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Can't Open USB Drive on Windows 11/10 (Quick Fix)

Many users have encountered the issue that they can't open USB drive after connecting it to a computer. What causes the problem and how to fix it? Continue reading. This page offers comprehensive solutions to help you access the USB drive successfully.

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Updated on Apr 19, 2024

One of the issues that users commonly find after upgrading to Windows 11/10 is that they can't open USB drive. Updating to Windows 11/10 can be seamless, except for opening the USB drive to retrieve the required data.

I upgraded from Windows 7 to 10 without any problems except I can't open my E drive which is the USB port. The computer recognizes the USB flash drive when I insert it. Also, it is present when I go to Connected Devices in Settings. I am unable to open it due to some issue. I have the Open Folder to View Files set to Autoplay. Does anyone know how to open the E drive so I can access the files on the drive? As you can tell, I am not a computer expert. - Microsoft

 If you are in such a situation as well, this article from EaseUS will help you fix it quickly. So, jump right in, and let's fix the issue.

How to Fix Can't Open USB Drive on Windows 11/10

Whatever the reason, the following are some methods by which you can solve the problem of not opening a USB drive. Try any of the ways, depending on the cause of the issue, and you will be good to go.

#1. Insert the USB Drive into Another PC

A common reason for being unable to open your USB drive can be due to damage in the USB port of your device or a broken USB drive. To ensure that the drive or the port is in good condition, connect it to another PC or laptop.

The drive will work if the original PC's port is damaged; if it doesn't, check if it is showing on Disk Management. If not, your USB drive is broken and needs to be replaced with a new one.

If your USB drive can't even be recognized and viewed in the File Explorer, go to the following page for corresponding solutions.

#2. Assign A New USB Drive Letter

If your USB drive can be viewed in the File Explorer but still cannot be accessed, try changing your USB drive letter. You can do it through simple steps using Disk Management. 

Step 1. Search for and open "Disk Management" from the Start menu.

Step 2. A layout of partitions will appear. Now, select the USB drive and right-click on it. Click on the option "Change Drive Letter and Path."

Step 3. Select "Change" and provide the new path. Then, hit "OK" to change the drive letter.


#3. Create A Partition for the USB Drive

Creating at least one partition for your USB drive can be a solution to make it work again. Partition of your USB drive is splitting the drive into various segments, which your device will access separately. For this, follow the following steps:

Step 1. Right-click on the Start menu icon and open Disk Management. On your USB drive, right-click the unallocated part, select "New Simple Volume" and click "Next."

Step 2. Now, enter the size of the volume you wish to create or choose the maximum default size. Again, click on "Next."

Step 3. A new dialogue box appears, giving you the choice to format or not format the drive. You can choose your preferred option, select "Next," and click "Finish."


#4. Reinstall USB Controllers

Follow this method if your USB drive cannot be seen in the Disk Manager. The best solution is to reinstall the USB controllers using the steps below.

Step 1. In the Start menu, search for "Device Manager" and open it.

Step 2. Right-click on the USB Mass Storage controller and select "Uninstall" to remove it.


Step 3. Once the controllers are uninstalled, restart the computer, and the USB controllers will be reinstalled automatically. Then, check if the USB drive can be opened and work.

#5. Reformat the USB Drive

If the file system of the USB drive is not compatible with your Windows OS, you should try reformatting it to make it recognizable on your computer.

Formatting your USB drive will cause data loss. Therefore, make sure to create a backup for it before formatting the drive. 

Step 1. First, plug your drive into the USB port of your PC or laptop. This method would be helpful if you could view your drive in File Explorer.

Step 2. Once you locate your drive, right-click on it and select the "Format" option. Select another file system and start the process.

Step 3. The formatting will take a few minutes, and a reformatted USB drive will be available.

If your USB drive is not showing up in File Explorer, you can try methods on the page below to format it.

#6. Repair File System Errors

If the faulty file system is the root cause, try repairing it. For this, you can use an efficient tool like EaseUS Partition Master Free to rectify your problem effortlessly. It is an all-in-one partition manager tool with many useful features.

