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    Specialist of Customer Service Dept.
 

Summary

Receive notification like "USB device not recognized", "You need to format the disk before you can use it", etc when connecting USB devices or using USB devices. How to fix this problem? Follow us to find out the possible reason and its solution here!


Reasons of USB memory device not recognized or detected could be various. We could divide such reasons into 3 main types: system configuration, physical problems and data integrity. Different reason will require different solution.
Here we listed situations that most computer users have met and provide the related solution. Please find the related or possible situation you have met from the following (Methods are compatible with Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP/2K):
failed to detect external hard disk

Ⅱ. Data Integrity Leads to USB Device not Recognized in Windows 10/8/7

You may receive the following notifications when connecting or using USB memory devices:
failed to read word file
require to format the disk
fail to read file
Attention: If the problem you have met did not match the listed in “System Configuration” and “Data Integrity”, it could be “Physical Problem”.

Ⅲ. Physical Problem Leads to USB Device not Recognized in Windows 10/8/7

Ⅰ. System Configuration Leads to USB Device not Recognized in Windows 10/8/7

Situation 1: Most common – New USB removable hard drive is not recognized after connected to computer

Q

Situation:
Brand-new removable hard disk can not be recognized by computer after connected to PC with external hard disk enclosure. Also, there is not any notification.

A

Analysis:
Here, we do not think it is the problem of physical problem. Most new hard disk will not be initialized or partitioned when go out. As a result, system will not recognized the disk when users connect it to computer.

Solution

Please follow steps below (Steps are the same in Windows 2K/XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10)
Step 1: Press Win + R button. Please enter “diskmgmt.msc” in the pop-up window.
enter diskmgmt.msc in run
Step 2: Please find whether there is a disk which is marked with “Not initialized” in the Disk Management. If yes, please follow the steps below. If not, please try other solutions, like Disk driver is not installed, physical problem, etc.
disk not initialized
Step 3: Right click the disk which has not been initialized and then select “Initialize the disk”.
initialize disk
Step 4: Click “OK” in the pop up window. Then the disk status will be changed to “Online”.
Do not know the difference between MBR and GPT? Click Knowledge of Partition Table: Differences between GPT & MBR to get detailed information.
disk unknown not initialized 3
Step 5: Right-click the disk in blank space and select “New Partition”. Then please follow the guidance to finish the settings.

Situation 2. Windows notifies that “You don’t currently have permission to access this folder”

Q

Situation:
Take off a hard disk from old computer or other’s PC. Connect the disk to another PC to access data inside. Then you may receive the notification as following.

A

Analysis:
This problem could be caused by the permission settings which was set in the previous machine. When connecting this disk to another computer, users can not access data inside because of lack of permission.

Solution

Normally, we can solve it by clicking “Continue” and then follow the guidance to set up. But sometimes, we need to make some settings before we can get access to the data inside: change the permission of the target folder. Here we go:
Step 1: Right click the target folder and select “Properties” in the menu.
Step 2: Go to “Security” and click “Edit” button.
edit account
Step 3: Click “ADD…” button in the pop up window.
add new account
Step 4: Enter current user name. Click “Check name” button and it will correct the object name. Please select target account name.
confirm new added account
Step 5: Check “Full control” and then “Apply”. After all these steps, you can read and write to this folder.
permission settings

Situation 3: Windows notifies that “USB device not recognized”

Q

Situation:
Receive the notification of “USB device not recognized” after connecting the brand new USB memory device to computer with external disk enclosure. And an USB device with “!” could be found in Device Management.

A

Analysis:
This problem could be caused by the poor Windows supports the of the data transfer chips in disk enclosure or Microsoft has not authenticate the chip. To solve this problem, we need to install the disk enclosure driver provided by the manufacturer.

