A USB flash drive could be unrecognized due to various reasons. This article will show you how to solve the issue when the flash drive is blinking but not recognized, and help you recover data from the unrecognized drive with the professional data recovery software .

Have you ever found your USB device not recognized by computer? Clearly, this is annoying because it stops you from accessing all the files and folders saved on that USB device. Wouldn't you want to work this out so you can continue using the device and regain the data?

According to the investigation, USB flash drive not recognized /USB flash drive not showing up/USB flash drive not detected is a problem that bothers many users. So, today’s topic is how to get a USB flash drive to work & how to recover data from a USB flash drive.

USB device not recognized

You should recover data from USB quickly as soon as you regain access to them; otherwise, the files & folders may be gone for good at any moment.

The most important thing you need to remember is: stay calm when you find a USB device not showing up. Then, follow these steps to repair your drive.

A calm head is a decisive factor to help you quickly get out of the woods.

Fix USB Flash Drive Not Showing Up Windows 10

The following content shows you how to fix USB device not recognized error in Windows 10. After that, you’ll be told how to recover data from USB drive.

Method 1: Uninstall USB Devices

When a USB device is inserted into a computer for the first time, the system will prompt Found New Hardware and start to install the driver.

However, if the installation process is interrupted somehow, it will lead to failure in loading USB drive normally.

How to fix:

  1. Open Device Manager .
  2. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers .
  3. Find your USB device (it may be marked with an exclamation point or shown as Unknown Device).
  4. Right click on your device and choose Uninstall Device .
  5. Click on the Uninstall button in the pop-up window.
  6. Wait a moment for the completion.
  7. Click on the Action menu and select Scan for hardware changes .
  8. Restart your computer. Disconnect and re-connect the drive to install the driver properly.

uninstall USB device

How to open and check in Disk Management:

  1. Right click on the Start button in the lower left corner of the PC screen.
  2. Choose Disk Management from the context menu.
  3. Look for your USB flash drive.
  4. The USB device would appear in Disk Management but not in Windows Explorer when the USB device has no drive letter or it becomes unallocated.
  5. Two methods to fix USB flash drive when it shows up in Disk Management but doesn’t appear in File Explorer: change drive letter and create a new partition (you should recover data from the unallocated space in advance).

USB flash drive had no drive letter

How to change drive letter in Disk Management:

  1. Right click on the USB drive.
  2. Choose Change Drive Letter and Paths .
  3. Click on the Add button.
  4. Choose a drive letter you like and click on the OK button to confirm.

How to create a partition in Disk Management:

  1. Right click on the unallocated space.
  2. Choose New Simple Volume .
  3. Keep the default value unchanged/modify them to the one you want and click on the Next button to continue.
  4. Click on the Finish button and wait a few seconds.

MiniTool Partition Wizard can also help you Change Drive Letter and Create Partition .

Well, what if you find your flash drive not showing up in disk management? Please read the following content to know how to get a computer to recognize your USB flash drive.

If this didn’t work, you should also try to unplug & re-plug the computer.

Unplugging computer is a simple solution to remove the power supply for both the computer and the motherboard. When the motherboard gets powered off, all hardware (including the USB ports) connected to the computer will be cut off. You should wait a few minutes to re-plug the power supply; then, the USB ports will be rebooted and the drivers will be reloaded, so your USB flash drive may be recognized.

  1. Shut down your computer.
  2. Unplug your computer from the wall outlet.
  3. Wait for a few minutes.
  4. Re-plug the PC into the outlet.
  5. Power on the computer to check.

Method 4: Disconnect & Re-connect USB Devices

Please do the following things:

  1. Eject the USB device from the current computer.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. Reconnect the USB flash drive to see whether it works now.
  4. If this fails, please try other USB ports on your computer.
  5. If it still doesn’t work, please try to connect the USB drive to another computer and see what happens.

Please keep reading if you still can’t see your USB flash drive.

Method 5: Enable USB Mass Storage Device

  1. Right click on the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Choose Device Manager and scroll down to find Universal Serial Bus controllers .
  3. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers by clicking on the arrow in front of it.
  4. Right click on the option – USB Mass Storage Device .
  5. Choose Enable device and wait a second until you find the icon for this option has been changed.
  6. Now, go to check whether your USB drive is recognized on PC.

