows?
Before we move on to solutions, it is essential to understand the causes for the error. Once you’ve identified the root cause of the error the process of troubleshooting becomes much simpler.
- Hardware Compatibility
- Corrupted Driver
- There are no parts on the USB drive
- The USB drive does not have a drive letter.
Once you have a better understanding of the root causes Let’s look at the solutions.
1. Do Basic Checks
It is common for us to mess with the software while the issue is in the hardware. So, prior to moving on to other solutions it’s time to do some basic tests.
- Certain USB drives come with an additional power button, that if turned off, won’t allow the drive to be displayed in Windows. Find out if your drive is equipped with one, and make sure it’s on. Check if the drive appears in Windows.
- It’s also possible that your present USB port is malfunctioning or is dead. Connect the USB drive to another port on your system , and verify if it is present.
- Restarting your computer can also work as a quick fix in these situations. Sometimes, the USB drive might not show up because of a glitch or small bug that can be corrected with simply restarting. Restart your computer and see whether the drive is showing up.
- If the drive doesn’t appear connect it to another computer to see whether it is now showing. If so, it could indicate that the driver is not functioning properly. If it doesn’t appear on the other computer, it’s likely that the drive is not working or has not been allocated space. If it’s dead or not, the issue is only determined by executing the appropriate fixes discussed in the next section.
- Also, examine your USB drive for any physical damage. There is always the possibility that it’s malfunctioning because of physical damage. If you notice cracks or bends on the drive, it might be the reason for it not appearing on Windows. If this is the situation, you need to seek help from a professional.
After you’ve completed these quick fixes and you are better placed to pinpoint the problem and correct it. Let’s look at the alternative solutions.
2. Device Does Not Show Up in Disk Management
If the drive doesn’t appear in the Disk Management on your PC however it appears on other computers this could indicate issues with your driver. Before we get to the driver issue we’ll first look at how you can view the USB drive within Disk Management.
To see the USB drive within Disk Management, either click the Start icon on the Taskbar or press Windows + X to open the menu called Quick Access, and then select ‘Disk Management from the list of choices.
Within the Disk Management panel, all the partitions and drives that are on your system are displayed. This includes both the external and internal drives. If you’re unable to locate the drive in this list, we’ll go into the Device Manager.
To start the Device Manager Search for it in the Start Menu and then click on the search result that matches to open the app.
Within the Device Manager Double-click the option ‘Disk drives’ to expand and see the devices that are under it.
If you see the USB drive on this list there’s a problem with the driver, which can be fixed easily.
Re-enable the USB Drive
The first step is to enable this USB drive. Here’s how to do it.
Right-click on the USB drive’ under the ‘Disk drives’ tab and then select ‘Disable device’ in the contextual menu.
Then, click “Yes” within the confirmation window that pops up.
Then, wait for a couple of minutes, after that, right-click your USB drive and choose “Enable” in the contextual menu.
Check whether the device is visible on your Disk Management and File Explorer.
If a glitch in the driver prevents printing the device not showing in Windows Reinstalling the device is an effective solution.
To install a new device simply right-click it and choose ‘Uninstall device’ in the contextual menu.
Uninstall the program in the confirmation screen that appears.
After uninstalling the device, reboot your PC. Windows will automatically install a new driver for the drive. Verify that this fix the issue.
If the two solutions above did not work It could be because you’re using an old driver. Updating it will fix the issue.
To upgrade the driver, click right onto the USB drive and choose “Update Driver” in the contextual menu.
You’ll now have two choices, either allow Windows automatically find the most compatible driver for your system, or to find and install it manually. It is recommended to choose the first option, and allow Windows handle the update.
Once the driver has been updated restart your computer and see if the driver is displayed. If there is no update, you are likely to be on the most recent version.
Roll Back Driver Update
If you began to experience problems after updating the driver, try reverting to the earlier version. Additionally, Windows may have updated the driver without aware of it, so you must test it.
To roll back the driver update to restore the driver update, right-click on the USB drive’ and choose Properties in the contextual menu.
The Properties tab, go to the tab ‘Driver’ and then click on the ‘Roll Back Driver update’ option. Select the appropriate response if the confirmation box is displayed.
NOTE: The ‘Roll Back Driver’ option will be grayed out when the driver isn’t updated or the driver file for the older version isn’t stored in your system.
The device should be functioning and you will be able to connect to it via File Explorer.
2. Windows Asking You to Format the Drive
If you get a message informing you that you must format the drive prior to you are able to use it after you connect to the USB drive, simply formatting the drive will accomplish the task. But before going to format the drive make sure that there’s no important data in the storage device.
This error will be displayed in the event that the drive was formatted using a ‘File System which isn’t compatible with Windows. If you have important data stored on your USB drive, connect it into the computer where it was formatted, copy the data , and connect it to your Windows PC. It is now possible to format the drive by selecting the option “Format disk” on the screen that pops up.
3. Assign Drive Letter
If the drive is listed in Disk Management, but not in the File Explorer, it could be due to the fact that the drive isn’t assigned a drive number yet. However, before assigning the drive letter, we should make sure that the drive displays an orange bar on top. If it does an elongated blue bar, it’s likely that the drive letter that is causing the problem and it can be corrected.
