Troubleshooting Flash Drive Problems

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Flash drives are great tools for carrying a small amount of files around with you for work and play. Flash drives can come with some pretty high storage allowances, which is great, but it can make it all the more frustrating when your flash drive does not work. This tutorial teaches you how to troubleshoot flash drive problems.

New Drive

  • If you just purchased a new drive, and the unit is not allowing you to write any information to it, check to see that it is in the right format for your particular operating system. On Windows, the unit should be in FAT format; this format can be used on Macs and Linux as well. If it is not in the right format, right-click the image of the flash drive in My Computer, and click the Format option. Select your file format and click "Start." The flash drive is now in the correct format. On a Mac, open up the Disk Utility tool in Finder and select your device from the left-hand window. Click on the Erase tab and select the format for your drive.

Communication Issue

  • If the flash drive is not communicating with your computer, make sure the USB port you have plugged it into is functioning properly. Try plugging the device into another USB port. If it still does not work, try a known good USB device in the ports to make sure they are working. If the ports are working, turn off the firewall on your computer. In some cases, the firewall can cause plugged-in devices to not be recognized by the operating system.

Damaged Device

  • If the flash drive intermittently ejects from your computer, it may be that the files on the device have become corrupted. This can happen due to viruses in the files, and when the device is not ejected properly from the computer. To eject a flash device in Windows, click the Safely Remove Hardware icon in your tool bar and select your USB device. On a Mac, you can just drag the icon of your device to your trash can.

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