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How to Fix USB Drive Not Accessible on Windows 10?

Updated on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


How to Fix USB Drive Not Accessible on Windows 10?

Summary: This tutorial will explain why the USB drive is not accessible, and provide 8 proven methods to fix it on Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP.

USB drive is not accessible on Windows 10


Table of Contents:

USB flash drive, a common storage device, is used widely in our life. It is small and easy to carry with large capacity and reliable performance. With it, you can not only store various files but also easily transfer files between two computers and laptops

What if an error notification says your disk is not accessible after you inserted a USB into your computer? Relax! It is the most common issue that most computer users have ever encountered. There are proven methods to fix it.

What does USB is not accessible mean?

If a USB flash drive is not accessible on Windows 10, it means you can not open the disk and access files as usual. Any read and write operations can not perform.

When a "USB is not accessible" error displays, it is usually accompanied by the following messages on your computer:

  • Access is denied.
  • You need to format the disk in drive xx before you can use it.
  • The volume does not contain a recognized file system.
  • You don't currently have permission to access this folder.
  • The request could not be performed because of an I/O Device Error.

access is denied

Why a USB drive is not accessible on Windows 10?

Before fixing the error, let's take a look at the possible reasons why a USB drive becomes inaccessible on Windows 10/8/7 or earlier Windows operating systems.

  • The file system is corrupted.
  • The disk driver is outdated.
  • A brand-new USB drive hasn't been partitioned.
  • A USB drive is ejected or unplugged improperly.
  • The USB does not have a drive letter or share a common drive letter with another partition.
  • The current file system is not compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7.
  • Virus infection or malware attacks.
  • Physical damage to the USB drive.

How to fix USB is not accessible on Windows 10?

In the first place, you can perform some basic checks to troubleshoot. You can check the USB port by inserting the USB into another port on the same computer or another computer. If you use a USB hub, check whether there is enough power to connect a USB to the computer.

Case1.USB drive displays in File Explorer when is not accessible

If the USB drive shows up in File Explorer but is not accessible, the problems may relate to authority, drive name, bad sectors, and incompatible file systems. Try the following methods to fix the inaccessible USB.

Windows file explorer

Modify the Ownership of the inaccessible USB drive

  • 1. Right-click on the inaccessible USB drive and choose Properties.
  • 2. Select the Security Tab.
  • 3. Under Group or user names, choose your account name to check if you have permission to access the USB drive.
  • 4. Select the files you want to get back and then click Recover.

If you don't have permission to access the USB drive, go to the next method.

Add Authenticated User to the inaccessible USB drive

Besides, you can also add an authenticated user to gain the access to the USB files.

  • 1. Right-click on the inaccessible USB drive and choose Properties.
  • 2. Select the Security Tab.
  • 3. Click on Edit. The Permissions box will appear.
  • 4. Click on Add button to continue.
  • 5. Add a new user named Authenticated User and click on OK.
  • 6. Tick the Allow box after the Full control option.
  • 7. Click on Apply then OK.

add authenticated user to USB

Check USB drive error

As mentioned above, bad sectors can also make a USB flash drive inaccessible. Running chkdsk command on Windows can check and repair bad sectors on a drive.

Option 1: Go to Properties > Tools > Check Now.

Option 2: Run chkdsk /r.

  • 1. Type cmd into the search box from the Start menu and press Enter.
  • 2. Enter chkdsk /r *: in the pop-up window and press Enter. For example, if the inaccessible USB drive is disk G, enter chkdsk /r g:
  • 3. After that, it will pop up a window, check Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. Click Start to complete these operations.
  • 4. Wait for the system to automatically repair it.
  • 5. Reboot your Windows 10 computer and try to access the USB drive.

chkdsk command

Reformat the USB

If the file system of the USB is incompatible with the operating system, you can not open the disk on Windows 10. You will be suggested to format the USB to a compatible file system. On Windows 10, you can format external hard drive like USB with Disk Management and Diskpart.

However, formatting will erase all the data from the USB. Try professional data recovery software - iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows to rescue the files on the USB flash drive as much as possible.

format inaccessible drive in Disk Management

Case2. USB drive displays in Disk Management when is not accessible

When you cannot find the USB drive in File Explorer, you can check whether it displays in Disk Management. To open Disk Management, click Start and type diskmgmt.msc in the search bar, and hit ENTER. If the USB shows there, then it indicates that the drive got corrupted or there is an error in the disk.

Rename the USB flash drive

If there is a not proper name on the USB, or it shares the same name with another drive on the computer, it will also make the USB inaccessible. Try to rename the USB flash drive to see whether you can access the USB normally.

  • 1. Press Windows + R simultaneously, input diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter to open Disk Management.
  • 2. Locate the USB disk partition, right-click it and choose Change Drive Letter and Path...
  • 3. In the pop-up window, click Change and assign a new drive letter to the partition.

rename USB flash drive

Create partitions on the USB drive

If there is no partition on the USB drive, it will display in Disk Management rather than File Explorer. It will show as unallocated space. Then, using Disk Management to create new partitions on the USB can solve the inaccessible issue.

  • 1. Right-click on the external hard drive (often marked Unallocated space) and select the New Simply Value option.
  • 2. Click Next and follow the wizard to specify the volume size, assign the drive letter, and choose the File System you want.

create partition on USB

Case 3. USB drive doesn't show up in File Explorer and Disk Management

Unluckily, you fail to find the USB either in File Explorer or Disk Management. In this way, try to update the disk driver, see whether it works.

To update disk driver:

  • 1. Right-click on Start, click Device Manager.
  • 2. Expand the Disk driver and locate the USB which cannot be found in Disk Management.
  • 3. Right-click on the disk and select Update Driver Software from the context menu.
  • 4. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

update disk driver

Hopefully, you can fix the USB drive not accessible on Windows 10 error and access files seamlessly through the methods. If still failed, this inaccessible USB drive may be physically damaged and you need to send it to a local reparation service.

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