Fix Nothing Happens When Plug in USB Flash Drive

If nothing happens when plug in your USB flash drive through the USB port on a Windows PC/laptop, you need professional help. This article provides you with easy and clear steps to make your computer recognize the USB device properly.

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16 May 2024

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Nothing Happens When I Plugged in USB

"Nothing happens when I plug my USB flash drive into the USB port. It's showing up nowhere and Windows doesn't even prompt any error message. How can I find or open my USB drive in this case?"

Let's clarify that solutions to such an invisible USB device problem on this page vary from those of computers not detecting or recognizing a USB flash drive, which is usually with some supplementary information. The informative messages are as follows.

Since this problem is different from the above situation, what should you do when you encounter this problem? On this page, we list some valid solutions. But at first, we will introduce the reason why nothing happens on your computer when a USB is plugged in.

What're the reasons

Human errors and hardware issues are taken as two major reasons why your USB fails to work fine like it used to do. Let's check the more detailed reasons.

1. Human errors

This one is a common mistake that users usually make. The USB device was abruptly unplugged without safely ejecting at the last time it was used on the computer. This would result in the external hard drive not being recognized after unplugging.

2. Hardware issues

The hardware issue is a pretty wild concept. The most common hardware issues include the following ones:

  • The USB drive is broken and dead
  • There's a problem with the USB port
  • There is a problem with the USB driver
  • The USB drive isn't properly formatted

4 Fixes You Must Try to Solve Nothing Happens When Plug USB

Please follow our advice to fix the issue 'nothing happens when plugging in USB'. It will save you a great deal of time and energy to exclude the unaffected factors, identify the real causes and make your USB flash drive show up in Windows Explorer, Windows Disk Management, and Windows Device Manager eventually.

Method 1. Uninstall Unknown Device

The first method is to use the Windows built-in tool to uninstall your USB device first and have a retry. Here are the detailed steps:

Step 1. With your USB device plugged in, go to "Start/Search" on Windows PC and type devmgmt.msc.

Step 2. Under "Universal Serial Bus Controllers", do you see an Unknown Device? if so, right-click it and "Uninstall" it, remove the device from the computer and restart the computer. 

Step 3. Once you log in, plug in the device and you should get new hardware found.

Method 2. Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

You can also try the Windows troubleshooter to get rid of the problem. Here's the detailed guide:

Step 1. If you are using Windows 10, go to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot and then select "Hardware and Devices."

Step 2. The troubleshooter will open and start scanning your computer automatically. When the process is finished, you would receive a troubleshooting report listing all the problems and whether or not it was fixed.

Step 3. Click "Next" and follow the instruction to fix the problem. 

Method 3. Disable Power Management

Most computers have multiple root hubs, for you to share the data bus between multiple devices. Therefore, if nothing happens when you plug in the USB, you can try to repair the USB root hub.

Step 1. Open Device Manager. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers option.

Step 2. Find the USB Root Hub under this category. Right-click it and choose Properties.

Step 3. Go to the Power Management tab and uncheck the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" option. Then click OK to save your change.

Method 4. Restore the System to An Earlier State

Restoring the system to an earlier state could bring your USB back to work again in an old system, however, the saved data and installed apps after this point would be erased. To make this essential step 100% secure without doing further damage, continue with the guide below.

1. Download EaseUS free backup software on your computer.
2. Choose a backup option as you want. It's highly suggested to perform a disk/partition backup and system backup.
3. Save your backup image to a safe location where you can reach it easily. All in all, keep it safe.
4. Now, go to "Start/Search" and type the control panel.
5. Click "System and Security" -> "Backup and Restore" -> "Restore files from backup" (unless you turned on the system backup option in Windows).

Wait for some time, and this will restore your Windows to a previous version where your USB can be correctly recognized by your PC and laptop!

6. Don't forget to restore data from the backup via EaseUS Todo Backup.

Bonus Tip: Recover Lost Data from Corrupted USB

You may find some other answers aside from the mentioned methods here, such as formatting the USB drive using cmd or reinstalling the OS. Both manners would also cause a complete data loss. In case you didn't create backups beforehand, make the last effort to recover the formatted drive and recover data after system restore/reset/reinstall by using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

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Step 1. Choose the USB drive to scan

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and choose your USB drive where you lost important files. Click "Scan for lost data" to start.

select the USB drive

Step 2. Check and preview USB drive data

When the scanning is finished, you can quickly locate a specific type of file by using the Filter feature as well as the Search option.

Scan and find lost flash drive files

Step 3. Restore flash drive data

After checking and finding lost USB drive files, click "Recover" to restore them. You shall save the found files to a safe location on your PC rather than to your USB drive.

💡Tip: You can restore data on the local disks, external hard drives, and also the cloud storage.

Restore lost files from USB drive

Video Tutorial to Recover Data from USB Drive

  • Updated by

    Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization. …
  • Written by

    Jean is recognized as one of the most professional writers in EaseUS. She has kept improving her writing skills over the past 10 years and helped millions of her readers solve their tech problems on PC, Mac, and iOS devices. …
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