By Emily / Last Updated March 10, 2022


“I have a 16GB SanDisk USB flash drive, which is only 6 months old, but it's now unusable. When I plug it in my computer, the error message “USB device not recognized. The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned…” pops out. This is probably because I impatiently pulled it out of its port before doing the usual 'Safely Remove' routine. Anyone know how to repair USB flash drive not recognized issue on Windows 10? Any help is greatly appreciated.”

USB Flash Drive Not Recognized

Causes for USB flash drive not recognized or detected

Generally speaking, many different problems can trigger this error message “USB device not recognized”. Below we summarize some major reasons.

The USB port is not working properly.

▪Virus attack or insufficient power supply of the USB ports.

▪There are bad sectors on the flash drive.

USB driver is not installed properly.

▪USB driver is out of date.

File system is corrupted.

USB device is disabled in BIOS.

6 Fixes: "USB flash drive not recognized" in Windows 10/8/7

After knowing what might lead to USB flash drive recognition problem, now you can check the corresponding suggestions on how to repair USB flash drive not recognized on Windows 10/8/7.

1. Try another USB port

No matter when your storage stick develops recognition issues or other problems such as BIOS detect USB drive but Windows does not, inserting the USB flash drive in another different port should be the first thing to do. Besides, you can run reliable anti-virus software to remove any possible virus. Or you could provide separate external power supply to the USB device in case it is the insufficient power supply that causes USB flash drive not recognized problem. If these quick methods do not solve this issue, check out the following solutions.

2. Check disk errors on the USB flash drive

To check and fix disk errors is another common solution for the recognition problem. In this case, CHKDSK command can help.

Step 1. Press the Win+ R to open Run dialogue, and type “cmd” into it and press “Enter” to open Command Prompt window.

Step 2. Type “chkdsk g: /f /r /x” in the window and press Enter to both check and fix disk errors of selected drive (where “g”: is the drive letter of USB drive).

Check Disk Error

Wait until the whole disk check process finishes and then restart your computer.

3. Uninstall and reinstall the USB driver

When the USB driver is not installed correctly, there are chances that the “USB device not recognized” error appears. So you can try to uninstall and then reinstall the USB driver to fix the problem.

Step 1. Right-click on Start menu and type in “devmgmt.msc” to enter Device Manager.

Step 2. Browse and expand “Disk Driver”, right-click the USB flash drive, and select “Uninstall”.

Uninstall Driver

Finally, restart your PC, and then Windows will attempt to reinstall the USB driver automatically.

4. Update USB driver

Besides reinstalling the USB driver, you can also update the USB driver to check if the USB not recognized issue can be fixed. This is quite easy: first open Device Manager like you do in Solution 3, right click the USB driver and select “Properties”.

Drive Properties

Then go to “Driver” tab and click “Update Driver” to update the driver software for the USB device.

Update Driver

5. Format the unrecognized USB flash drive

If you abruptly remove USB drive without selecting “safely remove hardware and eject media”, the file system will probably get damaged or becomes RAW and then result in USB device not recognized issue later. If the file system turns into RAW format, you can use the free partition manager (AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard) to format it to FAT32 or NTFS on Windows 10/8/7.

Warning: formatting will delete all data saved on the USB flash drive, if there are precious data on it, you can first recover them via data recovery software and save them on another safe place.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Download the freeware, install and launch it, right-click the RAW USB drive and select “Format Partition”.

Format RAW Partition

Step 2. Select a proper file system among the offered options, then click “OK”.

Format RAW To NTFS

Step 3. Back to the main interface, click “Apply” and “Proceed” to execute the pending operation.


Besides, you can also format RAW hard drive using Command Prompt, but it is kind of complicated.

6. Enable USB device in BIOS

The (BIOS) basic input/output system can enable and disable integrated and peripheral components installed to the board. If the USB ports aren't working, the USB controller might be disabled, then you will probably receive “USB device not recognized” message.

If that’s the case, you need to enable it in the BIOS to restore the USB port function. First of all, restart your computer and enter BIOS. Find “USB Keyboard Support” in the motherboard, then change the state from disable to enable. Finally, save the changes and exit the BIOS. Typically, the F10 key is used to save and exit.

Enable USB

When you don’t know how to repair USB flash drive not recognized issue on Windows 10/8/7, these above 6 methods are worth trying.