PC won't read any USB flash memory

By j_walk44 ·
Hi, I've been looking at a PC that won't seem to read any USB memory stick. I've tried 3 different ones that all work ok on another identical model PC (NEC Powermate with XP pro).
Each time the PC recognises the USB stick & assigns it to drive letter E: but when I try to open E: I just get either 'Please insert a disk in drive' or 'this drive is not formatted, format now?'. Then, if I choose to format I'm told that the drive can't be formatted.
I've looked in the disk management and the drive is always recognised but marked as 'unreadable'.
The USB ports seem to be working ok ortherwise as the attached printer works fine. Any ideas anyone?

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by dangolrajesh In reply to PC won't read any USB fla ...

which os you are having and the file system

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OS/File system

by j_walk44 In reply to os

The OS is Windows XP Pro & the file system is NTFS

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Try looking on the NEC Web Site for new drivers for the USB Ports

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to PC won't read any USB fla ...

I'm assuming that these thumb drives work OK on a different computer so you need to look at the USB Drivers or maybe the actual voltages supplied by the M'Board as the M'Board could be on it's way out and not supplying enough voltage to drive these components properly.

If you can not get any new Drivers and you want to check the USB Ports properly get a Powered USB Hub and plug that into the computer and then see if the USB Thumb Drives are working properly. If they do then you know that the Voltage supplied to the USB Ports is insufficient for the needs of the hardware and most likely the M'Board is on it's way out.


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Computer Management > Disk Management

by bcsell In reply to PC won't read any USB fla ...

USB Flash Drives and Card Readers

The most common problem with Windows not recognizing USB flash drives and card readers that I personally encounter is the drive letter that Windows tries to assign is already in use by another resource (I.E. CD-ROM or Network drive).
A word of caution: Make note of your current drive letter assignments before making changes. Programs which require specific drive letters may cease to function if they cannot locate their preferred drive.

Bring up the *Computer Management window and select "Disk Management" from the console tree in the left window.

If the system did NOT encounter driver issues when the flash drive or card reader was connected you should see the drive listed under Disk Management.

Removable media icons will appear as disk icons with a blue memory stick superimposed.

Right click on the disk and select properties.

Change the drive letter to one that is not already reserved by network drive or CD or DVD ROM drive.

If you connect to a network on a regular basis and have multiple card reader slots you will want to assign drive letters to the card reader slots that do not conflict with your network drive mappings.

Tip: Assign volume labels to removable media so that they are easily spotted in explorer. Unlabeled media is indistinguishable from empty card reader slots.

Additional Reference

*How To Use Computer Management in Windows XP

How to Prevent Drive Letters from Changing After You Add a Hard Disk or a CD-ROM

How to change drive letter assignments in Windows XP

To display disks and volumes in graphical or list view

AutoPlay intermittently does not detect removable media or digital cameras

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Drive letter couldn't be changed

by j_walk44 In reply to Computer Management > Dis ...

I did try changing the drive letter but although the drive showed up in disk management it was marked as 'unrecognized' & the option to 'change drive letter & paths' was greyed out, as were all other options on the right click menu.
In the end we swapped the hard disk for a spare & that worked.

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