If the bar at the uppermost part of your drive appears black, it means that the drive’s space is not allocated, which could be a cause. We’ve addressed it with the next fix.
For assigning a specific drive letter the USB drive click on the USB drive and choose the option to change Drive letter and path from the contextual menu.
Then, click on Add in the ‘Change Drive Letters and Paths Panel’ that opens.
The next drive letter available will be chosen by default and you can click “OK” for it to be assigned. If you wish to select another drive letter, simply click on the drop-down menu and select the letter you prefer then click OK.
This will solve the problem if it was caused by the drive letter not being associated with this USB drive.
4. Format the USB Drive
As we discussed in the previous solution, if you see an unreadable black bar on the very top of your drive it means that its space isn’t allocated, which is probably this is the reason behind that USB device not showing up problem. To resolve this issue the easiest solution is allocate the space or create a volume simply by following the steps in the following steps.
To create a basic volume, right-click the space that is not allocated where the drive is located at the bottom, and choose the option ‘New Simple Volume’ in the contextual menu.
The “New Simple Volume Wizard” window will open. Click Next to continue.
Then, select the maximum size of the basic volume, and then click Next at the end of the.
Make sure that you’ve got the ‘Assign the drive letter to follow option selected. Select your desired letter of choice from the dropdown menu to the left, and select Next at the end.
Choose the file system that you want to use for the drive and then enter a ‘Volume’ label’ for it. If you’re using an USB drive that has more than 4GB in storage for Windows, the NTFS file system is suggested. For drives less than that you should choose the ‘FAT32’ system. Click Next to continue.
Then, check the settings you’ve chosen for the format then click “Finish” to apply the settings.
After you’ve created a new volume, it should be visible within File Explorer. File Explorer.
5. Format the Drive With Command Prompt
If you are not able to format the drive using Disk Management You could always try the command ‘DiskPart’ in the Command Prompt. Sometimes there are partitions that on the USB drive are so large that they are not formattable using Disk Management. DiskPart is a command that DiskPart command requires access to an administrator which means you’ll need to open the elevated Command Prompt. Let’s look at how to format the drive using Command Prompt.
To format the drive using Command Prompt, search for Windows Terminal on the Start Menu, click on the appropriate search resultand choose Run as administrator’. Select ‘Yes’ in the UAC box that pops up.
If you don’t have Command Prompt to the profile you want as your default for Terminal Click on the carrot arrow at the top, and then choose ‘Command Prompt’ in the menu. Alternately, use the combination of CTRL + Shift + 2 key combination to open Command Prompt. Command Prompt tab.
In the Command Prompt enter the following command, then press Enter.
Then, type the following command , then press ENTER.
There will be different disks on your system listed within the Command Prompt with each allotted an individual number in the ‘Disk’ ###’ column. Then, enter the following command, replacing the word ‘Disk’ ###’ by the number of the particular disk.
select Disk ###
Because we are trying to modify Disk 1 in the following list of disks, we’ve substituted ‘Disk’ ###’ within the previous command by the word ‘Disk 1 The final command in this instance is like this. Copy or type it in and hit Enter.
select Disk 1
The disk you typed earlier will now be selected. Enter the following command, then hit ENTER.
The disk has been cleaned and any partitions have been eliminated However, you have yet to reformat it.
For formatting the drive, enter the following command, then press Enter.
create part of pri
After you’ve created the partition, the final step is to make sure that the drive is active. To do this, type the following command, then press Enter.
The final step is to create an appropriate file system. As we discussed previously, select ‘NTFS’ for drives with up to 4GB of storage and “FAT32” for drives over that. Because the drive we’re formatting has 16GB of storage and we’ll use the file system ‘NTFS. Enter the following command then press Enter to create the file system.
format with fs=fat32
To make NTFS the file system to use, replace ‘fat32’ the command line with the word ‘NTFS’..
The process will take a while to be completed. It could take just a few minutes to get the drive formatted according to the settings you have selected. After the drive has been formatted, it will appear within File Explorer. File Explorer.
6. Disable USB Seletive Suspend Setting
If none of these solutions have worked, you should examine if the power settings in your computer is blocking your USB device from showing up. There’s a setting under the Power Options menu which cuts off the power supply for the USB drive once it’s connected, and as the drive may not show up. This is a feature to save power and, if it does not work, try reverting to the default settings.
To determine whether you are sure that the USB drive is not disabled in your power options, type “Edit power plan” in the Start menu, then click on the result of your search to open it.
The current settings for your power plan will be displayed on the screen. Click on ‘Change advanced settings for power plan’.
In the Power Options panel the ‘USB Settings’ panel, double-click to expand it, and then double-click on the ‘USB selective suspend setting’. Change both on battery as well as the ‘Plugged in’ settings to disable by selecting the drop-down menu, and then selecting “Disable” from the list of choices. Then, click “OK” at the bottom of the page to save the modifications.
After the fixes above With the above fixes, your USB drive should appear in Windows. But, be sure to move any important information stored therein to a different system on which it was formatted, and after that, format the drive on the Windows PC to avoid data loss.