Vista Doesn’t Recognize USB Drive

Recently my brother’s laptop which runs Windows Vista home premium no longer recognizes any USB drives. Every time a USB drive connected to the laptop, you are asked to install the drivers for that device. A while back at my part-time work place, a customer returned a laptop because it stopped recognizing the USB thumb drives.

The good news is I found the solution (from the Internet) on how to fix this problem. The file INFCACHE.1 in C:\windows\inf\ could be corrupted which is the main cause of the problem.

So to fix this, we need to remove that file. First, locate that file, right click on it and select properties. Then, set the permission so that normal user can delete that file. Finally, just delete that file and don’t forget to try plugging any USB drive again.

How I wish I had known this before.

Source: Vista does not recognize any removable USB drive

Warning: If you decide to follow the above mini step to fix your USB thumb drive problem, please proceed cautiously at YOUR OWN risk. I take no responsibility for any damages it may cause to your computer or equipment. It has been reported by someone that the above step did not work for him.

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26 thoughts on “Vista Doesn’t Recognize USB Drive

  1. I have no comments on your comment. I personally don’t use Windows operating system myself. It’s just that the problem with USB drive unrecognized happens a bit too often. I’m quite happy that it could be so easily fixed.

  2. FiC says:

    I’ve tried the ‘delete’ inf1 solution several times. It doesn’t work. The weird thing is that vista still recognizes my 5-year-old 128mb pendrive usb 1.1, but it will no longer recognize my ~2 year old 6gb seagate usb 2.0

    I’m so sick and tired of Vista / Microsoft / Windows in general at this point. Between this driver problem, not being able to get fucking SP1 to install, the random hardware issues that pop up in utterly unexpected fashion, and the performance hit that I’ve taken when I spent $2k on a new laptop and a SUPPOSEDLY ‘improved’ OS (from XP) … honestly, I think this will be the last windows machine I’ll own. I’m just done with this shit. If I want to play games, I’ll buy a console. I can’t afford to waste my time / money / effort / mental stress cleaning up the bullshit that spews from iteration after iteration of MS OSes.

    Frustrated in Chicago

  3. Isaac says:

    i having the same problems as Fic does, those two problems are killing me, killing my time , killing my fun, killing my money, killing everything, u know what, i actually called for tech support from mircosoft, and the expert from there still couldn’t fit the problem. finally , i reinstalled the vista, fit the sp1 problem, but still struggling at the usb one! dame it!

  4. Oscar says:

    I totally agree. Vista sucks in so many ways and i can’t go back to XP because my brand new laptop doesn’t have complete drivers for XP… how “nice”…
    I just got a brand new camera SR300 and vista didn’t want to recognize it… So i had to use a virtual XP machine using VMware WS and it works ok but come on MS… what kind of crap sw are you developing…

    Hopefully doing the suggestion above vista will recognize it.

  5. leba says:

    your solution doesn’t work at all. It actually makes your windows to be corrpted! at the end you won’t able to restart your computer. Don’t take a chance.

  6. Sorry to hear that lots of you guys still have problem getting USB drive to recognized in Windows Vista. As I mentioned in the post, I don’t use Windows Vista on a regular basis. I only use it at work, and so far I don’t have any USB drive problem.

    Leba, thanks for giving a warning. I just edited the post to tell anyone who wanna try the fixing intruction to do it cautiously with his/her own risk.

  7. Dan says:

    Try this. Remove the battery with the power off for 10 seconds. Put the battery back in, and power up as normal. Works like a charm.

  8. Bob says:

    Thanks very much. Rather than delete the infcache file I just renamed it to infcachez after setting permissions to allow this. I then plugged in USB drive and it properly installed driver and I could real the external usb drive. Great tip – thanks again

  9. Corina, you may have to try to search for more solutions on the web. Unfortunately, I don’t have issues with usb drives anymore, and I don’t know how to recreate the problems in order to test it.

    Good luck, and should you find a solution, it’ll be appreciated if you could share it.

  10. mik says:

    Tried it, but it didn’t work. When I plug in the USB drive, I hear the “sound” that acknolwedges a USB device, however the flash drive doesn’t show up on “My Computer”

  11. WESLEY says:

    This fix did not work for me, Vista wont recognize any of my external devices…and I cannot not find a fix, one minute it worked..then next minute it doesn’t….where do i go for help?

    • Sorry to hear about your problem. I don’t know how to fix it either. I don’t have any problems with the Vista machine I have at work. You can try plug in your drives with other machines that run Vista. If the drives work fine, then maybe you should consider reinstalling Vista on your computer. Or even better, wait till Windows 7 to come out and install it instead.

      Good luck!

  12. Alex K says:

    Thank you so much, typed my problem into google and you were the first hit with advice that was easy to follow and worked perfectly. your a life saver,thank you again.

  13. R0r0 says:

    RoRo (SA)

    It worked for me! Brilliant. Now can u help me boot my linux. I only see vertical dotted lines on the screen on top of the DELL logo. I’m dual booting Fedora and Vista. Vista boots fine, Fedora doesn’t.

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