Greyed Out USB Flash Drive (help)

If you have a greyed out USB flash drive this article should be able to help you resolve the issue.

The most common reason is the USB flash drive has a different file system and you simply need to format the drive. For example, Ext3, Ext4 or HFS are file systems for Linux and Mac. By formatting the USB drive it could restore the drive and it’s no longer greyed out.

please insert disk into USB drive

If this didn’t do the trick, then try the next suggestion ↓

It is possible the greyed out USB flash drive has a bad device driver. We can uninstall the drive and try re-installing the USB stick (reconnecting).

Do the following:

In the Search area type “Device Manager” and good chance Windows will auto-suggest before you are even done typing. Select Device Manager.

device manager, windows to find greyed out USB flash drive

Alternatively you can click the Windows key along with “X” and from the list select Device Manager

Win Key + X, windows to find greyed out USB flash drive

Device Manager lists things alphabetically so scroll towards the button and expand the carrot > for Universal Serial Bus controllers.

In the sub-listing you will see the Mass Storage Device and then right click that device and select Uninstall device

uninstall USB driver, greyed out USB stick

Now the device drive has been removed, please reconnect the device and see if the greyed out USB flash drive is still greyed out.

If this didn’t do the trick we have one last suggestion for you before declaring the USB stick most likely dead ↓

Let us try and repair the disk from a Windows tool from the command prompt.

In the Search box type “command prompt” and before you select the command prompt, use the mouse and right click the Command Prompt selection and select “Run as Administrator”

run chkdsk, greyed out USB drive

Once the cmd window appears simply type the following:

chkdsk d: /r /f

NOTE: The “d” is the drive letter, so if your greyed out USB flash drive has a different drive letter, us that drive letter.

Now click Enter and let Windows run the disk checking tool. What the /r and /f are doing is checking the device for bad blocks and trying to repair any bad blocks the utility found (chkdsk wikipedia). Once the process is completed you will power cycle the USB flash drive and reconnect it to see if the USB is working or still greyed out. Please keep in mind the chkdsk will take longer the bigger the storage device you have. For example the screen shot below was a small 2GB flash drive and completed in about 10 seconds. So a 128GB flash drive will take minutes to complete.

If all the above doesn’t help the greyed out USB flash drive then your device is most likely dead and will no longer function reliably enough to use for any kind of data storage.

run chkdsk results, greyed out USB drive, windows

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Rich Gates

Administator for started in 2004 with the concept of providing USB information for everything USB related. At the time, USB was gaining momentum and every day new products, articles and news became published. Today, the site is focused on bringing technical information, tricks and hacks to USB related products. The site does publish off topic information as well, to keep the variety up. Please visit the footer area of any page if you or your company is interested in article or product placement via purchased advertising.

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