There can be several reasons for Flash Drives not being detected by your computer.

First your computer is not able to provide drivers for your Flash Drive. Now, for your information, you do not need to install any drivers from outside if you are using Windows 2000 SP4,Windows XP or Windows Vista as they come with native support for these devices.

If you are thinking that you are already using one of these versions of windows still your computer is not able to mount your Flash Drive. Don’t worry,that’s why I am writing this article. Just read on…

If your are not on one of these Windows version then your problem can be easily resolved by just installing the drivers which you get on a disc that comes with your Flash Drive. If you did not receive any disc,try checking out the manufacturer’s website and it should be there for sure. If still no luck,then try contacting me….

Remember, everything is explained here assuming that you are on Windows XP but need not worry as other Windows like Vista should work the same way.

Let’s come back to the topic..

There are several possible reasons for Flash Drives not mounting on your computer. Mentioned below are few of them:

Drive Letter Conflict

Flash Drive not formatted properly

Windows require some patch or update

Problem with the USB port

Physical connection problem

So, let’s start with the first one, that is, drive letter conflict.

Now, this can be the problem when you are trying to use your Flash Drive in a network environment. The best possible solution to this problem is to change the drive letter assigned to Flash Drive. This can be done by going to Disk Management and right clicking on Removable Drive and then clicking on Change Drive Letter. You can select any drive letter which is not assigned by windows to any drive or partition in any computer inside a network. Also, before changing the drive letter it’s recommended to check if your Flash Drive is showing in Device Manager under Disk Drives. If it’s not there that problem can be something else.

If changing Drive Letters does not help and drive is showing in Device Manager then probably you should try disconnecting that computer from the network by taking out the network cable or if you are inside a corporate environment then try contacting you IT deptt to know the drive letter not being used anywhere.

Let’s talk about the second scenario. If the drive is not formatted properly that means that it’s mounting up and being detected by the computer as well. It’s just would be giving a message to Format the Drive when trying to access it. This can happen if the File System has corrupted on Flash Drive or its not formatted in the supported format. For example, if you are trying to use a Flash Drive formatted in Ext2 file system in Windows Computer. The only solution to this problem is to format the drive in the supported format. For windows you should always format the drive in Fat or Fat32 and in Macintosh you should use MSDOS as this will also be supported by Windows computer. Please note formatting the Drive will ERASE all data. So, if you have any important data kindly try using a different computer to see if drive works or contact a Data Recovery company. If you want some reference kindly leave a comment.

Also, if you are not able to format the Flash Drive, please try using the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. It’s made by HP but works on generally all Flash Drives.

Now let’s talk about problems that can happen because of any updates or patches. No matter if you have the latest service pack for your Vista or XP computer. Still, there are few updates or rather say patches which need to be installed if you face any such problem.

Vista Patch

Please find the link to Vista Patch at the end of this article.

As per Microsoft the patch will fix the following issues:

” When the computer resumes from a suspend state or from a hibernation state, the computer stops responding. Additionally, you receive a “0x9F” stop message on a blue screen.

” The computer takes a long time to resume from a suspend state or from a hibernation state.

” The computer takes a long time to resume from a suspend state or from a hibernation state when you use a VIA controller.

” The computer stops responding when you use an Authentic USB fingerprint reader. Additionally, you receive a “0xFE” Stop error on a blue screen or a “0x9F” Stop error on a blue screen.

” The computer stops responding when you use a USB Bluetooth audio device.

” The computer takes a long time to resume from a suspend state or from a hibernation state when you use an Enhanced Host Controller Interface (EHCI) controller.

” The computer stops responding when you remove a USB device. Additionally, you receive a “0xFE” Stop error on a blue screen.

” When a computer resumes from a suspend state or from a hibernation state multiple times, you receive a “0xFE” Stop error on a blue screen.

So go and install this even if you are facing a different problem related to but not similar to this.

Another patch for XP Service Pack 1 is also include at the bottom.

There are chances of problems with USB ports as well which happens rarely but the possibility is still there. The best way to identify is to attach any other USB device on the same port and check if that device works or not. For Example, USB Printer. Also of you are using a Desktop and inserting the drive in some front USB port then try using some port at the back.

Here , I would like to add one more point. If you have a high capacity drive like 8 GB and you are trying to use it on an old computer then due to inadequate power support the drive may not mount properly.

Sometimes, even if the icon for Removable disc appears under My Computer,the drive may not work properly as the complete capacity will not be mounted in case of inadequate power. You can check this by right clicking on Removable Disc and then clicking on Properties. If one this window, both free and used space is showing 0 KB then this can be the possible problem. In order to fix any issues related to inadequate power supply you can purchase USB Power Hub from any computer store and attach it to the USB port. What it does is that it will convert the low power supplied by USB port to little high power.

But, remember this problem generally happens in case of old computers. Before purchasing USB power hub, you can also try the back port of your computer if you are on Desktop.

And Last but not the Least, improper physical connection is the general cause for Drives not getting detected. This may happen if USB port or connector on Flash Drive has bent or physically damaged due to which drive is not able to make a contact with pins on USB port. In this case, you should also look the inside area of port or connector and if any damage found please take it to some local technician of Drive manufacturer to get it fix.

So, this was my first article. Any feedback will be appreciated.

Thanks