Solution

Download and install the related driver. If you could not find the related one, please try the following steps:
Step 1: Press Win + R button. Please enter “devmgmt.msc” in the pop-up window.
enter device management
Step 2: Please find an USB device with “!” in “Universal Serial Bus controllers”.
unknow usb device
Step 3: Right click the unknown USB device and select “Update Driver Software” in the menu.
update driver software for unknow usb device
Step 4: Choose “Search automatically for updated driver software” in the pop-up window.
update usb driver automatically
Attention: Please make sure the Windows Update works before going through these steps. If you have disable this function with the methods in “Do not want to Update to Windows 10 Spring Creator? 4 Solutions are here!“, please enable the Windows Update function with the following steps:
Step 1: Press Win + R button. Please enter “services.msc” in the pop-up window.
enter services.msc in run
Step 2: Find “Windows Update” and click “Enable”.
enable windows update

Situation 4: No notification – USB devices has been disable and can not access (Including Windows and BIOS settings)

Q

Situation:
Computer does not have any reaction after connecting the USB memory device. And could not find any USB device with “!” with steps in Situation 3. Besides, other USB memory devices could not be recognized as well. But the USB memory device works normally in other computers.

A

Analysis:
This problem could be caused by abandon of the automatic USB devices installation service or disable the USB port in BIOS. These could be set by the company manger for providing a better data security in office.

Solution

Normally, modifying the registry could solve this problem. But if your computer manager locks the use of USB memory devices with third party software (like locking USB ports with Renee USB Block), there isn’t any solution. You need to ask the manager for permission.
Steps of Modifying the registry:
Step 1: Press Win + R button. Please enter “regedit” in the pop-up window.
enter regedit in run
Step 2: Find the value of start by the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR
start value
Step 3: If the value of Start is 4, please double click “Start” and change the value to be 3.
change the start value
Step 4: Restart the computer. Then you can use your USB memory device without limitation.
If you still can not use the USB memory device, it may means that your USB ports have been disable in BIOS. Please follow the steps below to enable the USB ports.
Step 1: Refer to your manual for how to enter BIOS of your computer.

If you do not have the manual, please click here to find how to change the boot order of your computer brand.

usb configuration
Step 2: Find “Integrated Peripherals” after entering BIOS. Set “USB Controller” and “USB 2.0 Controller” to be “Enable”.
enable usb in settings in BIOS
If all these methods can not solve the problem, the use of USB memory devices could be locked with third party software like locking USB ports with Renee USB Block. Click “How to Disable USB Ports” to find more information.

Situation 5: Windows ask to format the disk – Windows does not support the file system of External disk (USB device was used in Mac OS/Linux/Unix)

Situation

USB memory devices works normally in original system like Mac OS, Linux and Unix. But Windows requires to format this device after connect.

Analysis

The file system in Mac OS/Linux/Unix are different from that in Windows (Windows uses File system in FAT and NTFS). Mac OS uses HFS. Linux uses file system in Ext series. However, Windows does not support such kind of file systems. And we need to install other third party software to solve this problem in Windows.
require to format the disk

Solution

Solution 1:If your USB memory device was used in Mac OS, you need to install freeware – HFSExplorer.
HFSExplorer
Solution 2: If your USB memory device was used in Linux or Unix, you need to install freeware –ext2explore.
ext2explore

Situation 6: Insufficient power supply make USB device can not work continuously

Situation

USB memory devices can not be recognized or suddenly fails to recognize after a while. Or you may not receive any notification but the icon of the USB disk disappear from notification area or “Computer”. And you may receive the notification as following:
usb ports are not working
usb connetion logo disappear

Analysis

If computer can detect your USB memory device, it means that the connection and driver work well. Reasons could be the connection between computer and the disk which is loose even break. Or it could be caused by the insufficient power supply.

