My PC Won't Recognize a Flash Drive

By Greyson Ferguson

A USB flash drive is a small, portable storage device that allows you to transport data between computer systems. Although usually a plug-n-play device (meaning it doesn't require a driver) a computer occasionally may not detect the flash drive. There are a few methods available to troubleshoot the problem with the computer and flash drive.

Step 1

Disconnect the flash drive from your computer, then plug it into a different USB port. On occasion some USB ports do not detect inserted equipment (either because the port is damaged or because the flash drive is not supported by the particular connection).

Step 2

Connect the flash drive after the computer has powered on. If you plug the drive into the computer before starting the system, the computer may not detect the USB device.

Step 3

Open an Internet browser and navigate to the drive manufacturer's website. Although most USB flash drives are plug-n-play, the computer may not have the appropriate drivers installed, which means you must install the driver before the system can use the flash drive.

Step 4

Select the "Support" option, then choose "Drivers and Downloads". Click on the model of flash drive you are using, then the operating system. Click on the driver download link and wait for the driver to download to the computer. Double-click the downloaded file to load the installation wizard. Accept the license agreement, then follow the prompts to install the driver. Restart the computer and the system is ready to use the USB flash drive.