Fix an XP System That Won't Recognize Flash Drives

Reader Thomas is having a problem with his six-year-old Windows XP Professional system: When he plugs in a flash drive, Windows doesn't recognize it. He's tried different brands; same result. But other USB devices work just fine.

Before I reveal the solution to this vexing problem, Thomas, a quick slap on the wrist: you didn't give me nearly enough information in your initial e-mail. In fact, it took two follow-up e-mails for me to get all the details I needed to find a fix.

So to you and all other readers, I kindly ask that you revisit my post on how to ask for tech help, and to remember that you'll greatly increase your chances of a response if you follow those simple guidelines.

As it happens, Microsoft has a fix for the problem of unrecognized USB flash drives (and other external drives), which is most likely the result of "corrupted or incorrect keys in the registry."

Just scroll down a bit until you see the Microsoft Fix It button, click it, then follow the instructions. That should do the trick!

Shop ▾
arrow up Amazon Shop buttons are programmatically attached to all reviews, regardless of products' final review scores. Our parent company, IDG, receives advertisement revenue for shopping activity generated by the links. Because the buttons are attached programmatically, they should not be interpreted as editorial endorsements.

Subscribe to the Power Tips Newsletter