How to fix unrecognized USB drive (with pictures)

How to fix unrecognized USB drive (with pictures)
How to fix unrecognized USB drive (with pictures)
Anonim

There may be several reasons why your computer does not recognize a USB drive. This can most often be due to a pure hardware problem or a corrupted partition. The flash drive may also have been formatted on an incompatible operating system. Hopefully, you may be able to extract the files from it and then reformat it so that it is usable again.

Steps

Part 1 of 6: perform basic checks

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 1

Step 1. Check the visible damage on the USB drive

Check that its connector is not twisted and that it is not missing anything. Look closely at the inside of the connector to see if any external elements are lodged in its hollow part and clean it, if so, using a toothpick or a very cotton swab. end. If the connector of your USB key is too damaged, you will have to send it to a specialized company to recover the data it contains if it is really important to you. You can also try to fix it on your own if you are skilled.

If you find signs of corrosion or dirt on the parts that make up the connector, try stripping it with a contact cleaner. You can get them cheaply from most electronic equipment dealers. If you cannot find this product near you, moisten the end of a wooden toothpick with white alcohol vinegar and rub the connector contacts of your USB drive

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 1

Step 2. Connect the USB drive to another port on your PC

One of the USB ports on your computer may have been physically damaged. In this case, try to connect your key to one of the other available ports of your PC. If your computer detects it, you will know where the problem was coming from.

Avoid using a hub to connect your USB drives. It is preferable to insert them directly into one of the ports on your computer

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 2

Step 3. Connect the USB drive to another computer

If it works on a different computer than yours, you can deduce that there is an anomaly in the functioning of the USB hardware on your PC, which may in particular be due to the drivers for managing its peripherals. Also check on what type of computer the USB key was formatted. Computers running other operating systems may format a drive in an incompatible way. The same may be true if the architecture of the computer that formatted the drive is different from yours.

  • A Windows-based computer will not be able to access a USB flash drive that has been formatted on Mac with Apple's APFS or HFS + file systems, unless using third-party applications like Linux Reader.
  • On Windows, you will be able to install the FS-driver utility] to access disks that have been formatted with the Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4 file systems in Linux. This utility will also allow you to read discs formatted with other file systems used in Mac or Linux such as APFS, HFS or Reiser FS.
  • If the contents of a USB key were written by a computer whose architecture is different from yours (32-bit or 64-bit), it may not be readable afterwards except by a system of the same constitution as whoever formatted it. You will be able to check the architecture of your system in Windows as in Mac.
  • If the content of a USB key is encrypted, it can only be read later by the computer that performed the encryption.
Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 4

Step 4. Completely shut down and unplug your computer

Sometimes it may be necessary to restart your motherboard completely. You will need to shut down your computer and completely unplug it from its power cord. If it is a laptop, also remove its battery. This will ensure that no standby voltage is supplied to the motherboard during downtime. Leave it completely disconnected from any power source for a few minutes, then plug it back in, restart it and check if it recognizes your USB drive. If it is still not recognized, you may need to update the USB device drivers in your system or reformat it.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 5

Step 5. Make sure your PC's operating system is up to date

By installing the latest updates for Windows or your Mac, you can be sure that your computer's USB device drivers and all of its security points are at their most recent level.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 6

Step 6. Uninstall and then reinstall the drivers for the USB devices

If your computer is running Windows, you may be able to resolve problems with the operation of its USB subsystem by uninstalling its drivers and reinstalling them. Follow these steps to uninstall and reinstall the drivers for USB devices:

  • right click on the Windows start menu icon;
  • click on Device Manager;
  • expand the contents of the displayed window and double-click on Universal serial bus controllers;
  • right click on each of the listed drivers and click Uninstall the device in the context menu;
  • restart your computer to reinstall the drivers.
Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 7

Step 7. Reset your Mac's SMC circuit

This step and the one that follows only apply to computers with Macs. You may be able to solve some problems with your USB devices by resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) which is responsible for the hardware management of the system. Perform the following steps to reset this controller:

  • shut down your Mac;
  • unplug its power cord and battery if it is a laptop;
  • press and hold the power button for about 15 seconds; if you have a MacBook with an unremovable battery, press and hold the

    Shift + Ctrl + Option + Power for about 15 seconds.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 8

Step 8. Reset your Mac's non-volatile RAM

A Mac's nonvolatile RAM or NOVRAM contains a lot of information related to USB subsystems and resetting it can help you troubleshoot problems with USB devices. Follow these steps to reset your Mac's non-volatile RAM:

  • shut down your Mac;
  • restart it by simultaneously pressing the keys

    Command + Option + P + R;

  • release these keys when you hear the bell announcing the start of the device.
Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 9

Step 9. Uninstall any programs that conflict with the USB drivers

It is possible that software installed since the last correct use of your USB drives conflicts with the drivers that support them. This problem is most likely to occur if these applications come from unverified sources. To be sure, uninstall any application that may interfere with the proper functioning of the USB drivers, and then check if you can access your flash drives.

