Computer Help forum


Help please! USB stick not showing in any PC or laptop

by workingfromhome / February 2, 2018 2:04 AM PST

Hi there

I have a USB stick that has suddenly stopped being recognised at all by both my laptop at home and PC at work (both MS). It's a high quality USB stick (not one that requires a power source). I always use the proper eject method when removing it from the computer.

But suddenly, as of this week, neither my lap top nor my PC at work recognise it at all. I dont mean they display a message saying it's not recognised; I mean it doesnt show up at all in the file manager, nor with any icon, nor the usual "ding" when I insert a USB device.

I have tried the "diskmgmt" function at the command prompt, and that shows no USB (I've also tried changing ports, etc)

So what can I do please? Obviously I would like to get the data off it. There is no obvious sign of damage, and I keep the stick in a case when going between office and home. There was just a 6 hour gap between me ejecting it just fine from my office PC, to me trying to plug it in at home and nothing happening, during which time it was safely in its case.

I have seen various free software fixes that claim to help recover data from broken USB sticks, but it's a bit beyond me know what's safe software to use; and even then, those that i've seen seem to rely on the USB stick at least being "seen" by the PC.

It's a SanDisk Cruzer Edge

Any help gratefully received!

thank you

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All Answers

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Yes, it has to show in Device Manager for recovery apps.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 2, 2018 12:17 PM PST

I'll give a nod to RECUVA here and it's noted widely. I won't write much more.

So go to Device Manager and see if it shows there. But do try Recuva.

These do die like that. Not reliable to the point of not needing backups. If it's dead, the only fixes I've used is to open it up and solder on a new USB connection for the last chance recovery. This is fairly advanced and can be upsetting to some that wanted to save the stick.

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3rd Party
by MarkinTO / February 2, 2018 10:15 PM PST

Stop trying to sell 3rd party fixes, when the answer is right there in the software to begin with. You're not helpful in any way...

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Nothing sold here. Recuva is free.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 3, 2018 10:30 AM PST
In reply to: 3rd Party

Please get your facts straight.

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did you try command prompt
by ComputerSolver / February 2, 2018 12:55 PM PST

if you go to command prompt step 1 is
In device manager down the bottom you will see "universal Serial Bus(USB) controllers" click on the plug sign
beside it which will expand that tree.You will see "USB ROOTHUB", Right clickon those 1 by 1 (keep all
your usb devices plugged in) and click on "UNINSTALL". When you have uninstalled them all shutdown
your pc completely (*DON'T UNPLUG ANY USB DEVICE) Then Reboot your pc!! Windows should do the
rest and REINSTALL them for you properly.
Then you want to
If your computer is using windows, you can try and use Microsoft's fix it. They offer II, one for usb specific issues
and one for general hardware.

*Note on Device manager :
Be careful with device manager. If you're unsure about something. ask for help first
If it does not work email me.

Email address removed by moderator, to protect against spam. If ComputerSolver likes he can set a setting in his profile to allow other members to him via CNET).

Post was last edited on February 2, 2018 1:10 PM PST

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Re: command prompt
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 2, 2018 1:14 PM PST

I fail to see the relationship between command prompt and Device Manager.

Moreover, since the OP says his stick can't be read at 2 different computers (laptop at home, PC at work) it's very, very unlikely that Device Manager and fixit's at any of the two (probably he isn't even allowed to use those at work) will fix this issue.

I doubt if anyone will accept your invitation to help him via mail, after reading this sloppy and inapplicable post. You'll have to do better.

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Any drive not seen...
by MarkinTO / February 2, 2018 7:43 PM PST

Plug it it, (this applies to any/all) usb drives.

No 'bing, or anthing, that's fine.

Now Goto the Cortana or whatever they call it, search-box and enter: Disk Management

It will open a window, clearly showing every device attached but, not necessarily identified.

But... you should actually see your device, it could be marked as unknown or such?

Right-click on it and then select: Give this device a Drive -Letter or something to that effect. Windows will and then your USB drive becomes usable once again. Note: you need not give it a 'permanent drive letter' as that might interfere with the device use on other machines.

This happened all the time after the "Windows Creators Update". All external drives, simply disappeared!

Enjoy, again...


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USB Thumb not seen
by wippernm / February 2, 2018 8:26 PM PST

Make sure that you have the newest USB Drivers. I thought I saw that it was one of the main brands, well they might even have a driver that is for that USB Device. If so run that.

You might also try running Windows Troubleshooting Program.

You might try to see if any computer will see the drive. Sometimes people don't use the eject or the icon for remove a usb drive. If you fail to do this, you can damage the drive with a surge in the power while removing the drive.

Sometime even running the repair drive setting may not be accepted on a USB drive. So be careful with that.

Always either go to the This PC or Computer and pull up the drive. Find the eject menu and select that. Wait until it says that it is safe to remove the drive.

Hope that this helps.

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Final test
by Willy / February 3, 2018 10:17 AM PST

If two PCs can't see then try a 3rd. If it remains unseen then the USB stick is kaput. No amount of tricks will do, since any fix requires it to be seen. Though as a last resort, boot into some Linux self-running CD and try to access it then. If not seen as well, bad USB stick. If you have warranty, use it. USB stick still break.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Why Did It Die?
by gaucherre / February 3, 2018 5:56 PM PST

Possibility no.1 - without realizing it, you gave a static electricity shock to the USB stick, and that "zapped" it to death. I personally experienced that scenario a couple of years ago on a very nice Lexar USB flash drive which had been perfectly reliable until then. Lexar replaced it for me but the data was gone.
Possibility no.2 - the drive simply experienced a sudden catastrophic failure for no discernible reason. This does happen to a small percentage of drives. I've thrown away a couple over the years when they just ceased to work.
As for your data, you're probably s.o.l. unless some data retrieval expert offers to save it at an exorbitant price. As others have already mentioned, if no computer can "see" the drive then you can't work on it.

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