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I have a Corsair Flash Voyager GT with capacity of 16 GB bought roughly 5 years ago. It was working okay on all my computers, like a flash drive usually does. One day I lend it to my friend and when he brought it back, he told me he could not get it working. After that I could not get it working on any of my Windows systems too.

Symptoms:

  • The LED on flash drive doesn't blink;
  • The device is not present in Computer Management / Storage;
  • The device shows up under Other Devices / Unknown Device and Universal Serial Bus Controllers / Unknows Device in Device Manager;
  • Windows 7 also fails to find and install drivers for Unknown Device.

However, under Ubuntu 10.04 on my netbook, the flash drive is fully operational: I could easily back up data from it, format it (however formatting did not help to get it running on Windows). FYI the filesystem was NTFS, reformatted as FAT, so that's hardly the issue.

In addition, I tried to plug this flash drive into freshly installed Windows 7 x64 Ultimate. I read that it might be a driver problem. Unfortunately this was not of any help.

What can be cause of this? Given that the device is working okay in Ubuntu, I assume that the hardware itself is not damaged. And is there any way to fix it? If yes then how?

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  • Try GParted in Linux to delete all existing partitions on the drive (not just reformat) and then try it under Windows. Hopefully you'll get an option to initialize and format it, and then it should work. – Karan Apr 1 '13 at 9:56
  • @Karan played around with GParted, unfortunately it did not help. Pendrive is still "USB device not recognized". – Actine May 2 '13 at 12:50
  • Did you delete all partitions and then insert the completely unpartitioned/uninitialised/unformatted drive into the Windows PC? If the drive's still unpartitioned, try inserting it after running USB Oblivion on your Win PC (be sure to check the "Do real clean" checkbox). – Karan May 2 '13 at 14:46
  • Same problem - got two USB Mass Storage devices, both work on an Ubuntu laptop but Windows 7 sees them as Unknown Devices. USB Sticks that do not require too much power to work are registered by Windows 7 (and Ubuntu) fine. So I think atm it's a Windows 7 driver issue. – Spedge Dec 23 '16 at 14:02
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    run file /dev/sdb or fdisk /dev/sdb with sdb is your USB to see the actual disk format – phuclv May 1 '18 at 10:44
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Happened the same to me. Try using gparted then wipe the flash drive without any filesystem. I then plugged in Windows and it worked and prompted to format to FAT32. I think that happened because I used the flash drive to boot a linux installation before.

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  • I had a similar problem where my USB was encrypted with BitLocker. After unplugging it in the password prompt, NONE of my data was accessible. So I reformatted it a couple times for transferring data to a test machine, and after the second format it just stopped working (in Windows). I tried it in Xubuntu, and there was my data after the 2nd format! I did what you said above in GParted in addition to resetting the 1st MiB of data using dd and it brought my drive back to life. I know I should not do this on Stack Exchange, but thanks. – na-no. Sep 5 '20 at 18:51
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I am rather late with my answer, but I believe people still come across this problem, so it might be useful.

I ran into this problem several times after I had used the flash drive for a live linux installation. After I formatted it back to FAT32 (in linux), Windows could not access the drive, though they detected it. Also formatting the drive was not possible in Windows. For linux, on the other hand, everything worked without problems.

My understanding is that some live linux installers format the flash drive to an iso9660 file system, and re-formatting the drive back to FAT32 does not fully remove the tracks of the previous file system. While linux does not care about these leftovers, Windows are probably more strict when checking the inserted flash drive, and they refuse to access it.

So what is needed is a sort of clean-up, which would wipe the remaining traces of the other (iso9660) file system.

There is a wonderful and reliable linux utility named mkusb, the "tool to create boot drives". (For Ubuntu, there is a good help page here.) Among others, one of its functions is to wipe the first megabyte (MiB) of the drive. This cleaning should help to bring the USB flash back to normal. (However the drive must be re-formatted afterwards and the data is lost. But if the drive works under linux, it should be no problem to make the backup before.)

With the use of mkusb utility I successfully recovered the flash drive back to normal.

But of course you can do the same without any utility, just from the linux command line. A simple way to wipe the 1st MiB of data is using the dreaded dd command (actually this is what mkusb does, but its UI provides warnings and better protection against mistakes). Run as root:

# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx bs=1k count=1024

where sdx is to be replaced with the respective drive. BE WARNED, it is CRUCIAL to identify the drive correctly, otherwise you can unintentionally delete your data from wrong disk.

If you now re-format the flash drive (either in Windows or in linux), it should be working normally in both systems.

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This worked for me after I created a bootable disc for fedora in my san cruze USB and later windows could not detect it . I used diskpart in dos mode in my windows 10 laptop as the admin and the flash drive just got fine. Earlier I tried deleting the registry for the vendor keys but nothing worked . Did not try mkusb .

Run this in admin mode in command prompt:

  <step1> :     diskpart 
  <step 2>: list disk 
  - select disk X (x is the drive number assigned to your USB drive, in my    case it was disk 1 for USB so I used select disk 1)
  <step 3>: clean
  <step 4>: create partition primary
  <step 5>:     active
  <step 6>: Select partition 1
  <step 7>: format fs=fat32

all done and windows could read the flash drive like before again . of course I did not have any data to be retained or recovered , so had no worry from that perspective

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