Why is my TV not Reading my USB? [Step-by-Step Guide]

Most common cause is a dirty USB or an incompatible device

by Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
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Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of... read more
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  • Check the condition of your TV's USB port and if it is burnt or dirty, call for service or clean the port.
  • Update your TV firmware to make sure it's the latest version and supports your USB drive format.
  • Format the USB to FAT32 or exFAT and transfer all files to a backup location beforehand, as many TVs require these file systems.
how to fix a USB drive that doesn't work on a TV

Modern television sets enable consumers to watch videos and listen to music directly from their USB drives. Through a USB port slapped into its rear side, a smart TV lets users review the previous episodes of The Walking Dead from their external storage device.

But this type of storage stick can be problematic at times when it stops working on your TV. We’ve taken the time to dig through some of the possible solutions to this problem.

In this article

Why is my TV not Reading my USB?

The quickest way is to check your TV’s ports and make sure they are fine. In most cases, a dusty or faulty USB port is the cause of the issue. After that, update the firmware on your TV and then format your USB drive in FAT32.

Without further ado, let’s jump in and look at what we think could help get your USB working back on your TV.

What can I do if my USB drive is not working on the TV?

1. Check the condition of the USB ports on the TV

One possible cause for the USB device not working on TV is the burnt-out ports. Check the status of the USB ports on your TV and ask for a repair service from the manufacturer if the ports are in bad condition.

Also, make sure that the ports are free from dust. Sometimes, the build-up of dust on ports can cause minor problems with the connection.

2. Update the TV firmware

Another probable cause that can prevent USB devices from working properly on a TV is outdated firmware. Make sure you have installed the latest firmware on your TV.

Otherwise, look for the updated TV firmware from the manufacturer’s website and refer to the Readme file.

3. Format USB in FAT32/exFAT

Most USB drives are shipped in the NTFS file system by default. It appears that many TV brands do not support this type of format.

More often, you will need to format your USB device in FAT32 or exFAT as most TV sets require these file systems. Before you do so, be sure to transfer all the files stored in the USB drive to a backup location for later retrieval.

After you have done so, perform the following:

  1. Plug the memory stick into a USB port on a computer that runs the Windows operating system.
  2. Check if the drive has been detected and locate it in This PC.
  3. Right-click the USB drive in question and click FormatUSB
  4. Click the File system dropdown menu to see the list of file systems available and choose FAT32 or exFATUSB1
  5. Initiate the formatting by clicking Start at the bottom.
  6. The USB drive will have been wiped clean by now.
  7. Retrieve the files you transferred to backup storage and check if the USB drive now works on TV.

Note, however, that a drive formatted in FAT32 will limit the total size of files you can store to 4GB and below.

Keep in mind that if you have a USB 3.0 drive and your TV has only 2.0 ports, it might not work because of the power output of your TV.

Also, on older TV models, the USB drive won’t be automatically detected and you’ll have to open it manually. Go to your Source options on the TV and browse to USB/Media device and choose it manually.

If you know another workaround for a faulty USB device-TV connection, please let us know in the comments section below.

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