Why Is My USB Flash Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 11?
Have you ever encountered this problem: You plug a USB flash drive or pen drive into your Windows PC, only to find that the USB drive is not showing up on your computer. Occasionally, you'll get a message like "USB device not recognized" or similar. It makes the USB drive inaccessible and you cannot open files stored on the drive.
Before we start fixing it, you must understand the possible causes of this error:
- Wrong file system that is incompatible with Windows PCs.
- The USB drive is physically damaged.
- Outdated software and drivers.
- Hardware connection issues.
- Drive letter conflicts.
Preliminary Checks on Your USB Flash Drive
Before making other fixes, it's time to do some simple checks to prevent the problem from being with the hardware itself.
💥Check that your USB device is on. Some USB drives have an external power button that, if disabled, the drive will not show up in Windows.
💥Confirm USB availability. The current USB may be damaged without your knowledge, try plugging it into another computer and see if it shows up.
💥Restart the computer. Many a time, the USB drive may not be showing up due to a glitch or minor bug that could be fixed by a simple restart. Restart the computer and check if the drive shows up.
How to Fix USB Drive Not Showing Up Issue in Windows 11
While it's hard to pinpoint the exact reason why your USB device not recognized by Windows 11 computer, you can try every possible solution until it works again.
Method 1. Check for Device Compatibility
If your USB drive doesn't work with your computer, it won't show up when plugged in. In a Windows PC, most USB 3 devices can be connected to a USB 2 port, which shouldn't be much of a problem.
However, as technology improves, USB 3 devices may require more powerful and compatible ports to work. Check your device's instruction manual or packaging for compatibility information before trying again.
Method 2. Check for Windows Updates
Keeping your Windows 11 PC up to date is critical. Because new Windows updates may include fixes for faulty USB ports or faulty devices, as well as general usability improvements. To check for Windows Updates on Windows 11, follow the steps below:
- Press Windows + I to open Settings.
- In Settings, navigate to Windows Update, then click the Check for updates button.
- Windows 11 will check for any available updates and download them.
- To check for driver updates, click Advanced options -> Optional updates.
- If any driver update is available, select it and click on the Download & install button.
Method 3. Update or Reinstall the USB Driver
Another thing you can do is ensure that your USB drivers are up to date. You can quickly update or reinstall your USB drivers to fix the USB drive not showing up issue. This works when your USB drive doesn't show up in File Explorer but shows up as unallocated space in Disk Management.
- Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager.
- Scroll through the Device Manager tree menu and expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section. Right-click each entry and select Uninstall device.
- Restart your PC, and Windows should automatically reinstall fresh drivers for that device during the reboot.
- If the USB flash drive still doesn't show up in Windows 11, you can choose to update the driver in step 2 to see if that fixes the issue.
Method 4. Assign a Drive Letter to the USB Flash Drive
If the USB drive appears in Disk Management but not in File Explorer, it may be because the drive has not been assigned a drive letter. However, before we assign a drive letter, check for a blue bar on top of the drive. If so, it's likely the drive letter is causing the USB drive not to show up on Windows 11 and it can be easily fixed.
When the bar at the top of the drive is black, it means the space on it has not been allocated and you can move on to the next method to fix it. Let’s see how to assign a drive letter to the USB flash drive on Windows 11.
- Right-click on the Start button and select Disk Management from the list.
- Right-click on the USB drive, and select Change Drive Letter and Paths from the context menu.
- Next, click Add to add a new drive letter or path for your USB flash drive. The available drive letter will be selected by default and you can click on OK to assign it. In case you want to choose a different drive letter, click on the drop-down menu, select the one of choice, and then click on OK.
Method 5. Create A New Volume for The USB Drive
As discussed in the previous fix, if the USB drive has a black bar at the top, its space has not been allocated and may be the reason for the USB drive not showing up in Windows 11. To fix it, you just need to follow the steps below to allocate space or create a simple volume.
- Right-click on the unallocated space where the drive is listed at the bottom and select New Simple Volume from the context menu. The New Simple Volume Wizard window will launch. Click on Next to proceed.
- Next, choose the maximum size for the simple volume and click on Next at the bottom.
- Now, choose the desired drive letter and then click on Next at the bottom.
- Then choose a File System for the drive and enter a Volume label for it. Click on Next to proceed.
⛔Note: If you are using a USB drive with more than 4 GB of storage space on Windows, the NTFS file system is recommended. For drives smaller than that, use the FAT32 file system.
- Finally, verify the settings that you have selected for the format, and click on Finish to apply them. Once you have created a new simple volume, the drive should appear in the File Explorer.
Method 6. Disable USB Selective Suspend Feature
If none of the above fixes work, check to see if the power settings on your system are preventing the USB drive from showing up. There is a setting in Power Options that cuts power to a USB drive when it is plugged in, so it might not show up. Follow the steps below to disable the USB selective suspend option on Windows 11:
- Open the Start menu and type edit power plan. Select the top result.
- Next, click the Change advanced power settings option.
- In Power Options, expand USB settings and change the USB selective suspend setting option to Disabled.
- Then click Apply and OK. Finally, restart your PC to apply these changes.
Backup USB Flash Drive Files to Prevent Data Loss
USB flash drives are the most commonly used portable storage devices by users. Because they are usually small and easy to carry. However, there are often some problems in the process of use. The USB not showing up in Windows 11 mentioned in this article is just one of the common problems. Sometimes you even need to format the disk before using it.
Given the high frequency we use USB, it is recommended that you regularly back up files on the USB to avoid accidental loss of files. AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free backup software to protect system & data. You can use it to backup files from different storage devices such as USB flash drive, SD card, SSD, HDD, cloud drives, NAS, etc.
You can use it to create automatic backup tasks to run backups to prevent you from duplicating work and save a lot of time. It can safeguard the operating system with system backup, and recover computer from system crash or ransomware.
Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
If you decide to create a cloud backup, cloud storage may be a big problem for you, since almost all cloud drives only provide you with a few GB of free cloud storage. To get enough cloud storage, try the Cloud Backup feature.
It enables you to backup folders to AOMEI Cloud, a cloud drive released by AOMEI Tech, which offers you 1TB of free cloud storage from the time you sign up AOMEI account until 15 days.
If your USB flash drive is not showing up in Windows 11, you can refer to this article to fix it. These methods also work for Windows 10. After solving this problem, it is recommended that you create a regular backup of your USB to protect the data on it.
The free backup software described in this article is worth checking out. It not only protects your data in an all-round way but also protects your system. You can also use it to create bootable media to help you start your computer in the event of a system crash. Also, you can use it to deploy 11 Windows image by USB.