USB Drive Not Accessible

Usually, when a USB drive is connected to your computer, you can access it and edit data on it. However, this time, you insert the USB drive into your Windows 10 PC but get an error message as below:

The drive is not accessible. Access is denied.

USB drive not accessible

It indicates that your Windows 10 has detected your USB drive but failed to recognize it. Consequently, you have no chance to read and write the drive. Hey, please relax. That does not mean that you will lose data. This post supplies reliable solutions to help you fix the USB drive not accessible on Windows 10 issue without data loss.

Solutions for fix the USB drive not accessible on Windows 10:

  1. Reassign a new drive letter to the USB drive
  2. Modify the ownership of the USB drive
  3. Authenticate the USB drive
  4. Reformat the USB drive

Recover Data from the Inaccessible USB Drive

According to our and most of the users’ experiences, the USB drive inaccessible issue is mainly caused by file system corruption or RAW file system. And any further operation on the USB drive may corrupt the data on it.

So, in order to protect your data, you’d better recover data from your USB drive before taking the following ways to fix it.

As the USB drive is inaccessible, the only way to rescue data from it is to use data recovery software. iBoysoft Data Recovery is such a professional data recovery tool with a high recovery rate.

It supports recovering lost data from corrupted, RAW, unreadable, and inaccessible USB drives, external hard drives, SD cards, etc.

You can follow the steps below to recover data from your inaccessible USB drive on Windows:

  • Free download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Windows 10.
  • Select the inaccessible USB drive and click Next to scan the lost files.

iboysoft data recovery

  • Choose your desired data and click Recover.

Now, your lost files come back. You can get down to fix your USB drive that’s not accessible on Windows 10.

USB Drive not Accessible on Windows 10?

The reasons for inaccessible USB drives are various,  Here are the common causes.

  • The format of the USB drive is not compatible with Windows.
  • The USB drive is corrupted.
  • The USB drive letter is the same as other drives.
  • The USB drive is damaged.
  • Your incorrect operation on the USB drive.
  • The USB drive is attacked by malware.

To make the USB drive accessible again, you can follow these solutions.

Reassign a new drive letter to the USB drive

If your USB drive has the same drive letter as other drives connected to your Windows, a conflict will happen, and your USB drive will also be inaccessible.

You can go to Disk Management to have a check. If that is the case, you can reassign a drive letter to the USB and then, the issue will be fixed. If there is no issue with the USB drive letter, try the next solution.

  • Go to Disk Management.
  • Select the USB drive partition and choose Change Drive Letter and Path…
  • Click Change in the pop-up window and assign a new drive letter to the partition. Remember to set a different letter from other partitions to the USB drive partition.

Reassign a letter to USB

Then, check if you can access the USB drive.

Modify the ownership of the USB drive

Sometimes, the owner’s status in Windows is the troublemaker of the USB drive not accessible error. You can try to adjust the ownership of the inaccessible USB drive.

Here’s how:

  • Right-click the USB drive and select Properties.
  • Choose the Security Tab and click Advanced. Then, click the Change button.
  • Click Advanced > Find Now.
  • Select your username and click OK.

Now, you can try to access the USB drive to check if it is still inaccessible.

Add Authenticated User to the USB drive

As the USB drive is access denied, you can try to add an authenticated user to get permission to access it.

  • Right-click the USB drive and select Properties.
  • Select the Security tab and click Edit to open the Permissions for New Volume box.

authenticate usb drive

  • Click Add and add a new user named Authenticated User. Then, click OK.
  • Check the Full control option and click Apply > OK.

Reformat the USB drive

 If unfortunately, the solutions mentioned above fail to enable the USB drive accessible again, there are two scenarios:

  • The USB drive is not compatible with Windows.
  • The USB drive is corrupted.

You can connect the USB drive to a Mac device to check if it can be recognized and mounted in read-write mode. By default, Windows only supports NTFS, exFAT, FAT32, FAT16 file systems. If your drive is APFS or HFS+ formatted, Windows won’t allow you to access it.

If you ensure that the USB drive is compatible with Windows, the drive is probably corrupted. In this situation, you have to reformat the USB drive.

However, formatting a drive will erase all data on it, you should recover data from the inaccessible USB with data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery. Then, you can format the drive.

  • Go to File Explorer > This PC.
  • Right-click the USB flash drive and select Format.
  • Select the file system, set the allocation unit size, choose a volume label, and check Quick Format.
  • Click Start.

After the formatting process is done, the USB drive is accessible again. You can move the recovered data back to the USB drive.


When you encounter the issue – the USB drive is not accessible on your Windows 10, it doesn’t mean that you’ll lose all data on it. There are solutions to resolve this issue and enable you to read, write, edit, or rename files on the USB drive.

The key point is that as the drive is inaccessible, data on the drive is in danger. So, before you proceed to fix the problematic USB drive, recover data from it is necessary. iBoysoft Data Recovery is here to help you rescue files from corrupted or inaccessible hard drives, like USB drives.

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Steve Ballmer
With over 7 years of experience in the IT industry, I have experience in IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. Certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching.