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How to open USB stick

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How to open USB stick: You have been given a USB stick with some files that you need to view on your PC but, after connecting it to your computer, you don’t see anything happening on the desktop. You would therefore like to understand if the device has been correctly recognized by the operating system or if there is any problem that prevents you from browsing the data inside it and transferring new ones. The problem is that, not being particularly skilled in technology, you have no idea how to proceed.

Well, don’t worry, I’m here to help you out. In this guide of mine, I will illustrate you how to open USB stick so that you can manage the data contained inside it, whether you have connected it to a PC with Windows operating system or to a Mac. Also, in case you need to access the files contained in the USB stick from the your smartphone or tablet, I will give you some useful tips in this regard. If then you encounter problems with the operation of the device, I will also indicate some possible solutions to restore it.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s start immediately: sit comfortably and give me five minutes of your free time. I can assure you that, at the end of the reading, you will have learned all those useful notions to open a USB stick and manage the files inside it. All that remains for me is to wish you a good read and have fun!

Open USB stick on Windows

When you insert a USB flash drive into the appropriate slot on your PC, the automatic playback function is generally started on Windows (AutoPlay), which shows a series of options to manage the content on the unit.

These options are shown inside a box that is shown in different positions, based on the version of Windows installed on the PC. Up Windows 10, for example, after waiting for the automatic installation of the drivers necessary to access the files on the stick, you can immediately click on the box that appears at the bottom right of the desktop, in order to display the screen with all the possible operations to be performed .

The options available depend on the type of files inside the USB stick and the installed software. In any case, to view the files inside the key, click on the item Open folder to view files.

Up Windows 7instead, after the drivers are installed to recognize the hardware, a box is shown in the center of the screen through which you can make some choices: play the audio / video content (Play), import multimedia content to your PC (Import images and videos), browse the contents of the USB stick (Open folder to view files) or use the hardware as a backup drive for Windows 7 (Use this drive for backup).

In the event that the function does not work AutoPlay Windows, you can act from Control panel (for all versions of Windows) or from Settings Windows 10.

Up Windows 10, press the key combination Win + i or click onicon with a gear that you find in the menu Start. In the panel of Settings select items Devices > AutoPlay and make sure it’s moved up ON the lever near the wording Use AutoPlay for all media and devices.

So make sure your voice is set Ask for confirmation every time under the voice Removable drive, to show you the options selection box when you connect the USB stick; alternatively, choose the item you prefer from the drop-down menu, in order to automate the behavior of Windows when inserting the USB stick in the PC slot.

If you still use Windows 7instead, press the button Windows on the keyboard and click on the entry Control panel. If you don’t see it, you can start the Windows search function by typing the terms “control panel”And selecting the corresponding search result.

In the screen that is shown to you, then go to the items Hardware and Sound > AutoPlay and make sure the box is checked Enable AutoPlay for all media and devices.

In the event that you have missed the autoplay panel or you have disabled this feature, you can explore the files inside the USB stick manually. To do this, open File Explorerby clicking on thea folder icon you find in taskbar, and select the item corresponding to name of the USB flash drive, Such as Kingston (F 🙂, located in the side menu.

I remind you that, in order to correctly open a USB stick on a Windows PC, this must have a compatible file system. The device must be set in FAT32, exFAT or NTFS. If you have a USB stick set to HFS or HFS +, i.e. those developed by Apple, this will not be accessible from Windows.

In this case, you need software that allows you to do this, such as MacDrive, which I told you about in this my guide. If you want to deepen the topic, you can consult my guide on how to format a USB stick, in which I explained in detail the different types of file system to choose for your storage device.

Open USB stick on macOS

Up MacOS, opening a USB stick is really simple. What you need to do is simply connect the device to the USB port, so that the operating system mounts it on Desk, ready for use. By double-clicking on the icon in question, you can start the Finder and access the files it contains.

If your Mac doesn’t have a standard USB (Type-A) port, it probably has one Thunderbolt (USB-C), for which you will need an adapter, such as those listed below.

In addition, you can access the files contained in a USB stick directly from the Finder (the smiling face icon on the Dock bar), through the left side panel, by clicking on the name of the storage device.

Computers running the macOS operating system can open any storage device, regardless of the file system used. As for that though NTFSinstead, macOS only allows you to read the files contained within the peripherals with this file system, without any possibility of transferring or creating new data.

In this case, you can use some third-party tools for macOS that allow you to enable full support for NTFS, such as Paragon NFTS for Mac. If you want to know more about how to enable data writing on USB sticks in NTFS on macOS, I recommend you read this my guide dedicated to the topic. If, on the other hand, you just want to change the file system of the USB stick with a fully natively compatible one, I recommend you read this my tutorial, in which I explain how to format a storage drive on macOS.

Open USB stick on Android

The devices Android they allow you to open USB sticks both with file system FAT32 is exFAT, which in NTFS. What you need is a USB stick with a micro USB port or USB Type-C, like the one you can see below.

If not, you can use any USB hub or adapter with micro USB or USB Type-C port, to connect storage devices equipped with USB Type-A port, of which you can find some examples below.

When you connect the USB stick to an Android smartphone or tablet via hub or adapter, you will be shown a notification in the Notification Center, indicating that the device has been correctly recognized. Once this is done, start any app for the management and exploration of files, such as Google files, and select the entry for the name of the USB flash drive, so as to access the files inside it.

Open USB stick on iOS

A USB flash drive can be inserted in the appropriate slot Lightning dell ‘iPhone or ofiPad to view and transfer a copy of the data stored in the device memory. It is not possible to connect any USB stick, but you need to have one that has the brings Lightining and thededicated app to access the data reading and writing functions.

If you don’t already have one, you can refer to the list of USB storage devices that you can find below.

on iPad Pro released from 2018, however, a USB Type-C port is available, which facilitates the connection operations of peripherals with this Apple device. For this reason, you can use any USB stick with a Type-C connector or a USB Type-A to Type-C adapter to connect mass storage devices and import media files directly with the app Photo.

Open USB stick on PS4

If you have one PlayStation 4 and you want to use your USB stick with this console, the operation is simple. First, insert the USB stick into the appropriate slot on the game console and then start the app Media player.

Once this is done, among the items you see, select the one corresponding to name of the USB flash drive and press the button X on the gamepad to access it. By doing so, you will be able to play the multimedia content inside the mass storage device via the PlayStation 4.

If, however, you want to use the USB stick as a storage device to install applications on it, it must have requirements to be respected: it must be a USB 3.0 or higher mass device, from at least 250GB of total space, up to a maximum of 8TB.

If the USB stick meets these requirements, launch the control panel Settings PS4 and select items Devices > USB storage devices > Mass Storage Device [nome dispositivo]. In the screen that is shown to you, press the button Format as extended storage memory and wait for the process to end, so as to use the USB stick as additional memory for the PS4.

Open a USB stick without formatting it

It may happen that, by inserting a USB stick into the USB slot of the computer, this is not recognized by the operating system, as if it had not been connected. The possible problems can be of different magnitude: the USB stick or the USB port of the PC have hardware damage (often not resolvable), there are virtual errors in the storage device (which I will tell you about in this chapter) or hardware recognition for operating system errors is not started. In the latter case, the possible solutions may be different, depending on the operating system in use.


Up Windows, the problem of recognition of the hardware could result from a malfunction of the drivers or the failure to assign the letter to the peripheral. But let’s go in order.

In case Windows has not assigned a letter to the device, right click on the button Start (the flag icon located in the lower left corner of the screen) and, in the context menu, select the item Disk management. In the screen that opens, right click on the name of the USB flash drive, and select the item Change drive letter and path from the menu that appears.

Now, in the window that opens, click on the button add, select the item Assign this drive letter and choose one of the unassigned letters from the drop-down menu alongside. Click on OK to confirm the assignment.