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One such feature is "Check File System," which scans the disk and fixes corrupted file systems. This will enable the repair of the USB drive and make it work again to access the needed data. Here's the step-by-step guide on how to use it:

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master on your computer. Then, locate the disk, right-click the partition you want to check, and choose "Advanced" > "Check File System".

choose Check Partition

Step 2. In the Check File System window, keep the "Try to fix errors if found" option selected and click "Start".

check the pop-up instructions

Step 3. The software will begin checking your partition file system on your disk. When it completes, click "Finish".

finish partition check

#7. Check Bad Sectors

You can't open the USB drive when it is corrupted or contains bad sectors. In such cases, the problem can be fixed by running the CHKDSK command: chkdsk E: /f /r /x (Replace "E" with your USB drive letter). It fixes any errors on the disk and locates and repairs bad sectors.

You can also use EaseUS Partition Master to perform an in-depth scan of bad sectors and fix the issue immediately.

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Here are the steps on how to do so:

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master. Right-click the disk that you want to check, and then click "Surface Test".

Step 2. The operation will be immediately performed and all bad sectors will be marked as red.

After getting your USB drive accessible, you might need help from the following page to recover the partition on the drive if there's data loss.


4 Steps to Recover Deleted or Lost Partition

With detailed instructions in this article, you can recover deleted or lost partitions in Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10/11 and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012. Read more >>

Why Can't I Open the USB Flash Drive

The reason for not being able to open your USB drive can be anything from a simple issue to a technical error. Whatever the reason, it is helpful to understand the problem before finding ways to fix it. The following are some of the reasons why you can't open a USB drive:

  • USB drive letter conflict. You can see your USB drive in the Windows Explorer when plugged in but without any drive letter.
  • USB drive is not partitioned. This occurs when you have a new USB drive that needs partitioning.
  • Outdated disk driver. If this is the case, you can view your USB drive in Device Manager but not in Disk Management.
  • File system is incompatible with Windows 11/10. When the formatting of your USB drive is incompatible with your Windows system, it will lead to the drive being unable to open.
  • USB RAW file system. If a dialogue box asking for the formatting of the drive appears when you open the USB drive, it has become RAW.
  • I/O device error. If an I/O error is shown when you open the drive, you will be prevented from opening it.

Once you have identified the reason, dive into the next session to get the best method for fixing this issue. Share this article so that others facing similar issues can get simple and quick solutions in no time.


Final Words

It is always better to tackle the reason for the problem first so that a suitable method can be chosen as a solution. Any of these methods, along with handy tools such as EaseUS Partition Master, can help you solve the case of being unable to open a USB drive. Additionally, EaseUS Partition Master offers many free features to help users fix errors on the drives.

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Can't Open USB Drive FAQs

If you have any more doubts about why your USB drive is not accessible, refer to the commonly asked questions below. 

1. Why can't I read my USB drive? 

You can't read your USB drive for many reasons, from the damaged drive to the corrupted file systems. Following are some of the common reasons why you can't read your USB drive: 

  • USB drive is not partitioned
  • USB drive needs a drive letter
  • Disk driver is outdated
  • Errors in the file system 
  • USB RAW file system
  • I/O device error

2. Why is my USB drive not detected?

Your USB drive will not be detected if it is broken or if the USB port of your PC or laptop is damaged. Always check it once with another device and see which factor is the issue. If it is the port, the drive will work on another device. If it is the drive, it will not be visible in the Disk Management. 

3. Can see a USB but can't access it, how to fix it? 

If you can see the USB drive on File Explorer but cannot access it, try any of the following methods to solve it: 

  • Reinstall USB controllers
  • Create a new USB drive letter
  • Reformat the drive
  • Repair file system errors 
  • Check bad sectors

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About the Author

Updated by Oliver

Oliver is an EaseUS professional writer who dares explore new areas. With a passion for solving tech issues with straightforward guides for common users, Oliver keeps honing his writing craft by developing in-depth solutions for disk and partition management, computer boot-up issues, file transfer, etc.

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