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USB Flash drive not detected in Windows

August 2015

External storage devices such as USB Flash drives are commonly used to store and share data across computers. Computers with a Windows operating system (OS) will find their computers generally recognize any such devices automatically. However, there are times scenarios when it may not recognize external hard drives or pen drives and they do not show up in My Computer. This is typically an issue with the Windows OS where the USB ports could have been disabled. The usual solution to this problem is to manually re-enable the USB ports by altering the properties of the relevant registry keys.

Flash drive not detected in Windows


My HP laptop has recently stopped recognizing all memory sticks and my [external hard drive. These used to work fine. When it is plugged in, the computer makes a whirring noise showing there has been a connection, but the devices do not appear in My Computer.


This is because your USB ports have been disabled. To enable them, follow these steps:

To re-enable a disabled port:
  • 1. Click Start, then click Run.
  • 2. In the Open box, type regedit then click OK.
  • 3. Locate then click the following registry key:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor
  • 4. In the right pane, double-click Start.
  • 5. In the Value data box, type 3, click Hexadecimal (if it is not already selected) then click OK.
  • 6. Quit Registry Editor.

Thanks to moneymaker1 for this tip
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By gouby on September 2, 2009
Original article published by gouby. Translated by aakai1056. - Latest update by Jeff
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