Jun 24, 2007

When Your Computer Won't Recognize Your Flash Drive

If your Windows XP computer is not recognizing your flash drive, its likely that you computer simply is confused as to what drive letter to assign to the memory stick. Fortunately, the fix is a simple one. This trick also works when your computer refuses to recognize a USB drive or other removable storage device.

First, hit Windows+E to open an Explorer window.

Select “My Computer.”

Right click and choose “Manage” from the contextual menu. This will open a window called “Computer Management.”

Select “Disk Management”, which is under “Storage”

On the bottom right side of the window, you’ll see a list of all of the storage devices currently attached to the computer. If your flash drive is listed there, that’s great—you can fix the problem. If not, this solution won’t work.

Right click on the drive listed in that window. This will bring up a contextual menu. Choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths.”

This will bring up yet another window, which will show your “missing” drive. Choose “Change” at the bottom.

Another window will pop up. This one will have a drop down menu on the right hand side. Choose a letter “higher” than the one currently assigned to the drive. If it’s “E”, for example, choose a letter between “F” and “Z.” Its probably best to pick one toward the end of the alphabet.

Once you’ve selected a drive letter, a warning message will come up saying that “Changing The Drive Letter of a Volume Might Cause Programs No Longer To run.”

That’s OK. It’s likely that all you’ve got on the drive is data. Click on Yes.

That will return you to the Computer Management Window.

Your drive now should function properly.

73 comments:

bitterfly2die said...

Worked perfectly, thank you!

Anonymous said...

This worked great! Thank you!

Marj said...

i know this is an older post.... but i've added it to my knowledgebase.

thank you so much for this tidbit!

~Marj ^_^

Anonymous said...

wow, i wish i read this a long long time ago!! thanks so much for the post! worked perfectly!

Jurriaan said...

Thank YOU!
I was so confused, but you made me feel all powerful again!

You're the hero of the day for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks you just help our store stop wasting tons of CD-Rs!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot, worked like a charm!

Cory

Kalorama Terrace said...

Like the previous contributer, I know this is an older post, but you just saved me from pulling out my hair! It turns out I'm the one who screwed that up when I added a wireless hard drive to my network and assigned it as the E: Drive. I don't have any idea how long it would have taken me to figure that out without your help! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Didn't work for me. Did not let me change drive.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic...works great. Thought I'd have to get the IT numbskulls on the case!!

Thanks
Colin

Anonymous said...

Worked great.
Thank you!

J

Matt said...

Worked perfectly

Anonymous said...

Oh my God this solved my problem! Thank you sooooooo much!
I tried everything and this was my last resort, I really needed the data on the drive, too.
You're a total God!
--
Sonia

Anonymous said...

This worked for me, too!! I was going crazy! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It didn't work, I still need help. After clicking Disk management it did not show up. Do you have any suggestions? Thanx.

Sam said...

Freaking access rights. I hate.

On a side note, you need administrative rights on the computer in order to access disk management.

John said...

What if it says the drive is unformatted (even though it's full of files ) and asks me if I want to format it? Should I choose 'yes'? Will I lose all of my files if I do? Thanks

Dan said...

Thanks! This is exactly what I needed.

julieagne said...

I was able to change my drive letter. Yet when I went to open the flash drive, it told me to insert one - the original error message. It appears that something is loading because a green light is flashing on my flash drive, and there is a green bar at the top of the my computer screen that shows some sort of loading progress. Any advice on next steps?

Nedeljko said...

Thhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaannnnkkkkkssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Have had this problem a while, this fixed it.

Karen said...

Than you so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much!!! This worked great!

Jose said...

I have a tip for people who have Sandisk Flash Drives. When you go to the U3 thingy in where it says that it works and it doesnt, Right click and pick open then it will have at least three items. Click the one that looks like a CD. Hope this kind of helped though you will have to go to computer and click manage then at least 3 things should show up then do every thing I typed above.

Anonymous said...

Dang it, The Change button is sealed. What should i do?

Anonymous said...

Boy I must be really dumb because I don't even know how to find Windows + E

Anonymous said...

