USB Thumb drive has no drive letter in Windows Explorer

Posted on 2006-06-08
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Hi all,

This question had probably been asked before. However, after trying the suggested solutions, I still couldn't fix my problem.

I have checked that the thumb drives were working fine on other computers.

When I insert my USB thumb drives into my PC, I can hear the connected sound but these drives could not be found in Windows Explorer.

So I went to My Computer > Manage > Disk Management, these drives were there but do not have any drive letters. So I tried to assign some unused drive letters to them. But they still do not appear in Explorer even after refreshing the screen.

So, on the Disk Management screen, I right-clicked on the thumb drives and tried to open them. A new window had popped out showing all the files in the drives.  

I now discovered that when I tried to drag or copy files into this drive, I will see the following message:

"The destination does not support long file names. Please enter a name for this file..."

I am not able to use the original file names which are more than 8 characters. This problem only happened after I formatted my PC and reinstalled a new copy of Windows XP. It used to be fine :(

My PC configuration as below:
OS: Windows XP Pro SP2

Please help, much appreciated and thanks in advance.
Question by:tubbycub
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    It almost sounds like you formatted the drive with FAT, not FAT32 or NTFS.  If you check the General properties of the drive you formatted, what's the file system?


    Author Comment

    Its stated as RAW. But, when I run these drives on another computer with Windows XP, they were perfectly fine.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Oops - I just re-read your question and realized you're dragging things INTO the thumb drives, not FROM your thumb drives.  I'm so sorry - I read this late last night and started thinking the destination drive was your C drive which you'd recently reformatted.  I was heading down a totally wrong track.  

    Although maybe not totally wrong, since this just started after reformatting and reinstalling WinXP.  Hmmmm.....  When I look at the properties of a USB flash drive on my system, the format is FAT.  I think I remember seeing someplace that attached drives have to be either FAT, FAT32 or EXT.  Are you in a situation where you can format one thumb drive and then test it?


    Author Comment

    Hi Karen,

    I've just reformatted my harddisk and reinstalled a fresh copy of Windows again. The thumb drives can finally be read and everything, including copying of files works right. I suppose the previous problem could be due to bad Windows installation.

    Anyway, thanks for everything! :)


    Accepted Solution

    PAQed with points refunded (250)

    Community Support Moderator

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Do You Know the 4 Main Threat Actor Types?

    Do you know the main threat actor types? Most attackers fall into one of four categories, each with their own favored tactics, techniques, and procedures.

    Suggested Solutions

    Title # Comments Views Activity
    How to backup  Master server with Media server 4 66
    can not format usb drive says write protected 11 67
    OneDrive 4 61
    MySQL 11 46
    I have written before on the benefits of using a Boot media other than your HDD when it has become infected.   The article I wrote about creating a bootable CD/DVD/USB ( was mainly concerned with building a UBCD4Win on CD …
    Having issues meeting security compliance criteria because of those pesky USB drives? Then I can help you! This article will explain how to disable USB Mass Storage devices in Windows Server 2008 R2.
    This video teaches viewers how to encrypt an external drive that requires a password to read and edit the drive. All tasks are done in Disk Utility. Plug in the external drive you wish to encrypt: Make sure all previous data on the drive has been …
    This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to reformat your flash drive. Sometimes your flash drive may have issues carrying files so this will completely restore it to manufacturing settings. Make sure to backup all files before reformatting. This w…

    760 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    8 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now