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Fixed: Cannot Open USB Flash Drive on Windows 11/10 and Access File

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

Wondering how to fix USB flash drive cannot open or worried about losing your USB drive's essential data? You are not alone to have faced the same issue!

Unable to open a USB flash drive to access files is common. It was presented in the earlier versions of Windows and currently surging in Windows 11/10. If you are one of the users facing the same issue, you have come to the right article.

Through reading this article, you will learn the beginners' level solutions step-by-step that you can perform yourself without much computer expertise.

Let's begin with understanding the causes of cannot access USB drive problem.

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Causes: Why You Can't Access USB Drive?

Before you begin to learn on how to fix the USB drive cannot open issue, you need to understand the possible reasons making your USB drive hard to access. This is essential because you can use the appropriate solutions accordingly.

Below are the commonly occurring six reasons:

Reason 1: The Disk Driver Is Outdated

You can see your USB drive recognized and shown in Device Manager but can not see it in Disk Management. It can be because the Disk Driver is outdated, and it won't let you access your USB drive.

Reason 2: The USB Drive Is Not Partitioned

If you have bought a new USB drive and have not been partitioned even once, you might have an issue accessing your USB drive. Even though you can see your USB drive in Disk Management, it will be inaccessible. You can also see Simple Guides on How to Partition a Flash Drive.

Reason 3: The USB Does Not Have A Drive Letter with Another Partition

In this case, while plugging your USB drive, you can see it in the Windows File Explorer without any drive letter. It can make the USB flash drive inaccessible.

Reason 4: The Current File System Is Not Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7

When you format your USB drive on any other computer system, they may change settings for the file system. So, due to a different file system, your computer fails to access the USB drive.

Reason 5: USB Drive Becomes RAW

When you open your USB drive, does it give a dialog box indicating "Do you want to format it?" If yes, then your USB drive has become RAW.

showing raw usb drive error

Please avoid formatting it, but the system will not format it even if you do.

Reason 6: I/O Device Error

While opening the USB, if you see an I/O device error, that can also prevent you from accessing your USB flash drive.

showing io device error

Solutions: How to Access USB Flash Drive on Windows 11/10

Now you have understood why you are unable to access the files inside your USB flash drive.

However, whatever the reasons are causing the problem, this section will help you with multiple solutions to fix the issue. Let's see below. Different methods to "fix USB flash drive cannot open".

1. Try the USB Drive on Another PC/Laptop

A broken USB flash drive or damaged USB port of your PC/Laptop can also cause issues while opening your USB flash drive. So, before you see any technical solution, check these two things first.

To check if your USB flash drive is broken or a damaged USB port, plug your USB flash drive into another PC/Laptop. If it works, your USB port is broken. If it does not, check if it shows in Disk Management.

If it does not even show in Disk Management, your USB flash drive is broken, and you need to replace it.

2. Reinstall USB Controllers

This method is applicable when you cannot see your USB drive in Disk Management.

To reinstall the USB controllers, follow the steps:

Step 1: Open Device Manager

Just click on the Start menu, and on the search bar, type "devmgmt.msc" and press enter.

Step 2: Delete Current USB Controllers

In the Device Manager interface screen, right-click the USB Mass Storage controller and uninstall it.

uninstalling usb mass storage from device manager

Step 3: Restart Computer

After you uninstall the USB controllers and restart the system, the USB controllers will automatically be reinstalled upon completion. Check if it has fixed your USB flash drive to work again.

3. Provide the USB to Drive An Alternate Path

This method is applicable if you can see your USB flash drive in File Explorer and cannot access it. You can use Disk Management to change your USB drive letter or assign it an alternate path.

Follow the below steps:

Step 1: Open Disk Management

Press Windows Key + R together, and type "diskmgmt.msc" and press enter.

Step 2: Locate USB Drive from the Given List

Step 3: Provide the Alternate Path

After locating your USB flash drive, right-click on it and select the "Change Drive Letter and Path" option. In the menu, provide the new path and click on change.

providing usb with an alternate path

4. Run CHKDSK to check Bad sectors on USB drive

If there are bad sectors in the USB flash drive, or it’s corrupted, you can’t access the USB drive. In this case, running CHKDSK can fix it.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box. Right-click the Command Prompt, then, select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type “chkdsk g: /f /r /x” in the Command Prompt window, and press Enter. (g refers to the drive letter of the USB drive).

run chkdsk to repair the usb

5. Run File Explorer to Fix USB drive

If you don’t want to use CMD, the Disk Check feature in File Explorer can work the same to fix can't access usb drive issue.

Step 1. Go to This PC. Right-click the USB drive and click Properties.

Step 2. Go to the “Tool” section. Then, click Check to repair the bad sectors.

check the usb

6. Format the USB Drive

This method is applicable if you can view your USB drive in File Explorer. Please use this method only:

formatting the usb drive

This method is simple:

Step 1: Plug in Your USB drive

Step 2: Right-click on Your USB Drive

Step 3: Choose the Format Option

Above are all the methods for you to fix the USB flash drive cannot open problem. You can try one by one.

7. Try to Recover Files from USB Drive

If your USB drive becomes inaccessible or you can not open it at all, then check if it shows in Disk Management. If it is present there, then the first step should be to secure or restore your data.

Making your USB accessible is essential but not a priority when your USB drive has the necessary data. So, in this method, we will try to restore and recover all the data inside your USB drive using Wondershare Recoverit software.

Wondershare Recoverit Software

This Data Recovery Recoverit Software is a 3-step data recovery software. Using this software, you can retrieve data in Windows OS and MAC easily.

Key Features

But Why Wondershare?

We chose this software here because it is highly reliable and safe compared to the rest of the data recovery software available. Also, you can recover 100 MB files freely with it!

Wondershare Recoverit Pricing

Although, the 100 MB of files can quickly be recovered freely through Wondershare Recoverit software. Still, you can buy more if you wish to. Wondershare Recoverit provides various plans, such as:

Steps to Recover Data Through Wondershare Recoverit

Step 01: Launch Wondershare Recoverit

Go to your Windows and find Recoverit.

launch recovery to begin data recovery

Step 02: Select a Location

Select the USB device that you cannot access to recover data from it.

select the usb location

Step 03: Begin Scanning Your USB Drive

After selecting, click on the Start button. The scan process will start and may take some time.

select the target drive and hit scan

Step 04: Preview and Recover Files

After finishing the scan process, you can see the present files inside your USB Flash drive.

using wondershare recoverit to start recovering files

With the preview, you can select only those files you want to recover. You can now click on the Recover button, and the file recovery will start.

After the recovery process, you can view your files on the disk.

Video Tutorial on How to Fix Cannot Open USB Flash Drive on Windows 11/10 and Access File

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Coming towards the end, you can now fix the USB drive that you could not access before. Also, your doubts against different error messages should be cleared by the causes of why USB drive becomes inaccessible in the first place.

The solutions in this article vary differently. The two major cases are whether you can see a USB device in the file explorer or not. But before applying any solution, you should check if your USB drive or port has any issue using the first method that we have explained.

Also, your data is very important. That is why we highly recommend that you recover your USB data first using Wondershare Recoverit software before applying any other method. Just try according to your needs!

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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