If, on the other hand, the problem derives from errors on the USB port drivers, you will have to act via the panel Device management, which you can reach from the context menu that you find by right clicking on the button Start Windows.

After the panel has successfully started, locate the entry USB controller, press onicon with a triangle to expand it and verify that all peripherals are active. You can verify this by the fact that there is noicon with an arrow on the different USB icons.

Otherwise, right click on the disabled item and, in the context menu, press on Enable device, Restarting the PC. Now, by connecting the USB stick, Windows should correctly recognize it.

If the problem persists, you can try selecting the item Uninstall device and restart your PC. Windows will download the drivers from the Internet to ensure the correct functioning of the USB port.


Up MacOS, solving the recognition problems of a USB stick takes little time. Often the problem arises from a malfunction of the System Management Controller (SMC), which requires a reset to restore it.

Before starting the reset of this component, I recommend you check that the USB flash drive is correctly connected to the Mac. Then click on theicon with bitten apple and select the item About this Mac. In the box that is shown to you, press the button System report and, in the new screen you see, click on the USB entry, in the left side panel.

If, among the entries, you should read the name of the USB flash drive, then just click on the entries Go > Go to the folder, which you can find in the top menu bar. In the box you see, type the string / Volumes / and press Submit on the keyboard. You will see all the storage devices within the screen of the Finder. Now that you have the Finder open, go to the menu Finder > Preferences (at the top) and put a check mark on the box External disks, to display the icon of the USB stick mounted on the Desk by macOS.

If, however, you do not have to read the name of the USB flash drive inside the System report, you need to reset theSMC, procedure that often solves this kind of problem. Below I will explain how to proceed, based on the type of computer with macOS in your possession.

  • If the MacBook is equipped with removable battery, turn it off, remove the battery and hold the power off button for 5 seconds. Re-mount the battery and turn on the MacBook again.
  • If the MacBook has one non-removable battery, turn it off and on again, keeping the keys pressed uppercase + ctrl + option + power button. Hold for about 10 seconds and then release the keys. Then press the again power button to start the MacBook.
  • If you own a Mac which connects directly to the wall socket, switch it off and disconnect the power cable. Wait about 15 seconds, plug in the power cord again and wait another 5 seconds. Now, press the power button, to start the Mac.
  • For Apple computers with T2 chip, turn off the device and hold the power button for 10 seconds. Release the button, wait a few seconds and press it just one more time to start it normally. Alternatively, in case of Macbook with T2 chip, after turning it off, hold down the keys Shift right + option left + left ctrl for 7 seconds. Keep pressing these buttons and also press the power button for another 7 seconds. Release all the keys and wait a few seconds. At this point, press the button again power button to turn on the MacBook.

Open a damaged USB stick

If your USB stick has problems being recognized by the operating system in use on your computer, most likely the problems arise from virtual errors. These can be solved without any need to format the hardware, as the default tools of Windows or macOS will correct them, giving you the opportunity to open the USB stick.

Up Windows, the tool to use is Error checking. Its screen is displayed when you insert a problem USB stick or reach it from the panel Property hardware. In the latter case, open File Explorer, right click on the name of the USB flash drive, located in the left sidebar, and select the tab Instruments from the panel you see.

After that, press the button Check it out that you find next to the wording Error checking and wait for the analysis to complete. Then press the button Analyze and restore units, to solve problems detected by the Windows tool.

Up MacOSinstead, you can rely onDisk Utility, via the function SOS.. Start the Launchpad and click on the icon Disk Utility. In the window you see, click on the name of the USB flash drive, then press the button SOS. and finally on Run. In doing so, the analysis and recovery procedure will be performed to correct the virtual errors of the USB stick.

If you want more information on how to restore a USB stick without formatting it, I recommend you read this my guide dedicated to the topic.

If, however, you want to format the partition anyway, I recommend reading this my guide dedicated to the topic. Finally, if I wanted to recover some data lost from a USB stick, due to the errors mentioned above, I recommend you read my guide on how to recover deleted files.