Solution

Users can first try to connect the disk to computer with another cable. And solutions below are for insufficient power supply.
Solution 1: Connect disk to a blue USB port with flash sign.
  • USB port with flash sign means it will provide stronger power output even computer shuts down. Normal USB port can provide maximum 500mA while USB port with flash sign can reach 1000mA.
  • 2.5 inch removal HDD with 500GB requires 500mA power and 2.5 inch removal HDD requires about 700mA power.
  • If the USB removal HDD you used is in 3.5 inch, it needs external power supply.
usb port with flash sign
Solution 2: Get stronger power supply with dual USB cable.
If you can not find blue USB port with flash sign and your hard disk does not equip external power supply instrument, you can purchase a dual USB cable like the image below. Such kind of cable has 2 USB connectors. One USB connector is for power supply and data transfer and the other is only for power supply. With this 2 USB connectors, USB removal disk can get better power supply.

Attention: Please check the compatibility of device connector before purchase.

dual usb cable
Solution 3: Modify the system configuration to enhance power supply.
Step 1: Press Win + R button. Please enter “devmgmt.msc” in the pop-up window.
enter device management
Step 2: Find “USB Root Hub” in “Universal Serial Bus controllers” in the pop-up window.
find usb root hub
Step 3: Right click “USB Root Hub” and select “Properties” in the menu.
select properties of USB root hub
Step 4: Do not check the item “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” in Power Management.
enable Windows to shutdown this function

Situation 7: Being used by other software and Windows can not get access to it

Q

Situation:
Do not have any notification after connecting the USB disk to computer. And there is not any new external device in “Computer”. But new device could be found in “Device management”.

A

Analysis:
Some software like virtual machine will use the USB memory device once it connected to computer. Once we stick at such situation, please shutdown the virtual software or disconnect the USB memory devices in settings of virtual machine.

Solution

Here we take VMware as an example:
Please make it step by step: click “VM” and then select “Removable Device”. Select the target USB memory device and select “Disconnect” in the menu. Then you can use the USB device normally in PC.
disconnect usb disk in vmware

Ⅱ. Data Integrity Leads to USB Device not Recognized in Windows 10/8/7

Situation 1: Windows asks “You need to format the disk in drive X: before you can use it” or “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable”.

Situation

USB memory device worked normally but after a while and re-connection, Windows pops up a notification of “You need to format the disk in drive X: before you can use it.”.
require to format the disk
fail to read file

Analysis

This could be caused by the damaged partition information in USB memory device. And lead to Windows detection failure (Failed to read the partition information and then can not load the file system drive to access files inside).
3 main reasons cause such kind of information damages:
1). Did not remove the USB memory device from computer correctly.
2). Store the USB memory device with strong magnetic material.
3). Bad sector in USB memory device.

Solution

Normally, we can fix the disk with chkdsk command. However, chkdsk will abandon or save files or data which it thinks can not be recovered to be new files like Found.000, Found 001. Some will be saved in XXXX.chk format. This behavior could be regarded as writing data into disk, which could overwritten the lost of important data. Even you use other professional data recovery software, you can not find these overwritten data back.
If you just want to fix the USB memory devices and do not want to find back data inside, please follow steps below to run chksk.
Step 1: Press “Start” and then type “command prompt”. Right-click the result and then choose “Run as administrator”.
run cmd
Step 2: Enter “chkntfs” and the drive letter accordingly.
type c to check the c disk
Attention:
If you saved important data in the USB memory device or chkdsk can not recover the disk, it is worth to try professional data recovery software – Renee Undeleter. Download free version here.
press to the download button
download button mac5
image creation function in renee undeleter

Recover Data from USB Memory Device with Renee Undeleter

Step 1: (optional) If you can hear noise when the USB memory device running, or you think your USB memory device will fail soon, we strongly recommend you to create image for it as soon as possible. Click “Image Creation” in Renee Undeleter, select target disk and click “Create”.
confirm to create disk image
Step 2: Click “Whole Partition”. This can mode can recover as much as files from corrupted disk.
partition recovery
Step 3: Select target USB memory device in the list and start to scan. If you have create the image before, please click “Load Image” button to select the target image file.
load the created image
You can format the target USB memory device after recovery.

Situation 2: No notification and the disk shows to be “Not initialized” in disk management

Situation

USB memory worked normally but after a while and reconnection, Windows failed to recognize the disk and did not have any notification. But we can find the USB memory device was marked as “Not Initialized” in Disk Management.