Enable device

Method 6: Update the Device Driver

  1. Right click on the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Choose Device Manager .
  3. Expand Disk drives to find your USB flash drive.
  4. Choose Update driver from the right-click menu of your USB device.
  5. Decide how do you want to search for drivers and click.
  6. Complete the rest steps according to prompts.

update device drivers

Method 7: Update Driver of Generic USB Hub

  1. Open Device Manager the way you like.
  2. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers .
  3. Find Generic USB Hub and right click on it (if there is more than one Generic USB Hub, please choose the first one).
  4. Choose Update Driver from the menu.
  5. Click Browse my computer for driver software .
  6. Click Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer at the bottom.
  7. Select Generic USB Hub from the model list.
  8. Click on the Next button.
  9. Wait a few seconds.
  10. Click on the Close button when the drivers have been updated.
  11. Repeat the process for each Generic USB Hub listed.

update Generic USB Hub driver

Method 8: Disable Power Save of USB Root Hub

  1. Open Device Manager the way you like.
  2. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers .
  3. Right click on the USB Root Hub and choose Properties .
  4. Select the Power Management tab.
  5. Uncheck the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option.
  6. Click on the OK button to confirm.

change USB Root Hub settings

Method 9: Connect to PC Directly

Don't use the hub.

Many people will buy a hub when the USB ports on their computer are not enough so they can connect more USB drives to the computer. However, if there are too many USB devices connected to the same PC, some of them won’t be recognized. In this case, you should remove the hub and connect your USB flash drive to your PC directly.

Provide sufficient power supply.

Besides, the hub may not supply sufficient power supply which will also result in USB flash drive not recognized on Windows 10 or other systems. Each USB device can only work normally under certain power supply conditions.

If the USB port provides insufficient power supply, these signs will appear:

  • The USB indicator does not flash or its state is abnormal.
  • The system fails to boot as usual after the USB device was connected to the computer.
  • The content in USB device can't be accessed or the access speed is much slower than before.

You should provide a separate external power supply to the USB device.

Method 10: Use Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

  1. Press Start + I on the keyboard to open the Settings window.
  2. Choose Update and Security .
  3. Select Troubleshoot from the left side.
  4. Choose Hardware and Devices under Find and fix other problems section.
  5. Click on Run the troubleshooter button.
  6. Wait for the process to complete.

Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

Method 11: Uninstall Hidden Devices

In Device Manager, not all the devices that were installed are shown by default. It only lists the frequently used and newly installed devices. Therefore, if the USB device has a conflict with a previously installed device which doesn’t show up in Device Manager, it can’t be detected. Therefore, you should uninstall the hidden devices in order to load your USB flash drive normally.

How to view hidden devices in Device Manager:

  1. Run Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Type set DEVMGR_SHOW_DETAILS=1 and press Enter .
  3. Type set DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1 and press Enter .
  4. Type start devmgmt.msc and press Enter .

view hidden devices

How to uninstall the hidden devices:

  1. Select the View tab.
  2. Click Show hidden devices .
  3. Expand Disk drives , Portable Devices , Universal Serial Bus Controllers or another folder you think could contain the hidden device.
  4. Look for the Unknown Device or the device which is greyed out.
  5. Right click on the device and choose Uninstall Device .
  6. Click Uninstall and wait.
  7. Refresh the list or you can remove the USB flash drive from computer & connect it again to see whether it can be recognized.

uninstall hidden devices

Method 12: Format Drive to FAT32

If the USB flash drive is used on Xbox 360 when you find flash drive can't be recognized, there's a special reason why it is not detected by Xbox 360: the first partition of USB flash drive is not a FAT32 partition.

Useful Tips On Recovering Data From Xbox One Hard Drive By Yourself.

Since Xbox 360 could only recognize the USB flash drive under the condition that its first drive is formatted as FAT32, you must check the file system of USB flash drive to see whether it is FAT32. If not, please get the MiniTool Partition Wizard to help you.

Situation one : if the USB drive is formatted as NTFS , you need to convert NTFS to FAT32 by following steps:

  1. Run MiniTool Partition Wizard.
  2. Right click on your USB flash drive.
  3. Choose Convert NTFS to FAT from the right-click menu.
  4. Press Apply button in the upper left corner and choose Yes to apply changes.
  5. Wait for the process to complete.

