Can’t Find Devices When Plugging them into Your Computer


USB Device

Overview
Sometimes when you plugin a USB device (e.g. thumb drive, phone, etc.), the drive doesn’t appear in your list of drives (My Computer). This guide will help you solve this problem and gain access to the device you just plugged in. Note: Never attempt to reassign drive letters for system drives (e.g. C drive) or drives you install software from (e.g. D – CD/DVD Drive). This can cause undesirable issues.

Guide

  1. Click on Start or Start > Run.
  2. Type “compmgmt.msc” in the Open textbox and press Enter.
    1. You can also right-click on the Computer or My Computer icons on your desktop or in the start menu (if present) and select Manage.
  3. Navigate to Storage > Disk Management in the left pane.
  4. Right-click on the correct device in the right pane (top or bottom) and select Change Drive Letter and Paths….
    1. If you’re unsure of which device corresponds to the one you want to use, unplug the device in question (while watching the list) and see which item from the right pane disappears. Then plug it back in and perform this step.
  5. Select the current drive letter showing in the listbox.
  6. Click the Change button.
  7. Ensure the Assign the following drive letter radio button is selected.
  8. Select an unused drive letter from the drop down list on the right.
    1. Drive letters currently in use should not be listed.
  9. Click on OK.
  10. If a dialog box pops up saying “Some programs that rely on drive letters might not run correctly. Do you want to continue?“, click the Yes button.
  11. Wait for the change to take place and then the drive should now appear in your My Computer window.

Troubleshooting

Once this is completed, the drive should appear in the drives list (e.g. My Computer window). If your device does not show up in the right pane during step 4, follow these troubleshooting steps.

  1. If your device requires additional power (i.e. more than USB power), make sure it’s either plugged in to an outlet or has fresh batteries.
  2. Make sure the USB cord is attached at both ends (e.g. computer & device)
  3. Ensure that all instructions from the user manual are followed, since some devices require special settings before connecting to USB.
  4. Plug a known working device into the same USB port on your computer to ensure the port is working.
  5. Try plugging the device into another USB port on your system.
  6. If it still does not show up and you’ve followed all directions from the manufacturer, contact the manufacturer for additional support.
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2 thoughts on “Can’t Find Devices When Plugging them into Your Computer

  1. I can’t believe MS hasn’t gotten this worked out yet. I don’t run into it as often as I did but wow what a pain.

    🙂

  2. Yea, you’d think they would use something like… assign the next AVAILABLE drive letter! I can’t imagine in what situation you’d actually want a drive letter assigned that’s already in use.

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