How to Fix a Pen Drive Showing “Insert New Disk” Error

When you insert your pen drive, it is assigned a drive letter and you can usually access the contents using Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. When you receive the ‘Insert New Disk’ error, it could mean a number of things. It’s possible that the drive letter has already been reserved and that you will need to change it before you continue. It could also mean that there is a hardware error, which makes it difficult for you to access your files.

In the second scenario, it is sometimes possible to recover your data using a recovery tool.

Here’s how to check if the drive letter has already been reserved, and how you can fix it.

  1. Administrator

Log into the administrator account on your Windows or Mac machine. This allows you to access all settings on your computer to make the necessary changes.

  1. Insert

Insert your pen drive into your computer’s USB port and wait until the light on the drive lights up, or your computer notifies you that a USB drive has been inserted.

  1. My Computer

Click Start and find My Computer. Right click on My Computer and then choose Manage. Then, choose ‘Disk Management’, which will take you to a screen that lists all of the hardware that your PC is using and which is connected to your machine.

  1. Find Drive

Check to see if you can find your drive in Disk Management. If you don’t know what your drive is called, look for the name of the drive manufacturer, or check the storage size. If you still can’t find it, eject your USB drive and check Disk Management – then compare it to when your drive is plugged in. The item that disappears is your disk.

  1. Change Drive Letter

If your drive appears, then you can change the drive letter so that it is accessible. Choose a drive that definitely won’t be used by any other hardware, like X or Z. These drives are not automatically reserved by Windows, and so they will only be unavailable if you have already assigned these drives to other hardware.

  1. Retry

Now, check back into Windows Explorer and see if your device appears. If it does not appear, it could signify another problem. Most likely, the issue is hardware failure, meaning you should attempt to recover files on your device, as you will be unable to use the USB drive in the future.

Recovering your data is possible using free and paid software. A popular data recovery application is Stellar’s Windows Data Recovery – Professional.

  1. Download

Head over to http://www.stellarinfo.com/windows-data-recovery-professional.php and download the data recovery software. Follow the on-screen prompts to download and install the software to your computer.

  1. Connect

Connect your USB drive, and the data recovery software will search for your disk and automatically assign it a drive letter, even if it does not appear in Disk Management. In some cases of extreme hardware failure, however, it may not appear – in which case, data recovery will not be possible.

  1. Find

Find your device. You can do this by checking the size of the drive, which appears on the end field, after Type and File System. If you are unsure, unplug other drives you might already have plugged in.

  1. Scan

Once you have highlighted your device, click the ‘Advanced Recovery’ button at the bottom of your screen. This allows the software to begin scanning your USB drive to see what data it is able to recover. The scan will look at all the media and other recoverable data on your file, and will give you a preview of what is available for it to recover.

  1. Choose

Now, you can choose the media that you wish to recover. Be aware that in some cases, data will be recovered but the files will have been renamed. Once you have chosen the files you wish to recover, simply press the ‘Recover’ button and the software will get to work.
Damaged Circuitry

If all fails, it is possible that the power supply of your USB device has been damaged. In the instance that the power supply to the USB drive has been damaged, you or somebody else will need to perform circuit repair. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s essential that you get a trained professional to repair the power supply as one wrong move with a soldering gun could render your entire drive useless.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How to Fix a Pen Drive Showing “Insert New Disk” Error

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