How to Fix USB Flash Drives not Showing up in Windows?

By Eileen | Updated to Home > Data Recovery Tips on November 17th, 2020

Have you ever plugged your USB flash drive or pen drive into your Windows PC, only to found that the USB drive not showing up on your computer? Sometimes, you'll get a message like "USB devices not recognized" or the similar. Why the USB flash drive or pen drive is connected but doesn't show up?

In this article, we will explain the reasons for USB drives not working on a Windows PC, which would help thumb drives, pen drives, flash drives, or even external hard drive issues. Then, you'll see the USB drive in Disk Management and Device Manager, and then access it through File Explorer.

USB drive not showing up

Take a quick look at the solutions for USB flash drives not showing up:

  • 1. Try basic tricks to access USB drives.
  • 2. Update or reinstall the USB driver.
  • 3. Troubleshoot with disk repair tools.
  • 4. Check and fix the USB drive with Disk Management.

Why is the USB drive not showing up on your Windows computer?

That hard drive issues, like a USB drive, is not showing up, are generally because of software or hardware issues. The reasons may include:

  1. Faulty power supply causes the failure of USB drive
  2. USB drive not detected for hardware connection issues
  3. USB not showing up results from device conflicts
  4. The USB flash drive won't show up due to outdated USB driver
  5. The USB device not recognized because of file system corruption

To know exactly which part is not working and causing the problem, check the following tutorial.

How to fix USB flash pen drive not showing up?

1. Basic tricks to access USB drives on a PC

For most USB flash drives, the USB port is the only resource for power and data transfer. Once the USB port on your computer is not working properly, for sure, your USB drive won't show up. So, in detail, you can try these solutions.

  • 1. Make sure your USB drive is powered on and accessible by the flashing light, physical power button, etc.
  • 2. Try the second USB port of your PC to connect this USB flash drive.
  • 3. Do not use several USB devices simultaneously on the same USB hub in case of insufficient power supplies.
  • 4. Try another PC or Mac to access this USB flash drive.

2. Update or reinstall the USB driver

Drivers provide a software interface to hardware devices, including thumb drives, external hard drives, keyboard, and mouse. So, if your computer won't pick up the connected USB devices, you can go to Device Manager to check if the driver is working or not.

  • 1. Type and search for Device Manager.
  • 2. Find your USB drive in Device Manager from the list of USB devices and then right-click on it to choose to Update Driver if available.
  • 3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  • 4. If there is no disk driver update for the USB drive, click on Uninstall Device and restart your PC, which will give your computer a fresh start to recognize USB drives.

If you can't update the USB drivers directly from your system for some reason, you can visit and download it from the manufacturer's website, like Samsung, SanDisk, Kingston, and PNY.

3. Troubleshooting the unrecognized USB drive by disk repair tool

The USB disk driver is working like a charm, but why the USB drive is not showing up on your computer? Probably, the flash drive has been damaged or corrupted while you are not aware of the problem.

  • 1. Reconnect USB drive to your PC.
  • 2. Press and hold the Windows key, then press the R key to open the dialog box.
  • 3. Type in devmgmt.msc and click OK to open Device Manager.
  • 4. Locate your USB drive, right-click on it and then choose Properties.
  • 5. Choose the Tools tab and click on Check button.

Then the built-in disk repair tool will start scanning for errors and disk corruption. When it completes, follow the onscreen instructions to fix the found problems.

4. Check the USB drive in Disk Management

If the USB drive is not showing up in My Computer, where to find it? In fact, you can check the USB drive in Disk Management where you can see all disk information like drive letter, storage capacity, and file system.

  • 1. Reconnect USB drive to your PC.
  • 2. Right-click on My Computer and choose Manage and run it as an administrator.
  • 3. Select Disk Management under Storage.

Check out the condition of your USB drive here and looking for a feasible solution by the following posts.

  1. The USB drive is shown as not initialized, how to activate and format this hard drive?
  2. The USB drive is RAW, how to fix RAW USB drive without formatting?

However, if the USB drive is not showing up in Disk Management at all, you need to go back to check the USB driver and hardware issues. Or, the USB drive might be damaged physically, and your PC is able to recognize it.

Can you recover data from a USB drive that is not recognized by your computer?

For all kinds of reasons, your USB drive may not work, or not be showing up by Windows correctly. Then, you'll fail to access the files and folders on it. But the good news is that, as long as your USB drive is detected and recognized by your computer, then you can recover lost data from the USB or Pen drive with reliable USB data recovery software.

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a professional USB drive data recovery solution. You can get lost or deleted files from USB drives when you are asked to format the USB drive, when your USB flash drive shows 0 bytes, and many other USB drive corruption situations.

Guide to recover pictures, videos, documents, music files from USB drives

  • 1. Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your computer.
  • 2. Connect the USB flash drive to the PC, and then launch iBoysoft Data Recovery.
  • 3. Check if the USB drive is detected and shows up in the software. If so, select the USB flash drive and click "Next" to scan for files and folders.
  • Recover missing files and foldersUSB from USB Pen drive
  • 4. Preview the scanning results, choose those you want to get back and click "Recover" button.
  • 5. Go through the recovered files and folders and make sure you have all the missing files back.


When a USB drive doesn't show up on your computer, the first step is to check if you have connected it well to your computer. Then, you can confirm if the USB drive is corrupted or dead in Disk Management, in case you need to recover data from the drive or replace it with a new flash drive.