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Troubleshooting: Flash Drive Fails to Be Recognized

By Elsie Wesley, Monday, Dec. 05, 2016

This post has been updated in April 28, 2018. 

Summary: This post will show you how to fix USB falsh drive can't be recognized problem. Besides, you'll also find out the best way to recover lost or deleted data from USB flash drive if you suffer data loss on your external hard disk. 

You can send files to the computer by connecting the flash drive to the computer. But sometimes you may have the popup which says "USB device not recognized", indicating that the USB device you connected to the computer malfunctions, and the Windows does not recognize it. In this guide, we will explain the scenarios, diagnose the reasons and offer troubleshooting aiming to flash drive failing to be recognized.

Part 1: Scenarios When the Flash Drive Fails to Be Recognized

Before fixing flash drive non-recognized problem, you need to make sure that the root cause is analyzed and the proper issue is determined. There are about five scenarios that users could face. They are listed below:

1.USB ports are not working.

2.USB drivers are not updated.

3.OS is not updated.

4.USB drive is malfunctioning.

5.USB firmware is corrupted.

Part 2: Reasons for Flash Drive Non-recognized Issue

Reason 1. USB Formatting Issue

USB formatting issue should be the most commonplace reason for flash drive non-recognized issue. If you are not able to format the drive before the first use and the error message says that the formatting could not be finished, then the flash drive can fail to be recognized.

Reason 2. Drivers Issue

If the parallel port drivers are either not available or need to be updated, then the flash drive may not be recognized and there should be troubles of connecting the flash drive.

Reason 3. Hard Driver Related Problems

The flash drive non-recognized issue can also be caused by the non-working hard drive of the OS and the related system

Reason 4. OS Related Issues

If you do not update the OS timely, the flash drive can also fail to be recognized. Then you will need to update the system.

Reason 5. Port Related Issues

This could be both the hardware and software. If the flash drive is not recognized by the parallel ports, you can ask for professional advises.

Part 3: Methods to Fix the "Flash Drive Non-recognized" Problem

Method 1. Scan for USB Issues

Step 1. Insert the drive into the USB port of the system.

Insert USB

Step 2. Right click the removable disk in the "My Computer" section. Then click and open "Properties".

Right Click

Step 3. Go to the "Tools" section. Then click "Check now".

Step 4. Check the options "Automatically fix the system errors" and "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors". Then click the "Start" button to go on.

Check Disk Option

Method 2. Reformatting the USB

Step 1. Right click the drive and select the format option.

Quick Format

Step 2. Format the USB with NTFS other than FAT32 or vice versa.

FAT 32 Default

Method 3. Update the Drivers

Step 1. Access the run command and then enter "devmgmt.msc".


Step 2. Then you will proceed to the device manager. And you need to locate Universal Serial Bus controllers.

Universal Serial Bus Controllers

Step 3. Click "Universal Serial Bus controllers" to expand branches of it. Then rit-clicked and the option to update the driver should be selected to resolve the issue.

Generic USB Hub

Method 4. Updating OS

Step 1. Go Control Panel > System and Security.

System and Security

Step 2. Locate and select "Check for Updates" under the Windows Update section.

Check for Updates

Step 3. Click the "Install updates" button. Then the OS will be updated.

Install Updates

Part 4: What to Do When You Lose Data from USB Flash Drive?

With above methods, you may finally get your flash drive recognized. But some of the users reported that even though they can access the USB drive normally, some of the files are just gone, without any error message prompted. Other cases such as virus attack, accidentally deleting files or formatting flash drive will also cause data loss. So what will you do if you lose important data from USB flash drive? A data recovery app will help. You can follow steps below to recover deleted files from USB flash drive with FonePaw Data Recovery, a professional USB recovery tool that will help you retrieve lose data easily.

Step 1: Download and install FonePaw Data Recovery software on your computer and then launch it.


Step 2: Insert your USB flash drive to PC and the app will detect it on the "Removable Drive" list.

Step 3: On the homepage of the FonePaw Data Recovery, you can choose the data types as well as the disk you want to recover data from (in this case, select your USB flash drive). Then click on the "Scan" button to continue.

Select Recovering File Types

Step 4: The app will quick scan your flash drive by default, which takes only a few seconds. When the scanning is done, you can check the result and look for the lost data on the hard drive. If you cannot find out the deleted data, you should turn to "Deep Scan" and try to scan your drive in a deeply way.

Tips: After the deep scan process, you will see an eye icon on the top right corner. Click on it and you can sort out the deleted items only

Preview Deleted Files

Step 5: Select the deleted data and click on the "Recover" button to get them back on your computer.

Recover Selected Files

If you have any problem when fixing the flash drive not recognized error or recovering deleted data on USB flash drive, just write it down on the comment box below!

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