Part 2 of 6: Check the Status of a USB Flash Drive in Windows

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 10

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into your computer

You will be able to use any properly functioning USB port on your PC.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 11

Step 2. Right click on the Windows start menu

Its icon is located in the lower right corner of your screen. You will see a list of system maintenance utilities.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 12

Step 3. Click Disk Management Tools

You can use these tools to read or write to a partition, diagnose any faults, or even partition and format disks connected to the system.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 4

Step 4. Locate your USB drive

The easiest way to recognize it in a list is to read its size. It will generally be much smaller than that of other hard disk drives.

If you don't see your USB drive listed in the Disk Manager window, there will likely be a hardware problem with it or with the port it is connected to. You will need to repair your USB drive if it is physically damaged

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 5

Step 5. Check the partitioning of your USB drive

In the frame at the bottom of the Disk Manager window, you will see a list of all the drives connected to your system with, to their right, a description of their partitions. For each of the displayed scores, you should be able to read Status OK.

  • If the partition is shown as being in good condition, but not recognized, you will need to try to assign it an identification letter. It is also possible that the partition was formatted with a file system not supported by Windows. It may have been on Mac with one of the Apple APFS or HFS + formats or on Linux with Ext2, Ext3 or Ext4 systems, which Windows will not be able to access unless using a third party application.
  • If the partition displays the status unallocated, you will need to format it.

Part 3 of 6: assign a letter to a USB drive in Windows

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 15

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into an available port on your PC

You can use any port on your computer as long as it works.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 16

Step 2. Right click on the Windows start menu

Its icon is located in the lower right corner of your screen. You will see a list of system maintenance tools.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 17

Step 3. Click Disk Management Tools

You can use these tools to read or write to a partition, diagnose any faults, or even partition and format disks connected to the system.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 6

Step 4. Right click on the partition of your USB drive

If it is labeled as OK, but not recognized by Windows, it may not have been assigned an identification letter. All disks and partitions connected to Windows must be identified by a letter so that the system can access them for reading and writing.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 7

Step 5. Click Change Drive Letter and Paths

This option is displayed in the context menu that appears when you right-click on a partition listed in Disk Manager. It will allow you to assign an identification letter to your USB key so that it can be recognized and usable by the operating system.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 20

Step 6. Click Add

This option will allow you to add a new identification letter to your USB key.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 8

Step 7. Select Assign the following identification letter

This is the first option you will see displayed in the menu. Click the radio button in front of the option to select it.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 22

Step 8. Select a letter from the drop-down menu

The system will not allow you to choose a letter from those already in use. Avoid, even if they are available, to make your choice on the letters TO Where B.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 23

Step 9. Click OK

The new letter you have just chosen will be assigned to the partition of your USB drive.

If you still cannot access your flash drive after assigning it a new identification letter, you may need to format it

Part 4 of 6: Repair USB flash drive on Mac

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 24

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into a port on your Mac

You can use any available port on your computer as long as it is working.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 25

Step 2. Click on the magnifying glass icon

Macspotlight

It is located in the upper right corner of your screen. You will see your Mac's search bar appear, which will allow you to quickly find files and applications on your computer.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 26

Step 3. Find your Mac's Disk Utility

Type Disk Utility in the search bar. You will see the application appear in the search results.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 27

Step 4. Click Disk Utilities

The application icon represents a hard drive with a stethoscope superimposed on it. You will see the Disk Utility window open.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 28

Step 5. Click on your USB drive

All drives connected to your Mac are listed in the left column of the application window. You should be able to identify your USB drive by displaying its name and capacity.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 29

Step 6. Click the First Aid tab

This is the first tab displayed at the top of the screen. Its icon represents a stethoscope.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 30

Step 7. Click Run

This button is in the displayed warning dialog. This will result in running a diagnostic check for any errors that the application will attempt to correct. The most critical errors will be listed at the end of the process.

