How to format a usb drive that doesnt show up

Last Updated: Feb 27, 2024 by

USB drives are a convenient and portable way to store and transfer data. However, sometimes these drives can become corrupted or malfunction, causing them to not show up on your computer. This can be frustrating, especially if you have important data on the drive. In this article, we will discuss how to format a USB drive that doesn’t show up, using different methods to ensure that your drive is properly formatted and usable again.

Check for Physical Damage

Before attempting to format your USB drive, it is important to check for any physical damage. If the drive is physically damaged, formatting it may not fix the issue and could potentially cause further damage. Inspect the USB drive for any cracks, bends, or other signs of damage. If you find any, it may be best to replace the drive.

Use Disk Management

One of the first methods to try when formatting a USB drive that doesn’t show up is using Disk Management on a Windows computer. To access Disk Management, right-click on the Windows Start button and select “Disk Management” from the menu. Once in Disk Management, locate your USB drive and right-click on it. From the menu, select “Format” and follow the prompts to format the drive. This method can also be used to change the drive’s file system, if needed.

Try a Low-Level Format

If Disk Management is unable to format your USB drive, you may need to try a low-level format. This method is more thorough and can fix issues that a regular format cannot. There are several free low-level formatting tools available online, such as HDD Low Level Format Tool or HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. These tools will completely erase all data on the drive, so be sure to back up any important files before proceeding.

Use Command Prompt

Another option for formatting a USB drive that doesn’t show up is using Command Prompt. This method is useful if your drive is not recognized by Disk Management or if you are comfortable using command line tools. To format your USB drive using Command Prompt, open the Command Prompt window and type “diskpart” to enter the DiskPart utility. Then, type “list disk” to see a list of all connected drives. Identify your USB drive and type “select disk X” (replace X with the number of your USB drive). Finally, type “clean” to erase all data on the drive and “create partition primary” to create a new partition. You can then use Disk Management or a low-level format tool to format the drive.


In conclusion, there are several methods you can try to format a USB drive that doesn’t show up. It is important to check for physical damage before attempting to format the drive and to back up any important data before proceeding. If one method does not work, try another until you are able to successfully format the drive. By following these steps, you can ensure that your USB drive is properly formatted and ready for use again.

Have you encountered a USB drive that doesn’t show up? Which method worked for you? Let us know in the comments.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.