USB Flash Disk not appearing in Explorer

By PSLog ยท 50 replies
Aug 7, 2003
  1. Hi - not sure if this is the right forum.
    When I plug my USB Flash Disk into a USB port, it seems like it connects correctly and it appears in Device Manager (XP Pro)
    the new drive letter does NOT appear in Explorer.
    What am I missing?

  2. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    You are missing the drivers. Go to the site that has the drivers for the files.
  3. PSLog

    PSLog TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    You MAY be right...
    BUT I connected this same Flash Disk to an older, W2K, computer a couple of weeks ago and it either didn't need special drivers OR it loaded it's own.
    Is XP different in this regard?
  4. PSLog

    PSLog TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Just checked the Flash Disk site (EagleTec) and the device is Driver-less for Win 2000/ME/XP.
    What else could cause this?
  5. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Disk damaged or corrupted somehow?
  6. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Right click on "Your Computer" & choose "Manage". Go into the Disk manager. See if the Flashdisk appears there. If it does, see if you can assign it a letter.

    If you use NTFS on your partitions, you could even choose to mount the flashdisk under a directory rather then give it a drive letter.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    XP, 2000 & Me will assign generic mass storage drivers to any USB storage device.. I've yet to see one that doesn't get autodetected.
  8. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    I had that same exact problem with the same type of device last night - I had to reboot to get the drive letter to appear. You tried the simple stuff yet?

  9. PSLog

    PSLog TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

  10. peterhaar

    peterhaar TS Rookie

    I'm experiencing teh same problems and have noticed that even though my USB flash-drive doesn't show up in Windows Explorer (XP Pro, SP2), it is active and you can use it.

    I also noticed that it does show with the allocated drive letter under the Control Panel, option Portable Media Devices in Explore. There is just somethin weird going on in Explorer (then again, it's still Microsoft).

    I will try to find some more, in the mean time this might help someone else finding the exact issue.

  11. wheelerda

    wheelerda TS Rookie

    re: USB Flash Disk not appearing in Explorer - Same problem

    I found this discussion while researching just this problem.

    My problem started recently with several different flash devices (USB1.0 flash drive, USB2.0 flash drive, USB2.0 Rave MP3 flash drive). They are mapped to a drive letter (accessible via command line, shown in disk manager, identified in "Safely remove hardware") but this drive letter cannot be accessed from Explorer. The error message is "Cannot find 'file:///g:/'. Make sure the path or Internet address is correct".

    Windows XP SP2 fully patched. Dell GX400.

    A reboot often clears the problem, but only for a while.

  12. rissa

    rissa TS Rookie

    I'm also having the same issue with removable drive icons not showing up in My Computer. Everytime I plug in my USB flash drive or MP3 player into a USB slot, or my iPod into the firewire port, the devices are recognized and files can transfer between them just fine. But in order to access the drives, I have to go to My Computer and type the letter of the removable drive into the address bar, because none of them will show up in My Computer. This has proved to be a major inconvenience since I can't save anything directly to my flash drive from a standard "Save As..." dialog in my programs. All of the drives will show up in Portable Media Devices in Control Panel, but that doesn't help much. Giving the removable devices consistent drive letters through Disk Management does nothing to help either. I'm using WinXP Pro, but I have used my USB flash drive with other Windows ME, XP Home, and XP Pro computer and have not experienced the same issue. I have tried rebooting, but it never helps in my case. I have 3 HDD partitions, 2 CD/DVD drives, and 4 card reader drives that do show up in My Computer. I hope a solution will be found for this.
  13. j5634w

    j5634w TS Rookie

    school Computer tech

    I was having a similar problem with one XP computer. I found the USB drive was being assigned the same letter that was already assigned to a mapped drive. Opening MY Computer and deleting the mapped drive (drive F in my case) allowed the computer to find the USB flash drive and load it properly the next time I plugged it in.
  14. Anarchi

    Anarchi TS Rookie

    Hi all,

    Its a bug in XP! No matter what Service Pack you have, XP simply doesnt update "My Computer" to show the drive letter, even if the device is working and installed fine. Ive seen this happen on many PC's and laptops with many different USB flash/HDD devices, and im very suprised Microsoft hasnt fixed this bug in Service Pack2 :(

    If you go into My Computer and type its drive letter, it will show. i.e:

    C = your HDD
    D = your CDROM/DVDROM
    E: = USB flash drive

    Type "E:\" (or the next available drive letter) into the My Computer address bar, and it should work fine.

    To fix this, simply reboot the PC with the USB drive plugged in, and it will be allocated a drive letter.

    If you have a network drive immediately after your last local drive or CDROM (for instance, E: drive after your CD-ROM's D: drive), the USB device will "hide behind" your network drive - this is another bug in XP!

    If you disconnect the network drive, then you will have access to your USB storage device.
  15. patio

    patio TS Guru Posts: 482

    I inadvertantly discovered a fix for this without knowing why so i can't take credit for it.
    When i got my first stick and plugged it in i went to My Computer/Manage/Disk Management and assigned it a letter at the end of the food chain.
    As i have multiple drives/partitions depending on which OS i boot to i decided on "x".
    Faultlessly no matter how many system/hardware etc. changes i have made whenever i plug in the stick it shows up properly on the system as "x".

