External drives like USB drives are extremely helpful for copying files to and fro a PC or a laptop. You can then transfer these files and use them on any device or carry them even when you are traveling. However, sometimes, many users complain that the USB Flash Drive is not copying files. This means that they are unable to copy files from a USB to a PC/laptop.
Some users also complain they can’t copy files from a PC/laptop to USB. Some error messages you may encounter are, “You’ll need to provide administrator permission to copy this file”, “The file is too large for the destination file system, etc.” Besides, although the computer recognizes the flash drive, it fails to save pictures or documents to it. You may also notice that “Ctrl C+V” is not working, the Save or Save As option is not working, or even dragging files to the flash drive fails.
Why am I not able to copy files to my USB drive?
There could be several reasons why you can’t copy files from USB to PC or vice versa. While the primary reason could be the USB flash drive is corrupted, it could also be possible that you are trying to copy larger files that exceed the drive capacity. If that’s not the case, it could also be due to incorrect file format.
However, in some cases, the issue may arise due to insufficient file permission if the USB is write-protected. It could also occur due to incorrect sharing settings if the files are set to read-only mode, or if the disk runs short of memory. Fortunately, we have some proven solutions that can help you to fix the issue when the USB flash drive is not copying files.
USB flash drive not copying files
A USB drive, a flash drive, or a memory stick is a portable device that helps you transfer and save data from a PC/laptop, and that you can carry anywhere. However, if the USB flash drive can’t copy files from USB to PC or vice versa, we have a list of solutions to help you fix the issue.
- Preliminary steps
- Format the disk to NTFS
- Take ownership of the file/s
- Optimize your hard drive
- Change the Decimal Symbol Settings
- Reinstall USB controllers
- Other suggestions you can try.
1] Preliminary steps
Before you move on to the primary troubleshooting methods, the first thing you should check is if the problem is with the USB or the PC. You can check this by connecting the USB to another PC. Also, if the file size is large and your PC is of average configuration, it will take time to copy.
It could also be possible that your USB drive is write-protected since it’s locked. So, check the drive and ensure that the lock switch is in the correct position. You may also check if your files and folders are in Read-only mode. In this case, remove the USB stick and disable the read-only mode for the files you want to copy. Besides, ensure the USB controller drivers are updated to the latest version, and run a virus scan to check that it’s not infected.
2] Format the flash drive to NTFS
If the lock switch of the USB flash drive is turned on, but the write protection is still enabled, you would need to format it to NTFS. In this case, you can either use the Command Prompt or the File Explorer to format the flash drive. But before you format your USB drive, make sure that you create a backup of all the files in it.
3] Take ownership of the file/s
If the flash drive can’t copy a file from USB to PC, it could be due to the security settings of the drive that blocks it from copying file(s). In this case, you would have to obtain permission to access the files, and then you can copy them. For this, you may have to take full ownership of the files you want to copy.
4] Optimize your hard drive
Sometimes, the USB flash drive can’t copy files from the PC due to a slower hard drive, low disk space, or the overall performance of the HDD is low. In this case, you can use the built-in Windows Disk Defragmenter tool, increase the Page File size, or enable write caching to optimize the hard disk drive.
5] Change the Decimal Symbol Settings
Sometimes, you may see an error message Device parameter incorrect, if the decimal symbol is not set correctly to .(dot). This can be one of the reasons why USB is not copying files.
In this case, open the Control Panel > go to View by and select Category > Clock and Region > Change date, time, or number formats > Region window > Formats tab > Additional settings > Customize Format > Numbers tab > Decimal symbol > Set it to .(dot)
6] Reinstall USB controllers
If none of the above methods work, you can try uninstalling and then reinstalling the USB flash drive. For this, remove the flash drive, open Device Manager, click on View at the top, and select Show hidden device. Now, expand the Disk drives section, right-click on the flash drive, and select Uninstall device. In the Uninstall Device prompt, press Uninstall again to confirm. Once done, reconnect the USB drive, and it will be installed again automatically.
7] Other suggestions you can try
How do I copy a file to a USB flash drive?
To copy and save a file to a USB flash drive, click on a blank space, and press Ctrl + V. You will now see the copied file(s) in the File Explorer window. If you want to paste files into a specific folder in the USB drive, double-click on the folder before pasting. This way, you can easily copy file(s)to your flash drive. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file from your computer to a specific folder in the USB drive, and the file will be copied.
Why are my flash drive files not working?
At times, even if the memory of your USB drive is almost full, it may not show any data. So, if your USB drive is not showing files and folders in Windows 11/10, it could be either because you did not eject the drive safely. It could also arise due to changes in settings, and more. In this case, you can try different solutions like uninstalling/re-installing the USB drive, running ChKDsk, or any other methods as shown above to fix the issue.