Windows 10 Doesn’t Recognize USB [FIX]


Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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We use USB devices on daily basis, but some Windows 10 users have reported that Windows 10 doesn’t recognize their USB devices. This can create all sorts of problems, but fortunately there is a way to fix that.

Windows 10 Doesn’t Recognize USB, What To Do?

USB problems are relatively common, and many users reported that Windows 10 doesn’t recognize USB. Speaking of USB issues, users reported the following problems as well:

  • USB not detected, not showing up Windows 10 – This is a relatively common problem, and if your USB isn’t detected or if it’s not showing, you should be able to fix that issue using one of our solutions.
  • USB drive not showing up Windows 10 – Many users reported that their USB drive isn’t showing after connecting it to their PC. If you have this problem, we strongly advise you to try the solutions from this article.
  • External hard drive not recognized Windows 10 – This issue can affect both flash drives and external hard drives. However, the solutions are the same for both flash and external hard drives.
  • Windows USB not working – If your USB is not working on Windows, the problem might be your drivers, so be sure to update them and check if that solves the problem.
  • Windows USB ports not working – Users reported that USB ports aren’t working on their Windows PC. If you have this problem, be sure to try one of the solutions from this article.

We’ve written extensively about USB issues before. Bookmark this page in case you need it later.


Fix – Windows 10 doesn’t recognize USB hard drive / USB storage

Solution 1 – Turn off Fast Startup

Sometimes, due to Fast Startup feature, your USB hard drive might not be recognized by Windows 10. This can create all sorts of problems, especially if you use USB storage to store important data.

Fortunately, you can easily fix this by following these steps:

  1. Enter control panel in the Search bar and choose Control Panel from the list of results.
    USB not detected Windows 10
  2. When Control Panel opens, go to Hardware and Sound > Power Options.
    USB drive not showing up Windows 10
  3. When Power Option opens, click on Choose what the power button does.
    External hard drive not recognized Windows 10
  4. Click Change settings that are currently unavailable.
    Windows USB not working
  5. Find Fast-Startup option and disable it.
    USB not detected
  6. Save your changes and restart your PC.

After disabling Fast Startup, your Windows 10 might start a bit slower, but all USB hard drives should be properly recognized.


Solution 2 – Update your drivers / install the default driver

Sometimes Windows 10 won’t recognize USB hard drive due to driver problems, and if that’s the case, you might want to go to the your hard drive manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers for your USB hard drive.

If that doesn’t work, you can uninstall your currently installed driver and allow Windows 10 to install the default driver. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your USB hard drive.
  2. Open Device Manager by pressing Windows Key + X and choose Device Manager from the list.
    Windows USB not working
  3. When Device Manager opens, navigate to the Disk drives section, right click your USB hard drive and choose Uninstall device.
    Windows USB ports not working
  4. After the driver has been uninstalled, restart your computer.
  5. When Windows 10 starts, connect your USB hard drive, and this time it should be recognized by Windows 10.


Solution 3 – Partition your USB storage and assign letter to it

Before Windows 10 can recognize your USB hard drive or USB storage, your USB storage has to be partitioned and it needs to have letter assigned to it. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S, type Computer Management and choose Computer Management from the list.
    Windows USB not working
  2. When Computer Management starts click Disk Management.
    Windows USB ports not working
  3. Now you need to find your USB hard drive. Easiest way to do that is to check the size of the drives in Disk Management.
    USB not detected
  4. If your USB hard drive is unpartitioned, you should see a drive with Unallocated space. Right click it and choose New Simple Volume. Follow the instructions in order to partition your hard drive.

If your USB storage is partitioned but still isn’t recognized in Windows 10, you have to make sure that it has a letter assigned to it. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Computer Management and go to Disk Management.
  2. Find your USB hard drive and right click it.
  3. Choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.
    External hard drive not recognized Windows 10
  4. Click Add and assign a letter to this partition.

We have to mention that Windows 10 can only work with NTFS and FAT32 file systems, so when you partition your hard drive, make sure that you use NTFS file system.

If you find this process too confusing, you can easily partition your drive by using a third-party application such as Paragon Partition Manager.


Solution 4 – Uninstall hidden devices from Device Manager

Sometimes, devices that aren’t recognized might be hidden in Device Manager, so let’s see how to show them and uninstall them. To do that, follow these instructions:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and type cmd. Press Enter or click OK.
    USB drive not showing up Windows 10
  2. When Command Prompt starts, paste the following lines and press Enter after each line in order to run it:
    • set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
    • cd
    • cd windowssystem32
    • start devmgmt.msc
      External hard drive not recognized Windows 10
  3. Device Manager should start. Click View and choose Show hidden devices.
    Windows USB not working
  4. Now you need to expand all sections and delete all grayed out entries.
  5. After you’ve done that, restart your PC and reconnect your USB hard drive.

Solution 5 – Delete Unrecognized device from Device Manager and assign different letter to your USB hard drive

  1. Open Device Manager and go to Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  2. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers section and find Unrecognized device. Right click it and choose Uninstall device.
  3. Click Scan for hardware changes button. Windows will not install missing drivers.
    External hard drive not recognized Windows 10
  4. Close Device Manager.
  5. Press Windows Key + S, and type Computer Management. Select Computer Management and go to Disk Management.
  6. Find your USB storage, right click it and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  7. Click Change and assign a new letter to your USB hard drive.

If you can’t find Unrecognized device in Device Manager just skip that step and try changing the assigned letter.


Use a driver removal tool to ease your life and to make sure everything gets deleted!


Solution 6 – Connect your USB hard drive to the USB ports in the back

Users have reported some issues with Seagate hard drive, and according to them, the USB hard drive isn’t recognized if it’s connected to the USB ports on the front of your computer.

Even if you don’t use Seagate hard drive, try connecting your USB hard drive to the port on the back of your computer to see if it works.

According to the users, sometimes ports on the front don’t produce enough power, so this is why it’s better to use USB ports on the back. In addition, if you have USB hub, don’t use it, and connect your USB storage directly to your computer.


Solution 7 – Replace the hard drive letter using the Diskpart tool

  1. Press Windows Key + R, and type diskpart in the Run dialog. Press Enter or click OK to run it.
    USB not showing up Windows 10
  2. Command Prompt will open. Type list volume and press Enter to run the command.
  3. Find your USB storage in the list. It shouldn’t have a drive letter assigned to it.
  4. Type select volume 2 (we used volume 2 in our example, but you need to use the volume number that matches your USB storage) and press Enter.
  5. Now type assign letter Z (or any other letter that isn’t used) and press Enter.
    USB drive not showing up Windows 10
  6. Close Command Prompt and check if your USB storage is recognized.

Solution 8 – Use USBOblivion tool

If Windows 10 doesn’t recognize your USB storage, you might want to use tool called USBOblivion. This tool removes all the traces of USB drives from your computer by cleaning your registry.