How To Fix 5 Common USB Flash Drive Problems

In the early days of computing carrying your data or computer files around requires that you have a floppy disk. You can only store a little over 1MB of data on these disks which is great for storing your spreadsheet or document files.  

Today, you can easily carry around over 100GB of data with the help of a USB flash drives. These are small stick like devices that insert to a USB port of a computer that allows for the easy storage of files. If you own a computer then you might have a couple of these with you.

Using a USB flash drive is quite easy as all you need to do is to insert it into a computer then once it is recognized you can use a file explorer program to copy data to it. Sometimes though certain issues can occur which prevents the flash drive from working properly. This is what we will b addressing today as we tackle the 5 common USB flash drive problems that you can experience.

USB Flash Drive Not Recognized By Computer

When you plug in the the USB flash drive to your computer what generally happens is that it is recognized and then assigned a drive letter. Sometimes though, nothing happens when you insert the flash drive and all you get is an error message that might read “USB Device not recognized” . When this happens you should try the following troubleshooting steps listed below.

  • First and foremost restart your computer. This problem might just be caused by a Windows glitch and a restart will usually fix the problem.
  • Try inserting the flash drive in another USB port of your computer.
  • Check the flash drive on a different computer. If it can be read then the problem might be caused by a glitch in your computer probably an issue with the USB port or a driver problem. Make sure that your computer has the updated drivers installed.
  • If the flash drive isn’t recognized by the computer then you might need to format this in order for it to be detected.  You can format this from the Disk Management tool which can be accessed by pressing the Windows Key +R. Type in “diskmgmt.msc”. If the flash drive is detected then you can try to right click on it the click on Format. Take note that any data stored in this drive will be erased.

USB Flash Drive Incorrect Capacity

You try inserting your 64GB flash drive to you computer and then suddenly you notice that only 2GB, 4GB, or 16GB is recognized. Where has the other capacity gone? This is caused by an incorrect partition of the flash drive which can easily be fixed using the DISKPART tool.

  • Open a command prompt window. Make sure to run this as an Administrator.
  • Make sure that the USB flash drive is inserted in your computer.
  • Type diskpart on the command prompt. Wait until the prompt DISKPART> appears.
  • Type LIST DISK. This will show all of the disks associated with your computer.
  • Type Select DISK X where x is the number assigned to the flash drive.
  • Type DETAIL DISK. This lists the disk details so you can double check if you have selected the correct disk.
  • Type CLEAN. This removes all partitions in the selected disk.
  • Type QUIT
  • Format the USB flash drive so you can use it again.

USB Flash Drive Write Protect Error

Sometimes you are unable to write data on the flash drive due to some write protect error. If you are experiencing this issue then the first steps you should take are

  • Scan the flash drive for viruses using an anti virus software that has updated definitions.
  • Make sure that the flash drive is not full.

If your flash drive passes both steps then perform the troubleshooting steps listed below.

  • Open a command prompt
  • type DISKPART press <enter>
  • type LIST VOLUME press <enter>
  • type SELECT VOLUME X, where X is the volume number of the USB flash drive
  • you will see a prompt that the write protect has been removed
  • type EXIT press <enter>

Cannot Format USB Flash Drive

If you are unable to format the flash drive then usually this is because it is write protected. Follow the troubleshooting steps listed above to remove the write protection of the flash drive. Once this is done you can proceed with the format.
Should you need further assistance regarding your flash drive or any other computer parts and components then feel free to contact us using this form. We will gladly assist you with your concerns.