How to Fix a Chromebook that Won’t Recognize a USB

When your Chromebook does not recognize your USB drive, first confirm that the drive is not faulty and check its file format.

If you are using a USB hub, try unplugging the hub and plugging the USB drive directly into your Chromebook.

Still having issues? Restart your Chromebook and update its OS.

To confirm if the USB port on your Chromebook is faulty, unplug the USB stick from the current port and try plugging it into a different port or different computer.

If it connects, the USB port on your Chromebook is the culprit.

If the USB drive is not recognized on any other computer, it’s probably dead and needs to be replaced.

Restart Chromebook

While this might seem strange, restarting your Chromebook often fixes many problems.

Here’s how to restart your Chromebook:

  1. Unplug the USB stick from your Chromebook.
  2. Click on the clock in the taskbar (bottom right corner).
  3. Click on the Power icon to open Power menu.
  4. Select Power off. This will shutdown your Chromebook.
  5. Now turn on your Chromebook again using the power button.

Once your Chromebook restarts, connect the USB flash drive to it again.

If it doesn’t work, hardware reset your Chromebook. Don’t worry, you won’t lose any data on your Chromebook.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Turn off your Chromebook.
  2. Wait for 1 minute.
  3. After 1 minute, press and hold the Power and Refresh buttons on the keyboard together until your Chromebook starts up.

Format the USB Drive

ChromeOS can only recognize USB drives formatted in FAT32 and exFAT file systems. So, if your USD drive is formatted in any other format, your Chromebook won’t detect it.

To check your USB drive file format, connect it to Windows computer.

Open Explorer and right click on the flash drive. Select Properties from the context menu.

In properties window, your USB file system will be mentioned there. See the screenshot below:

So, if your USB drive is formatted in NTFS format, you will need to re-format it to FAT format. To do that, follow the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Open Explorer.
  2. Right-click on the USB drive and select Format from the context menu.
  3. In the File System option, choose Fat32.
  4. Click on the Format button.

Update ChromeOS

To update your Chromebook, follow these steps:

  1. Click on time at the bottom right corner of the taskbar and select Settings.
  1. Click on About ChromeOS. Click on Check for Updates.

If any new update is available, your Chromebook will install them.


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

About the Author

Muhammad Qasim

Muhammad Qasim

Muhammad Qasim is an Electrical Engineer, Solo Entrepreneur, and Web Developer who loves troubleshooting gadgets and making cool things for the internet.

You can contact him on Email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or GitHub.

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