Worked great thank you!

Anonymous said...

what if your flash drive isnt listed, as you previously stated? mine is not listed, and the solution to that problem was not adressed in this archive. what can i do?

Patrick said...

This didn't work but I noticed that it showed the drive as unallocated. Once I formatted the flash drive it worked perfectly!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! This worked perfectly!!!

Lokit said...

hi all,must restart your system after that it work properly and for more information you visit USB Encryption,

Anonymous said...

Thank you, it worked great.

I remember going through this process a long long time ago with another USB drive, but I completely forgot how I did it.

Great step by step instructions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very very much for this short tutorial!!! =)

Bonnie said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

LokIT said...

nice blog !

Anonymous said...

What if your flash drive is not in the list? Do you have a fix for that? Drive worked this am... daughter used it on a mac.... now the pc won't recognize it.

LokIT said...

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Graham said...

Thanks for the life saving assistance! Im not technically gifted so thanks. it worked first time. i cannot always get my head around flash drives and have been given a promotional usb memory even though its a great pressy from work i couldnt use it.

Squirrel Girl said...

Worked great on my new Gateway FX I just purchased. None of the drives were showing up and I only changed one - Drive G to P and they all are showing up. Great tip, I was about to go buy a card reader! Thank you!!!!!

Joan Biese said...

Thank you for the great, easy-to-understand instructions. I'm glad I could fix it on my own, without having to bother our Tech managers!

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Logo USB Drives said...

Hi all,

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dsprague23 said...

Ok so ive done all this and when i click assign letter or whatever, it says that i dont have the latest version of the disk management console view, ive refreshed like it said. ive restardted disk management like it said. and ive restarted the computer like it said. and it still say that it isnt updated. im very mad because i have a lot of important things on the usb and i dont want to reformat it and loose them. what do i do..?

Anonymous said...

Didn't work at all. It still wont open the media on the flashdrive. I want the stuff on there. All this did was change it from an E to a different letter.

buntyross said...

I have got an old usb drive which is not recognised by my lappie , i just thought it was dead as this usb drive was not recognised by any computer. I might try this on it today.i got it as a part of Promotional USB drive campaign from my company.

One of a Billion said...

Thanks for this post, but it didn't work for me. I can get as far as you've explained here, but then an error pops up saying "The Parameter is incorrect"

Anonymous said...

Hi, If your flash drive is recognized but you cannot view it, also check INternet Explorer. If it also gives an error, then run MalwareBytes or some anti-spyware and do an in-depth scan. Restart your PC after removing the worm and it will work again.

Anonymous said...

2011 sept

Worked great I used the windows tweakui thing to stop autorun what a disaster

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Super sweet! Worked, and so perfect on the directions. You left NOTHING out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much this saved me a lot of work. I needed the drive.

Daniel Mack said...

The usb is NOT listed as a recognized device. Is there a different approach? All other usb work fine.

r4i said...

It could be happened with my system once. But after few days, it had been resolved itself. I don't know what are causes of of this problem. But i have got it after read your article and users comments.

Anonymous said...

Didn't work for me :/

jackson said...

Had problem with pc not recognizing just one of my jump drives. Finally realized I had installed a Locrosse Wireless Weather station. The remote transmitter looks just like a jump drive and plugs into my usb port. I removed the transmitter and my jump drive works great now. But in order to use that drive, I still have to unplug the transmitter. I have 4 other jumps and have no problems with any of them. Hope this might help someone.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! This worked quickly and easily and i really appreciated where you said if it wouldn't work if you couldn't see your drive!

Very easy to understand and complete instructions thanks again!!

Anonymous said...

The "change drive letter" is grayed. So what should I do?

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Duplication said...

Thanks for the share on your blog.

Replicator said...

That's bad. How to avoid such situation first in place?

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USB Drives Problem said...

Than you so much for the wonderful tips. I think this is a normall problem for the USB Drives. Right now am at office so I will do that at home thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I do not have my flash drive listed there. It won't recognize it so it won't show up in My Computer, right? I am out of ideas. My USB worked perfectly fine until today.

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