Fixed – USB Drive Not Showing Up – Windows 11/10


Is your computer not “recognizing the external drive?”  Does the “USB connected to your PC not show up?” Is the “Flash drive not detected by the PC?”

If you are struggling with any of these issues, here is a list of workable ways to fix these issues.

USB is a popular technology that allows connecting various devices to the PC. Setting it up is quite easy. However, when the USB is plugged in but does not show up, the actual struggle starts. This can happen due to several reasons such as damaged USB, outdated drivers, incorrect file system, device conflict, faulty hardware, or issues with partitions.

“BrianKindly” a user created a question on community – Various people provided a solution and most of them said as there are a no compatible drivers for this device” the problem is encountered. In this blog, you will find multiple working solutions, that will help resolve the issue.

user query on usb drive no showing up

Pinpointing the exact reason is not easy. However, by following the fixes below, you can fix the issue of the thumb drive not showing up.

What is a USB Device?

It is a peripheral device that plugs into a PC via a Universal Serial Bus port. A thumb drive, external hard disk, and pen drive are comm USB devices and are less expensive compared to hard disk drives. Also, their processing speed is faster.

What Does USB Disappearing Mean?

The connected USB stick is not appearing in File Explorer or the Disk Management section.

Reasons For External Drive Not Showing

  • The USB drive is not properly connected to the PC.
  • The USB drive is broken.
  • Unable to properly load USB software onto the system.
  • The drive may be infected by malware.
  • A low system battery might make Root hub settings unrecognize the drive.
  • Windows is out of date.
  • Hardware compatibility.
  • No partition & drive letter is assigned to the USB drive.

Read Also- How to Download And Update Lenovo USB Drivers

How To Fix USB Drive Not Showing Up?

The issue of the USB stick not showing up or the computer not recognizing the external hard drive can be fixed differently. However, before we get into the technical details, let us perform some basic troubleshooting.

Method 1 – Perform Basic USB Checks

Step 1 – Restart PC – Most errors you face on Windows result from system malfunctioning. Therefore, to fix the problem, the first step should be to restart the computer.

Step 2 – Update Windows – If restarting the PC doesn’t help, update your Windows. This will install the patches that will fix any known issues and bugs. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows + I to open Windows settings.Windows Settings
  • Click Update & Security.Update & Security
  • Windows Update > click Check for update.Click on Check for updates
  • The system will now check for available updates. If any are available, they will be automatically downloaded.
  • Download and install them to run the latest version.
  • Restart your computer to save changes.

Step 3 – Connect USB to Other Port – Corrupt or dead USB port can be why the USB device is not recognized. To check it, try connecting the USB to an alternate port and see if it helps.

Step 4 – Check if the power button is on – Some USB drives have an external power button, which, if disabled, leads to the pen drive not showing. To fix it, check if your drive has one and enable it.

Step 5 – Check the USB drive for physical damage – If the USB device you are connecting has a crack or a bed, it could be a reason for the USB stick not showing up. In this case, contact a technician.

Step 6 – Check for USB device compatibility –  Sometimes, the USB does not show up because it isn’t compatible with the PC. Using a USB 3 on a USB 2 port is common. However, some USB 3 devices need a compatible and powerful port. If you face issues with the computer not recognizing the external hard drive, you should check the device manual and compatibility information.

If these basic fixes didn’t help with PC not recognizing the external hard drive, follow the other fixes explained below.

Check This- How to Download Apple Mobile Device USB Driver for Windows 11,10,8,7

Method 2 – Assign Drive Letter

If the connected USB stick is visible in Disk Management but not in File Explorer, it means the drive is readable, but due to outdated drives, drive letter conflict, and file system errors, you are facing this error.  Below we explain the method to resolve the USB stick not showing.

  • In the Windows search bar, type My PC.
  • Select best search results > select Manage.

USB Drive Not Showing Up

  • Right-click the USB drive under Disk Management > and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.

disk management

  • Next, click Add.

add drive

  • By default, the available drive letter will be selected. Click Ok to assign it. However, if you want to assign a drive letter of your choice, choose it from the drop-down menu > and click Ok.

assign drive latter

Method 3 –  Change USB Root Hub Settings

To save power, sometimes, the system disables the connected USB. To confirm this is not the case, check and alter USB Root Hub settings.

