Fixed: USB Flash Drive not Showing Up in Windows 10/8/7

Tracy King updated on Sep 06, 2019 to Resource | How-to Articles


A USB drive not showing up in Windows is one of the commonest issues related to external storage devices. USB drive not showing up in Windows may result from various causes. We will show you the symptoms, causes and corresponding fixes for the issue and provide you the useful way to recover data from your USB drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

USB Flash Drive

USB Drive Not Showing Up in Windows

"I’ve tried all the methods I can think of to connect this USB flash drive to my PC, but my computer still does not show up any signals of the drive. All of my projects from this semester are stored on the drive, how can I get to my files?!” 

Many users, including you now, have found their USB flash drive or external hard drive not showing up on their Windows PC. Before indicating the possible reasons for this issue, I'd like to know what your specific situation is. Generally, when you say your USB drive is showing up, you mean it disappears from File Explorer. Is your USB drive not showing up in Windows File Explorer but can be seen in Disk Management? Or Is it missing from both Windows File Explorer and Disk Management? To make it clear, go to "This PC" > "Manage" > "Disk Management" and check whether your USB drive shows up. Specify your situation and choose the corresponding tips to follow:

USB Drive Not Showing Up in File Explorer But in Disk Management
USB Drive Not Showing Up in File Explorer and Disk Management

Since there are many reasons why a USB will not be detected by a PC, we offer a number of solutions. Follow these methods and get your missing USB drive back without losing any data. If you are a Mac user, having the same problem, follow this page to fix USB flash drive not showing up on Mac with ease.

Fixes for USB Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 10 File Explorer Only

If your USB drive shows up in Disk Management, it means Windows can still detect your drive. But due to some reasons, the USB cannot show up in File Explorer as expected. The reasons are:

  • USB driver issues
  • Drive letter conflicts
  • File system errors

The solutions vary based on the causes but all detailed below. Follow to fix your problematic USB with ease.

Situation 1. USB Drive Not Showing Up Due to USB Driver Issues

If there is something wrong with your USB driver, the USB drive will not show up in Windows 10 File Explorer and may show up as unallocated space under Disk Management. When your USB flash drive or USB external hard drive is unallocated space because of driver errors, follow the methods below to make it usable again.

Method 1. Update USB Drive Driver

Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive or external hard drive to PC, right-click on "This PC" (in Windows 10) and choose "Properties".

Step 2. Click "Device Manager" then expand “Disk drives”. Find and right-click the problematic USB drive and select "Update driver"

Step 3. Click "automatically search for driver software online".

Step 4. Wait for the driver to be updated, then reboot your computer. Afterward, you can try to reconnect your USB drive to PC and check whether the USB drive shows up or not.

Fix USB drive not showing up in Windows 10 -  Update Driver

This method can also be helpful in solving disk-related issues like "The system cannot find the file specified"

Method 2. Reinstall Disk Driver for USB Drive to Make It Show Up on PC Again

Step 1. Right-click "This PC" and choose "Properties" > "Devices Manager".

Step 2. Click on "Disk drives", right-click on your USB drive that is not showing up in Windows 10 and choose "Uninstall device". (Make sure you have selected the correct USB device.)

Step 3. In the prompt asking you to confirm the removal, click "OK". (Wait patiently and let the process finish. If it takes too long, you can remove the USB flash drive from the PC.)

Step 4. Restart your computer and reconnect the USB flash drive/external hard drive to the PC. After the computer restarts, the driver will be automatically installed.

Fix USB drive not showing up in Windows 10 -  Reinstall Driver

Method 3. Recover Data and Create New Partitions

If your USB still won't show up in Windows 10 and show up as unallocated space in Disk Management after updating or reinstalling the driver, you are recommended to recover data from your USB drive and then create new partition to make it ready for data storage.

If the USB shows up in Disk Management, but you’re unable to open the drive. It is time to use recovery software to get back your data. To recover files from unallocated space, you can use the hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. EaseUS data recovery software will help you recover files from your USB drive that shows up as unallocated effectively. It allows you to restore data from an inaccessible, RAW, or formatted USB drive and other storage devices with a few simple clicks. You can download it now and follow the guidance provided below to restore data from your USB flash drive easily.

Generally, unallocated space will show up as lost partition in EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Select the correct partition and then start the scanning process.

To recover data from the USB drive:

Step 1. Run USB data recovery software.

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software on your PC. Select your USB drive which marks as a removable disk, and click "Scan" to start finding your lost files.

Select USB to scan and find lost files

Step 2. Scan all lost files from USB.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it. After the scanning process,  use the Filter feature to filter a specific file type. You can check and preview found USB files in this program.