Part 5 of 6: Format USB drive in Windows

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 31

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into a port on your computer

You can use any available port on your computer as long as it is working. If the partition on your USB drive is not allocated or is not recognized after an identification letter has been assigned to it, your only solution to attempt to remedy this fault will be to format it.

  • Remember that formatting a drive or partition will erase all the data stored there. You can attempt to run a file recovery program to try to get your most important data back from the inaccessible drive, but consider that formatting will be your last resort.
Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 32

Step 2. Right click on the Windows start menu

Its icon is in the lower right corner of your screen. You will see a list of system maintenance tools.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 33

Step 3. Click Disk Management Tools

You can use these tools to read or write to a partition, diagnose its operation or even partition and format disks connected to the system.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 9

Step 4. Right click on the partition of your USB drive

You will see a pop-up menu.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 10

Step 5. Click Format

This option is found in the displayed context menu. You will see the Format Disk Wizard appear.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 36

Step 6. Enter a name for your USB drive

Type the name you want to give to your USB stick in the text entry dialog in front of Volume name. This name will be assigned to the flash drive when its formatting is complete.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 11

Step 7. Select a file system

You will be presented with a choice of three options.

  • The file system NTFS which is unique to Windows. The drives formatted in NTFS will be accessible in reading and in writing under Windows. They will only be accessible in read mode on Mac. Choose this option if you only want to use your USB drive on computers running Windows.
  • The file system FAT32, older, has the advantage of being more universal than NTFS and remains compatible with most devices capable of accepting USB keys as mass memories. Choose this option if you want to share your files between several operating systems and provided that they do not exceed a size of 4 GB. The current capacity of USB disks cannot exceed 8 TB (terabytes).
  • The file format exFAT is newer and much less limited than the previous two, but it may not be supported by older operating systems. This system has the advantage of accepting files up to 16EB (exabytes) in size. Its sources were released by Microsoft, which means that it can also be used with other operating systems such as Mac or Linux. Choose this option if you have very large files to share between newer systems and hardware.
Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 12

Step 8. Uncheck the box labeled Quick Format

The process will take much longer than if you were to do a quick format, but it may fix some problems on the drive that could not be detected otherwise.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 13

Step 9. Click the OK button and wait for the process to complete

If formatting is successful, you should be able to access your flash drive without difficulty on any computer that supports the applied file system.

If the formatting process stops before its normal completion or informs you of a series of errors, you can assume that your USB drive is really defective

Part 6 of 6: Format USB Flash Drive on Mac

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 40

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into a port on your Mac

You can use any available port on your computer as long as it is working. Remember that formatting a drive or partition will erase all the data stored there. Consider this formatting as your last resort in attempting to restore your USB drive to its original state.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 41

Step 2. Click on the magnifying glass icon

Macspotlight

It is located in the upper right corner of your screen. You will see the Spotlight search bar appear, which allows you to quickly find your files and applications on your Mac.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 42

Step 3. Find your Mac's Disk Utility

Type Disk Utility in the search bar. You will see the application appear in the search results.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 43

Step 4. Click Disk Utilities

The application icon represents a hard drive with a stethoscope superimposed on it. You will see the application window open.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 44

Step 5. Click on your USB drive

All drives connected to your Mac are listed in the left column of the application window. You should be able to identify your USB drive by displaying its name and its capacity which will be much smaller than that of a hard drive.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 45

Step 6. Click the Clear button

The icon for this button represents an eraser erasing a hard drive and is located in the center of the upper part of the window.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 46

Step 7. Give your disk a name

Type it in the space next to the caption name. It will be assigned to the drive when its reformatting is complete.

Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 47

Step 8. Select a file system

Choose it from the drop-down menu next to the title Format. You will need to choose one of the file systems offered in this menu.

  • The format APFS is the newest file system from Apple. It has been designed to be used on Flash or SSD technology hard disks as well as USB keys and it is not accessible to Windows operating systems. Only select this option if you want to share your files on computers running the most recent versions of macOS systems.
  • The format Mac OS Extended, also from the Apple brand, is older than the APFS system. This file system is also not accessible to computers running Windows. Choose this option if you only want to share the contents of your USB drives with other Mac computers, as some of them may be running older versions of macOS.
  • The format exFAT, which we described earlier, is a cross-platform file system. Choose this option if you plan to share the contents of your USB drive with different types of recent equipment and operating systems.
  • File systems listed with the label Crypt will give you the possibility to protect the contents of your flash disk with a password.
Fix an Unrecognized USB Disk Step 48

Step 9. Click the Clear button

The disc will be formatted according to the settings you selected. You should be able to access it again when the process is complete.

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