USB stick is not recognized: These are your options

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta February 11, 2022
Updated 2022/02/11 at 11:02 AM

You can do a lot with the USB port on your computer. With its help, you can connect your smartphone, an external hard drive or even a drive to your PC. Or you just use it for a small data carrier. But what to do if the USB stick is not recognized. So that you are not unsuspectingly faced with this problem, we will help you.

What to do if the USB stick is not recognized?

You don’t always want to throw all your files in clouds like Google Drive or Dropbox. Either because you don’t have enough change for enough storage space, or because of privacy concerns. And without internet access, the online servers won’t do you any good either. Fortunately, there is the proven USB stick. But what to do if it doesn’t work? You can do this if your laptop or computer didn’t recognize the USB stick.

There are basically two possible reasons why your USB stick is not recognized.

  1. The USB port is not working properly.
  2. The drive is not assigned correctly.

First of all, don’t assume that your stick has a defect. Check and act.

N°1 Check your USB port

The USB port, i.e. the USB connection on your laptop or PC, may be faulty. You can check this:

  • Insert your USB stick into a different USB port on your device. In most cases, not all ports are defective at the same time.
  • Check if your USB port driver is working properly: To do this, connect another USB device to your laptop or PC. If this is running, your USB stick is not recognized for another reason.

N°2 Check the drive

Your USB port is ok? Maybe the drive letter is to blame. Check if the letter is already in use by other hardware:

  • Select “Computer” or “This PC” in the start menu or go directly to “Control Panel” – the designation varies depending on the device and operating system.
  • Select Administrative Tools, then Computer Management, and finally Disk Management. If the USB stick appears there, it will also be recognized. Then it is only not visible in the desktop area. The drive letter is used by other hardware, such as an external hard drive.
  • To access your USB stick, you need to change the drive letter. Click on the drive letter of the USB stick and select the sub-item “Change drive letter and paths”.
  • Now a window will appear in which you have to go to “Change”.
  • In the next window you can assign a new drive letter to the stick.
  • Confirm with OK and you’re done! Your USB stick should now be recognized.

Click on “Computer Management” to find your USB stick.

Photo: futurezone/Screenshot


Your USB stick should appear under “Disk Management”.

Photo: futurezone/Screenshot

Can a USB stick be repaired?

If none of these solutions help you, the data carrier is most likely defective. In this case you can format it. To do this, open Windows Explorer, right-click on the USB stick and then click on “Format…”. If even that doesn’t work, you can still send the stick to the appropriate repair workshops, but depending on the problem, your data will probably be lost.

Don’t worry about your USB stick

As with any technical problem, the same applies to unrecognized USB sticks: Don’t panic. Take your time to check whether your USB port is OK and the drive letter is still free. That often leads to the goal.

By the way, stranger USB cables are your next malware threat. Better not touch her. If you want to be absolutely sure, it is best to encrypt your USB stick. In any case, you can benefit from the flash memory industry crash.

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