Scan USB drive to find lost files

Step 3. Restore all lost files from USB.

A double-click will allow you to preview the file results. Choose the target files and click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost USB data
Do You Need Specialized Data Recovery Services?
You may need further help for tough data loss situations like reformatting drive, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual recovery service. They could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:
1. Unformat the drive
2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk or operating system
3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

After retrieving your precious file, now you can create new partitions on your storage device and make it usable again.

To create new partitions on the USB drive:

Step 1. Go to "This PC", right-click it and choose "Manage" > "Disk Management".

Step 2. Right-click the unallocated space and choose "New Simple Volume".

Step 3. Follow the wizard to finish the remaining process.

Fix USB drive not showing up in Windows 10 -  Create New Volume

Now your USB drive should show up in Windows as usual. You can copy the files you recovered back to your USB according to your needs.

Situation 2. USB Not Showing Up in Windows Due to Drive Letter Conflicts

If the drive letter of your USB drive is the same as one of the drive letters of your computer hard disk partition, you won't be able to see it in Windows File Explorer. Besides, you will see the drive has no drive letter in Disk Management. Actually, it's quite simple to solve the problem in such a case. You only need to assign a new drive letter to your USB drive.

Step 1. Go to "This PC", right-click it and choose "Manage" > "Disk Management".

Step 2. Right-click the volume on your USB flash drive/external hard drive and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths".

Step 3. In the new window, click "Change".

Step 4. Assign a new drive letter to your USB and click "OK".

Fix USB drive not showing up - change drive letter

Situation 3. USB Not Showing Up in Windows Due to File System Errors

If your USB flash drive or external hard drive has file system errors, you will see your device show up as RAW and your device will become inaccessible. Here the file system error refers to an unsupported file system by Windows or damaged file system caused by misoperations or improper formatting. To repair hard drive with file system errors, the best way is to format the drive to convert RAW to NTFS or FAT32. By doing so, you assign a new file system to your device and then you can use it as you like.

But hold on.

When you format your USB drive, all data will be deleted. Since the USB drive shows up in Disk Management, you can use EaseUS data recovery software to get all of the data off the drive before you format it. The software also supports RAW device recovery. Thus, follow the article about how to recover data from RAW USB drive to rescue your data in advance.

After getting all data back, you need to format the USB drive to convert the file system back to NTFS or another Windows-compatible file system, which allows you to store data again.

Step 1. Right-click on the "Start" icon > Type computer management > click on "Computer Management". 

Step 2. Click "Disk Management" in the bar on the left-hand side, then find the device in the drive viewer.

Step 3. Right-click on the USB flash drive, select "Format" to directly format the USB drive to make it usable.

USB drive not showing up - format the USB

In order to avoid data loss trouble, it's highly recommended for you to perform USB data recovery to restore data from the RAW USB drive. But if you've already formatted, don't worry, this data recovery software can help you restore data before or after formatting the USB flash drive.

Fixes for USB Not Showing Up in Windows File Explorer and Disk Management

If your USB is not showing up in Windows File Explorer and Disk Management simultaneously, the reasons could be:

  • USB driver issues
  • USB port/cable error
  • Physical corruptions of USB

Situation 1. Driver Issues

Whether the USB drive shows up in Disk Management or not, the USB not showing up issue caused by problematic device drivers can be potentially solved by updating or reinstalling the USB driver. For the detailed steps, you can refer to the first two methods in the last part.

Situation 2. USB Connection Failure

Connection failure may be the root cause. It's a hardware problem that you can easily identify by checking the USB connection. Generally, there is more than one USB port on your computer. Try other ones on the same computer, switch from the front USB ports to the rear USB ports, or connect your USB drive to another computer and check whether the problem remains. Similarly, you can also change another USB cable if you are using an external hard drive.

Situation 3. Physical Corruptions

If the tips above fail to fix your USB drive that is not showing up in Windows, it's highly likely there is physical damage or corruption on your USB flash drive or external hard drive. This is the toughest situation and the only suggestion for you is to send the USB drive for manual repair.

The Bottom Line

When a USB flash drive does not show up on your Windows PC, it means that the computer has failed to read the USB drive. Therefore, in order to get a USB drive to show up, we must make the USB readable again. There are many methods for you to make an unrecognized USB drive to show up on PC: update USB flash driver, change drive letter, use Windows’s built-in disk management tool to detect the USB and more. Hope one of them can be helpful to fix your USB drive.


100% of people found this article helpful.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

Related Articles

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.