Fix Flash Drive showing Up as Disk Drive

I have a 128 GB USB drive where I have stored a lot of important work documents is acting strange. When I tried to test the flash drive my Windows PC will beep and tell me that the USB is recognized. However, when I go to the explorer it shows the flash drive as a new drive "E" written as "USB Drive (E:)". Then a pop-up window shows up saying, "Please insert a disk into USB Drive (E:)". Windows 10 thinks it's a CD drive. Is there any way to repair this or not? How can I access my important files? That pop-up window prevents further reading.

This is a quite strange and frustrating problem that flash drive users might face where the PC recognizes the flash drive as an empty CD-ROM due to some internal drive issues. When a flash drive appears as a CD drive, you won’t be able to access any data stored on it and whenever you try to access the drive, Windows will show an error message saying, “there is no disk in drive E: – Insert a disk and try again”. This problem becomes a nightmare when the USB drive has your important data stored in it. 

Why is my flash drive showing up as a CD?

There are a lot of possible reasons because of which a flash drive can show up as an empty CD drive. Here are a few possibilities of why a USB thinks its a CD drive:

  • corrupted files
  • hard drive related issues
  • Outdated drivers
  • Corrupt USB drive
  • thumb drive formatting issues
  • operating system related issues

Whatever might be the reason, you don’t have to worry as the flash drive can be still used and the data can be recovered. You just have to first retrieve/ recover the data from the flash drive and then format it. Follow the next segment of the write-up to know-how and quickly fix the USB showing up as a disk drive issue. 

How do I fix a Flash Drive That is Showing Up as CD Drive?

To fix the flash drive that is showing up as a CD drive, first, you need to restore all the data from the faulty thumb drive. In the next step, you will be reformatting the USB flash drive to rebuild its file system so that you can access it easily without any trouble.

Phase 1: Recovering Data from Flash Drive that shows up as CD Drive

The files stored inside the USB stick are our first priority as they are irreplaceable as compared to the flash drive. Thus, it is very important that we recover the data from the flash drive. 

In order to recover data from a flash drive, you will need reliable data recovery software. According to the expert's recommendation, you should use Remo Flash Drive Recovery Software to perform quick recovery of data from the flash drive. The tool offers an easy-to-use GUI with self-explained options. Moreover, it will help you to recover data from a USB flash drive even after formatting. Here are the steps to recover data from a USB flash drive that shows up as CD Drive using Remo Hard Drive Recovery software.

Download Remo Recover to recover data from Flash drive in WindowsDownload Remo Recover to restore data from flash drive on Mac

Phase 2: Repair The Flash Drive Showing Up as Disk Drive

After restoring all the important files next step is to repair the flash drive that is showing up as a disk drive. To repair the flash drive you need to format it either by using the “Disk Management tool” or “DISK PART” command via Command Prompt in Windows. However, make sure that you have followed the first step of retrieving important from the USB because once you run the commands the files saved in the drive will be lost forever.

Steps to Fix The USB Thumb Drive Using Diskpart In Windows:

  • Connect the faulty USB flash drive to the computer.
  • Go to the Windows search bar and search for the Command Prompt (Admin), and open it. 
  • Once the CMD windows open up, type disk part then hit Enter.
  • Then type list disk and hit ENTER. After this, all the devices connected to your PC will be shown on the screen.
  • Type the USB drive number in the select disk option and hit Enter. Cross-check once before hitting enter if you have entered the right drive number to avoid the formatting of your internal hard drive.
  • Then type clean and hit enter. After that type create part pri to create a new primary partition and press Enter. Type both active and select partition 1, then type format fs=fat32 and press Enter.
  • The process may take some time to finish.
  • Once the repairing process is finished the drive must be formatted for better use. If you want to restore data after you have formatted the USB flash drive, stop using the drive and do not save any new data on it. Download the Remo Recover Software and follow the same steps as explained in the previous segment. 

If Windows is not able to format the flash drive, it can be because of the USB flash drive shown as an empty CD Rom. In such a scenario, you can use the Disk Management method to reformat the drive.

  • Download, install and run Remo Recover.
  • Choose the USB flash drive which you wish to recover and click on Scan.

       Note: If you are unable to find the USB flash drive, click on the Can’t Find Drive option and choose it.Cant Find Drive

  • The software will initiate a Quick scan, once the scan is complete the tool will run the Deep Scan wherein it recovers data sector by sector of the drive. (You can simultaneously recover with the Dynamic Recovery View option while the scan is running)
  • After completing the scan, you can see the recovered files under Lost Partition.List of Recovered Files
  • You can Preview the recovered files to examine if the data is restored properly.Preview the Recovered Files
  • If you are satisfied with the recovery session select the files you want to restore and click on the Save option to save the files to your preferred location.Select the Location

Phase 3: Fix The USB Flash Drive Showing Up As CD Drive By Reformatting It

Normally, formatting can be done very easily using two simple steps:

  • Select the flash drive, right-click on it
  • Then, choose the format option from the drop-down menu

However, in this case, this method won’t help you to format the drive because it is not showing up as a flash drive. To format the flash drive, you need to utilize the Disk Management tool. It helps to create, delete, resize and format the flash drive easily. Follow the below guide to formatting the flash drive that shows up as CD Drive.

  • Insert the USB stick into the computer. Then right-click on the My Computer option and select Manage.
  • Then click on the Disk Management option from the left.

Fix The USB Flash Drive Showing Up As CD Drive By Reformatting It

  • Then choose the USB drive that is recognized as an empty CD drive and right-click on the drive and select the "Format" option.
  • It will take few seconds to complete the formatting process. After completion, remove and reconnect the flash drive to the computer and check whether it appears as a removable disk or CD drive.

Note: If you are unable to access files even though your USB drive shows full, learn how to get back your USB drive to its original state and access files easily.

In case, Disk Management fails to reformat the drive, then you have to use a third-party partition manager software to erase the flash drive.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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