  • Press Windows + X > select Device Manager.
  • Go to Universal Serial Bus controllers.

device manager

  • Double-click to expand it > right-click USB Root Hub (USB 3.0) > select Properties.

driver properties

  • Click the Power Management tab > and uncheck the box next to Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power. Click Ok.

usb root hub properties

  • Now try to connect the USB and see if it is readable.

Method 4 – Update USB Driver

Outdated, missing, and problematic USB drivers also cause the flash drive not to show up. To fix it, update the USB drivers.

Device drivers can be updated manually through the Device Manager built-in Windows utility, manufacturer website, or via optional updates (Windows Update). Alternatively, you use Advanced Drive Updater to update drivers automatically.

Manually updating drivers requires technical knowledge, time, and patience. Therefore, if you want a simple and effective way, use Advanced Driver Updater. Below we explain how to use the best driver updater and update outdated drivers.

  • Download and install Advanced Driver Updater.
  • To start the scan and detect outdated drivers click Start Scan Now.

advanced driver updater

  • The scanning will take a minute or so to complete. Wait for it to finish; you can update outdated drives after that.

advanced driver updater scan process

  • Analyze scan results and update drivers. The trial users must click Update Driver next to it, while the Paid users can use the Update All button.

update outdated driver

  • Wait for the driver update to install.
  • Restart the PC to apply changes.

See This- How To Download and Update Qualcomm USB Driver for Windows 10

Method 5 – Scan for Hardware Changes

After updating the drivers, whether manually or automatically, we suggest you scan for hardware changes. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows + X and select Device Manager.device manager
  • Click the Action tab > Scan for hardware changes.scan for hardware changes option
  • Windows will now look for a USB stick and hope you can see it.

Method 6 – Reinstall USB Controllers

If the USB drive is corrupt or unstable this method will help fix it.

  • Press Windows + X > select Device Manager.device manager
  • Double-click on the Universal Serial Bus controllers category and expand it.Universal Serial Bus Controllers
  • Look for the connected USB device > select it > click Uninstall device.uninstall device
    Now restart your PC. The controller driver will be automatically reinstalled, and you can see the USB drive.

Method 6 – Disable USB Selective Suspended Settings

The selective suspend settings in the power options automatically disconnect the USB and make it unrecognizable. To disable it, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows + X > select Power Options.power option setting
  • Click Additional power settings.

additional power setting

  • This will open a new window. Here, click the Change plan settings option.

power option change setting

  • Click Change advanced power settings in the next window.

advanced power setting

  • In the Power settings window, locate USB settings. Double-click on it to expand options.

usb setting

  • You will now see the USB selective suspend setting. Click on it; you will see two settings On battery and Plugged in. Disable the settings for both options.

plugin desiable

  • Click Apply > Ok to save changes.

Fix – PC No Recognizing USB Device

The above fixes will help troubleshoot USB not showing. However, if the steps didn’t, you must either replace the USB stick or format it.

Before buying a new one, if you want to format and give it a try, follow these steps:

Double-click This PC > right-click the connected USB > select Format. Click the Start button to begin the process.

format drive

This should help fix the USB drive not recognizable issue. Please let us know which method helped in fixing the problem.


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About The Author

Preeti Seth
Preeti Seth

A UX writer who loves explaining technical details in a clear, crisp, and concise manner. She loves writing about technical troubleshooting, How-To's, product reviews, etc. In her free time, she loves reading, meditating, and traveling.

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3 thoughts on “Fixed – USB Drive Not Showing Up – Windows 11/10

  1. Avatar for Sarah Jones Sarah Jones says:

    Can someone help me. When I connected my Sandisk flash drive to my computer. It showed a yellow exclamation mark and fails to show me the drive content. It is an empty drive and I have to use it. I have connected it on several USB ports, but the error seems to be the same.

  2. Sarah Jones.

    Please check what exactly is the yellow exclamation sign is about, it may be showing an error when you hover over it and later you can try to troubleshoot the error. Usually it is a driver related error hence we recommend you try and update all your USB drivers to check if it resolves the issue. You can use the Advanced Driver Updater to do the same.

  3. Avatar for Dave Dave says:

    THANK YOU! Fixed my problem by changing the root hub settings. Would not recognize a slide scanner plugged into USB before the change.

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