    Not sure why this works but i'm happy with it.

    patio. :cool:
  16. rissa

    rissa TS Rookie

    Unfortunately neither of those fixes work for me... *sighs* :knock:
  17. fgwhite

    fgwhite TS Rookie

    Flash disk needs reformating

    The partition on the flash disk need reformatting. The reformat can only be performed from control panel>>Administration Tool>> Disk Management. That should solve your problem.

    jack of all, master of none
  18. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Strange if it'd require reformatting in one operating system, but work in others just fine. It doesn't sound a very convenient way to move data around. I'd try other methods first.
  19. Romin

    Romin TS Rookie

    Same Problem - Pls Help

    I upgraded my PC to Windows XP SP2. I have two flash drives (memorex & simpletech) - both 256 MB. And none of them appear in Explorer. In fact I get an error saying that there is a USB Power Surge on the Port, etc.

    I dont even see any of the devices in Device Manager.

    Surprisingly, I have other USB devices like Web Cam and Camera and they work perfectly. Even they give an error about USB Power Surge on the Port but they still work. So thats all the more confusing.

    I have tried all kinds of stuff like:
    1) Uninstalled all USB Ports and installed drivers again
    2) Installed the latest Chipset drivers from Intel
    3) Rebooted the PC with the Drives inside, etc.

    Please let me know of any other things to try. Appreciate any response.
  20. cali_isaac

    cali_isaac TS Rookie

    The assigning a drive letter and reassigning a mapped drive works fine for USB drives, but other USB devices are having problems (e.g. digital camera, MP3 player). Has anyone found a solution for these devices?
  21. bangdogg

    bangdogg TS Rookie

    Alas, my flash drive (SanDisk Cruzer Mini 512MB) worked fine, and then one day it stopped showing up in My Computer, explorer, etc. Showed up in Device Manager, but not in the other two.

    Though I can't provide a resolution to this problem for you guys (I tried all the suggestions), the one thing that will make it more convenient at least is to create a shortcut to the path of your removable drive. Like the others said, typing the actual drive letter into the address bar in My Computer will bring up your flash drive no problem, so just create a shortcut to that path.

    ie. my path is R:\, so I created a shortcut going to R:\.

    Good luck!
  22. cathyf

    cathyf TS Rookie

    I have a slightly different problem...

    My piece-of-excrement compaq laptop :dead: has a failed power connector. (The only thing that connects the power socket to the motherboard are the solder joints, and the force of plugging and unplugging the power breaks them over time. I seem to be lucky in that my laptop lasted 20 months. Virtually all pc laptops have this designed-to-break design, so if you have one, be aware that this is in your future.) Since the manufacturer's recommended repair is a $500 motherboard replacement (yeah, right...) I have migrated as much as I can to my ancient (but still working!) 1998 mac powerbook, and my windows development work to 2 desktops, one at work and one at home. And I pulled the 2.5-inch hard drive out of the worthless POE laptop :dead: and put it in an external USB2 enclosure, which I carry back and forth plugging into the desktops at home and at work.

    This enclosure has a kind of funky usb connector. It has a y-shaped cable with TWO usb plugs that go into the computer. One of the 2 plugs has a back which is a female usb connector, and the cord comes out of the side of the connector, while the other one looks like a normal usb plug.

    My problem is that I plug in the drive, and SOMETIMES it does not appear in "My Computer" and does not appear in the My Computer->Manage->Storage->Disk Management (the internal hard drive and the cd drive both appear.) But I DO get an icon to eject the disk on my taskbar, and if I go through the Add/Remove Hardware control panel it sees the device and claims that it is working properly. And it appears in the My Computer->Manage->Device Manager.

    My "solution" has been to try repeatedly -- plug the drive in, if it doesn't appear, push the "Stop USB mass storage device" button, unplug it, move the cables around to different usb ports. (I have 4 usb ports on the backplane, although the cable coming out the side of one of the drive's 2 usb connectors makes some plug in permutations impossible.) Eventually it appears with a drive letter, but which arrangement of connectors and ports works and doesn't work is different every time.

    If anyone has any intelligent ideas as to what is going on, I'd be happy to hear em. Til then, I'll file it under "things that make you go 'hmmm...'"

    cathy :)
  23. NJSteve52

    NJSteve52 TS Rookie

    Use third party file, ExplorerXP to see USB drives

    Hello all.... there is a file called "ExplorerXP" that can be found on the site, This file (freeware) runs as an enhanced windows explorer and recognizes USB drives (such as the SanDisk drives) correctly. One can hotswap and this small utility (which looks like windows explorer) will recognize USB drives without the silly "portable media" assignment under the control panel that Windows XP does in windows explorer. When recognized like this, one does not have full access. Also, I think that drive letter assignment is not an issue as it seems to be with windows explorer in XP (especially with SP2 installed). Hope this helps....
  24. Tim Tanner

    Tim Tanner TS Rookie

    How to make USB drives visible in Explorer

    If you have mapped network drives and you plug in a USB pen drive, Explorer will map the drive over the first mapped network drive and not be able to access it.

    A quick fix is to leave a gap in the drive letter sequence between local drives(e.g. a: to e: ) and mapped network drives (e.g. h: to m: leaving f: & G: free for USB drives)

    An alternative if you dont want to move your mapped network drives is to map the USB drive to another letter. Plug the drive in and in Windows XP go to Start>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management>Storage>Disk Management(Local)>

    If you can see your USB drive, right click on it in the lower pane and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths..." then Select "Change or Add". You should now be able to select your chosen drive letter from the drop down list. Click OK twice and exit Computer Management.

    Unfortunately, every time you plug your pen drive you will have to go through this sequence again. :evil:


  25. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    The reason it has two USB connectors is most likely because one can't deliver enough power to the hard disk drive, and too little power causes all kinds of errors with USB devices. Are you using both connectors?
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