Analysis

Reason is quite similar to Situation 1. This problem is caused by the partition table damage of USB memory device.

Solution

Windows does not provide solution to fix partition table damage at present. If you do not need to recover data inside, please repartition the disk by following steps in “New USB removable hard drive is not recognized after connected to computer“.
If we want to recover data from the disk, we need to make use of some third-party software.

Here, we recommend freeware testdisk (https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk)
Download link:https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download
Guidance: https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step

test disk
If you think it is annoying, you can also scan the disk and recover data from it with professional data recovery software – Renee Undeleter. Simple and easy to use.
press to the download button
download button mac5
Launch Renee Undeleter and select “Whole Disk Scan”. Find and recover data in the scan result.
renee undeleter
recovering from disk in undeleter disk scan

Situation 3: There are lots of bad sector in USB devices, leads to detection failure

Q

Situation:
USB disk fails to be recognized constantly. Recognition failure still happens even you try to solve it with methods above.

A

Analysis:
This could be caused by the bad sectors in the USB memory device.
What is bad sector?
Bad sector is a place where disk can not save data. There are two types of bad sectors. One is soft bad sector caused by disk format and it could be repaired via format the disk again. However, disk format will erase all data inside the disk. The other one is hard bad sector known as physical damage, which means these sectors can not save any data. If there are lots of bad sectors in the disk, the disk will fail sooner or later.

So we should use the USB hard disk with care and do not move them at will or even shake it.

Solution

Here, we will illustrate “how to recover disk from soft bad sector”.
Step 1: Right-click the target disk in “Computer” and select “Properties”.
properties of usb disk
Step 2: Go to “Tools” tab in the pop up window and click “Check now…” button.
run check to find erros in storage device
Step 3: Check item “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors”. And then click “Start” to process the recovery.
Notice: This item will be checked automatically in Windows 10.
check disk

Ⅲ. Physical Problem Leads to USB Device not Recognized in Windows 10/8/7

When we need to determine whether it is the physical problem which leads to USB device not recognized in Windows, we need to pay attention to the power light and sound of the disk after powering on.

Situation 1: Poor contact leads to USB devices recognition failure

The most common physical reason for USB memory device detection failure is the connection pins have oxic horizon after a long-time of no-use. As a result, the disk will not be powered on.
USB memory device connects to computer via 3 connecting points.
a. Pins in USB connector of USB memory device
Pins in USB connector help to transfer data via different devices. We can remove the oxic horizon from pins in USB connector via the following 3 methods:
1. [Recommended] Eraser
2. Pencil.
3. Alcohol cotton ball (Please wait it to be dried before using the device.)
b. USB ports and connectors of cable
To remove the oxic horizon from pins of USB ports and connectors of cable, we can make use of the Alcohol cotton ball. Please power off the computer beforehand.
dual usb cable
usb port2

Situation 2: Wrong connection of the Front USB ports

Q

Situation:
Computer can not recognized anything and the battery light of the disk enclosure does not light which means the disk is not power up. And it does not make sound like reading data after connect if it is a HDD.

A

Analysis and solution:
Possible reasons for these situation:
1. The front USB ports did not connect to main board when building the PC. If yes, please connect the USB memory device to the USB ports behind the main board.
2. The USB cable does not work. Please replace the cable directly.

Situation 3: USB devices fails

Q

Situation:
Computer fails to recognize the removable memory device after connect. And the disk keeps silent without working.

A

Analysis:
We focus on HDD here. We can find whether the HDD works normally via the sound. Of course, this could be caused by the damaged disk enclosure. You can connect the HDD to compute with another disk enclosure for testing.

Solution

Users can only to purchase a new hard disk.
If it is the physical problem which lead to the disk detection failure, user is hard to find. Sometimes, we can make the decision by checking the power indicator, hard disk working sound, etc. Also we could exclude problem by replacing other components like data cable, other hard disk.