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Can't See Contents of Flash Drive


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I'm trying to help a friend who can't read video files from a flash drive. When the drive is plugged in, File Explorer sees that there is a drive and lists it as USB Drive D:, but when I try to see what's in D:, the message is "Please insert a drive into USB Drive D:".  Same result on more than one Windows 10 computer, and trying different USB ports on each computer.  My friend says she has used this flash drive before and has watched videos that are stored on it. 

I have downloaded and paid for Recuva, in hopes that it would be able to see and recover files from the drive, but when I get to the point where I tell Recuva where to look, it either gives the same "Please insert..." message or doesn't even see the D:.

I have even plugged the drive into a Mac and the Mac's Disk Utility doesn't see the drive.

Any suggestions?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest johnccleaner

My understanding is that this is indicating a major problem with the drive.

Basically, in this case, the drive is making electrical connection to the computer and the computer is able to recognize that a USB drive of some sort has been connected, but is then not able to take the next step of actually connecting the partition to the computer's file system.

As such, the drive is basically acting like a SD card reader without a card inserted in it; Windows can detect that there 'a drive' connected, but there's no data actually there.

Unfortunately, Recuva can't repair damaged drives (it can, in some cases, where the drive is functional enough for Windows to mount its file system, recover data from the damaged drive, but it won't repair it), so it doesn't have any options that would help repair this drive. I'm not sure I can recommend any software that would, to be truthful.

There also isn't a setting in Windows (or macOS) to change to 'fix' it that I'm aware of, otherwise I'd be happy to let you know where to look.

A file recovery service might be able to extract some data from the drive (possibly by bypassing the drive's normal control electronics and reading the media itself); that's an option your friend may wish to pursue, though that's certainly not guaranteed either.

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