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What to Do when your USB Drive is Not Showing Up on Windows



Compared with SSD and HDD, USB (Universal Serial Bus) drive has the edge on portability, large capacity, reliability, and high-cost performance. Hence, as one of the main storage media, USB is widely used in daily life. However, it is annoying when you plug a USB into your Windows PC but find the USB drive not showing up.

When you can’t find the inserted drive in File Explorer where it should be, you can not access the data stored on it. And this post is right for you to get out of the issue and avoid data loss. Move on to know the possible causes and effective remedies for the USB not showing up issue.

Why Does not the USB Drive Show up

When a USB fails to show up on your Windows computer, the problem may lie in the USB itself or the computer. There are some common causes listed below, which may offer you some insights on what is the reason for your case.

  • Hardware connection issue
  • Physical damage
  • Outdated disk driver 
  • USB drive is unallocated
  • Drive letter conflicts
  • Corrupted file system

How to Fix USB not Showing up

Although the USB drive does not show up in Windows File Explorer, it may show up in Disk Management, which lists all detected drives. Therefore, the first step is to check your USB drive in Disk Management to see if it has been successfully detected.

  • To view the USB drive in Disk Management, you can press Windows Key + R.
  • Type diskmgmt. msc
  • Then tap the Enter key to open Disk Management.
  • After you enter Disk Management, search for your USB from the list.

Depending on whether your USB drive is displayed in Disk Management, the corresponding remedies are different to deal with the problem that the USB drive is not showing up on Windows. Keep reading to know the details.

Scenario 1. USB drive displays in Disk Management

Most Windows users may encounter the situation that a USB drive doesn’t appear in File Explorer but Disk Management. It tells that the computer could detect the connected USB drive but could not show it up in File Explorer due to some errors. Follow the following ways to get rid of this problem:

Update or reinstall disk driver


An outdated disk driver on your Windows PC will also result in failing to show up the inserted USB drive. Therefore, update or reinstall the disk driver to see whether it works. 

  1. Click on This PC > Properties > Device Manager.
  2. Click Disk Driver to expand it and locate your USB drive.
  3. Click the drive and choose Update driver > Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. If there is no update available, re-click the USB drive and choose Uninstall Device, then restart your PC. After the computer restarts, the disk driver will be reinstalled. 

Assign a new letter

In the case that your USB drive shares the same letter with another volume on the computer, then a conflict exists, making the USB drive disappear on your Windows. Thus, renaming the drive to remove the conflict may help. 

  1. Run Disk Management on your computer.
  2. Locate the USB disk drive, right-click it and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  3. In the pop-up dialogue, click Change to assign a new letter to the USB drive.
  4. Click OK to finalize the change.

Create partitions

Perhaps you see the USB drive shown as unallocated in Disk Management. It means that the disk space does not belong to any partition, so you need to partition the USB drive to use it normally.

  • Open Disk Management, right-click on the unallocated USB drive, and select the New Simply Value option.
  • Click Next and follow the guide to specify the volume size, assign the drive letter, and choose the File System you want.

Format the USB drive


In the event that the file system of the USB drive is incompatible with Windows OS, or the file system is corrupted, it may lead to the USB drive not being accessible on Windows 10 and not showing up.

Formatting can fix the error of the file system and bring the drive back to track. But you should also know that it will erase all the data on the drive. Therefore, try iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows to rescue your files as many as possible. Then right-click on your USB drive in Disk Management and select Format to format the drive.

Scenario 2. USB drive can’t display in Disk Management

If your USB doesn’t appear in File Explorer or Disk Management, it means the USB drive hasn’t been detected by the computer. To troubleshoot this error, there are several proven methods. Just try them one by one.

Check connections

It may be the USB ports on your computer that make the drive doesn’t work. Check the compatibility between the ports and the USB drive. Besides, replug the drive into another port to confirm if the previous one is malfunctioning. Then, connect the drive to another computer to see whether the drive shows up.

If you use a USB adapter or a hub, make sure there is enough power. Or remove the adapter/hub to directly insert the drive into the device.

Repair physical damages

Unluckily, the above methods could not solve the problem of the USB drive not showing up, it is highly likely the drive is physically damaged such as overheating and heavy drop. In this way, you should seek help from a technician in local repair to rescue the drive and your data.



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