Problem with USB Pen drives


Right off the assembly line
First of all, I don't know if this is the correct place for this post, if it isn't, please redirect me there.

My problem is that, my Dell inspiron 14r laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate (64bit) is unable to read any pen drives.

Yesterday, I tried writing on my friend's Cruzer 4gb Sandisk pen drive, and when I inserted the pen drive in the usb port, it said,"You need to format this disk before you can use it", and when I tried doing so, it again gave me this error-
"windows is unable to format this disk"

Inserting the pendrive in multiple usb hubs didn't solve the problem either. I though that their might be something wrong with the pendrive, and returned it to my friend.

Today, When I used my pen drive (same model) it too gave the same error, although I had being using it successfully in the past, I tried inserting in into different usb sockets, but it didn't helped.

I again ignored it as my pen drive was quite old. But, today I in the evening I got my new 16gb ultra small pen drive ordered from flipkart and was quite relaxed to see that it worked just fine. But after reading/writing/formatting it for about 3-4 times, when I safely removed it for some work and reinserted it, I GOT THE SAME RESULTS yet again. I have already complained about it to flipkart, but I don't think that its their fault.

What should I do now? My computer is also out of warranty. And, I can't write dvd/cds too, although I am able to read them, I have contacted dell customer care about the dvd/cd issue, and they told me its malfunctioned. Does it has something to do with it?

Kindly help!


I think you have issue with your os or with some software not with hardwares. But it could be anything. It's better to call h/w engr. and let him check it, can't solve it without taking a look into your laptop, calling engr. and solving prob through him/her would be much faster than online assists. If you don't want to pay dell for checkup then take it to some good local engr. from your office, college or known hardware shop.-)

P.S: always safely remove usb h/w's.


Legend Never Ends
Virus infection alert. Install a free antivirus and scan your pc after updating it. Emisoft antimalware can also be used to scan.


Retired Forum Mod
better wasting money by calling Dell serviceman, try a Linux live CD or install it if you have free drive. that way you'll know if hardware is malfunctioning (USB, DVD Drive) or its OS problem.


VIRUS Infected... Try some good antivirus and if not solves the problem then format the OS and then re-install it...


Right off the assembly line
First of all, about the virus issue, I have the latest edition of AVG and it showed no viruses or anything like that about a week ago. (But surely, I am gonna re-run it.)

And, about what Sam said about the linux CD, I don't have it, and even if I get its ISO image, I still wouldn't be able to burn it.

I have recently formatted a single drive having windows file for installing an upgraded version of Windows (saving most of my stuff downloaded from the internet).

What should I do now? Call Dell customer care? Or a local technician? Or completely format and re-install windows? Which I do not want to do at all!


Cant tell about permanent solution about fixing your pc but following trick should get your USB/HDD fixed for next run
open command prompt in windows

Type diskpart

type list disk

type select disk n n=your disk number(identify from the list using its size)

type clean

type active

type create primary partition

type select partition 1

type format=ntfs

after this done

close cmd

goto windows explorer and quick format the drive

acutally this process is for formatting the flash drives to make them bootable for os like win 7 but i have used it many times to FIX USB Drives with problems of failed formats,bad file sectors and damaged file works even in fixing usb drives wit prob of unknown capacity label in Windows format tool!!
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Right off the assembly line
I tried following your instructions of temporary use, but it did not work.

I did a complete scan using both AVG and your link too, but it says that my computer has no viruses. What do I do now?

Re-installing windows will help or not?


If it's not a hardware problem then the usb device should be successfully detected in the BIOS.Chek under the boot section of your BIOS if the attached usb devices are listed.If not then it must mean that your laptop's usb controller is damaged or BIOS is virus infected which is highly unlikely.

Pratik Pawar

Gaming for challenge
I had a similar problem a year ago, my 16GB PD is still affected , but my OS is fine now..Its definitely, the work of a virus. here are suggestions which I tried-
1. try Bit-defender total security (trial ver., see digit April 2011) update it & run a full system scan.. if it still doesn't detect any virus.. then there is no virus in Ur PC now, but that virus did its job in Ur PC & went away!!! ya true.!!
2. regarding Linux, even if u cant burn the image.. then install Daemon tools, & in its virtual drive open the image (preferably use ubuntu), now from here u install ubuntu as a software in the windows partition.. then checkout ur PD & DVD drive. try copying into PD, formatting it etc. try burning in ur DVD drive etc.
3. if still not any solution, then best option is format ur OS drive & reinstall it, that shud clean ur PC & DVD drive writing.
4. if ur PD's are not solved, they shud be in warranty period.. then better replace them.
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