What to Do If Your Flash Drive Doesn't Work

By Stephen Lilley

A flash drive is a small data storage device that plugs into an open USB port on your computer. It performs the same basic functions as a writable CD or DVD in that it allows a user to back up important computer data. As opposed to a CD or DVD, however, a flash drive can store more files and is, in general, much quicker. Occasionally, a flash drive may start to give you problems. If it does, there are solutions that are sure to take care of most problems associated with a flash drive.


One solution that will fix all problems associated with a flash drive is to format it. By formatting your flash drive, you will completely erase all of the data contained on it, including any files that may contain viruses that are causing the drive to not function. Simply right click on the flash drive's icon in "My Computer" and select the "Format" button. Be aware that you will permanently lose any data you do not back up before the format.


Occasionally, your computer will consider your flash drive "in use" when in reality it isn't. This can cause data contained on the flash drive, or even the flash drive itself, to become inaccessible. To fix this, try restarting your computer. Your computer's memory cache will be cleared which will "free up" your flash drive. Once your computer reboots, you should be able to access your flash drive as normal.

Safely Remove Hardware

One thing to try when experiencing any kind of problems with a flash drive is to safely remove it from your system. Right-Click on the icon that represents your flash drive in "My Computer." Next, use your mouse to click on the "Eject" button from the menu that has appeared. This will cause the flash drive icon to disappear from "My Computer." You have safely removed it from your system. Unplug it from the USB port to which it is attached, and then plug it back in. This will fix most problems one encounters with a flash drive.

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