Please note : the Convert NTFS to FAT is not available in the free edition.

Convert NTFS to FAT

Situation two : if it has another type of file system, please Format Partition to FAT32 by following steps:

  1. Run MiniTool Partition Wizard.
  2. Select your USB flash drive.
  3. Choose Partition from the menu bar.
  4. Select Format from the submenu.
  5. Choose FAT32 as the file system and click on the OK button in the Format Partition Window.
  6. Press Apply and choose Yes in the prompt window to apply changes.
  7. Wait for the operations to complete.

Format Partition

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Just high-five yourself if you solved your problem after reading the above content. However, if accidents happen while you're trying to fix the flash drive not detected problem, data saved in USB flash drive could easily be put in danger. So you must be as careful as you can.

FYI : If you can’t find your USB external hard drive after connecting it to the computer, you should get help from this page:

Fix: External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Or Recognized
Fix: External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Or Recognized

The problem – external hard drive not showing up/recognized/detected – can be fixed easily by following ways.

Read More

Other Possible Solutions

If the flash drive is not detected on any computer after trying the above methods, it may be damaged physically. Please buy a new USB flash drive to replace it.

Recover Data from USB Flash Drive Not Recognized

Get a Great Tool for USB Drive Data Recovery

The first thing you’re supposed to do is getting MiniTool Power Data Recovery, a piece of reliable data recovery software , and installing it properly on your computer that works fine. (The following content is based on Windows platform; if you’d like to recover data from USB flash drive not recognized on Mac, please resort to Stellar Data Recovery .)

Please don’t worry if you are a novice computer user; MiniTool Power Data Recovery can help you complete USB flash drive data recovery easily in time.

Free Download

How to Recover Data from USB Flash Drive

You only need to complete the following 3 steps to retrieve lost files from a USB flash drive.

Step 1 : connect your USB drive to PC. Install the software and run it immediately to see the main interface. Here, Logical Drives will be selected by default.

  • If you only have one partition on the USB flash drive, you may keep it unchanged.
  • Otherwise, you should shift to Devices at the top.

select a proper option

Step 2 : select the USB flash drive from the right-hand panel. Then, perform a full scan on it by clicking on the Scan button.

select the flash drive to scan

Step 3 : browse the scan result to pick out all the data you want to recover by adding a check mark into the square box in front of them. Then, press the Save button to set a safe storage location for the files waiting to be recovered.

adding a check mark to select files you need

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Related reading:


In a word, the USB interface makes it a breeze to exchange data among different computers and devices. But there's a great chance that you may find yourself stuck in this situation: after connecting the USB flash drive to your PC or other devices through a USB port, you disappointedly find the USB flash drive is not being recognized.

This is not a rare problem; hundreds of thousands of users are facing or have met the same situation. Therefore, I summarized 12 common methods and other possible solutions for you to fix the issue, making your USB flash drive show up on the computer and become usable again.

If you want to recover data from your USB flash drive, you can use MiniTool Power Data Recovery. More importantly, this software supports recovering files from SSD , external hard drive, SD card, and more.

USB Flash Drive Not Recognized FAQ

Why is my USB flash drive not showing up?
The most likely reason the USB flash drive doesn't display is the USB driver problem. If the driver is too outdated, damaged or missing, your device finds no way to communicate with the flash drive, so it can’t display the drive for you (the flash drive is not recognized).
How do I reinstall USB drivers?
  1. Download the latest version of driver for your USB drive. Move to the text step if it fails.
  2. Open Device Manager the way you like.
  3. Look for the device driver for your USB flash drive.
  4. Right click on it and choose Uninstall device .
  5. Click Uninstall and wait.
  6. Close Device Manager and reboot PC.
Can a broken USB flash drive be fixed?
A USB flash drive can be broken logically or physically. In the former case, you have a good chance of retrieving the lost data from the broken USB drive; while in the latter case, you have no choice but to take chance and send your drive to the professionals.
What's a code 43 for driver error?
When the code 43 occurs on your PC, you should realize Windows is informed by the graphics device driver that the certain drive is not working properly. This may be caused by lots of reasons: such as damaged/missing driver and hardware problem.

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