9 Ways to Fix USB Drive Access Is Denied

With 9 effective methods, you can get rid of USB drive access is denied in Windows 10 easily. Also, a tip to recover USB drive data is included.


By Lori / Updated on April 3, 2024

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You may have received a "USB access denied" error message, which means that the hard drive or USB port has failed, preventing you from opening the USB device and accessing any data inside.

This article will tell you multiple remedies to correct the “ USB access denied” error and recover data from a USB drive if there is any important data on it.


Why Is Access Denied to the USB Drive?

There are many reasons for USB drive access is denied, some common reasons are listed below:

  • Lack of permission to access the USB device
  • Improper connection of the USB device
  • BitLocker encryption
  • USB device or file system corruption
  • Using hard drive on both Mac and Windows
  • ​Improperly ejecting hard drive
  • Damaged cable used for USB connection

How to Fix USB Drive Denied Issue?

The reason for the "USB access denied" error message has been explained above. Now, let's start solving the problem.

Way 1. Get USB permission

Check your permission settings to see if you are allowed to access, write to, or modify this drive. Please refer to the steps:

1. Connect your USB drive to the computer, and open File Explorer on your computer.

2. Find the inaccessible USB device, right-click on it, and click Properties > Security > Advanced.

3. Locate your username under the Group or user names section and click “Edit”.


4. Tick all the boxes in the Allow column or tick Full control, then press Apply and OK.

Way 2. Scan for viruses

A virus scan is worthwhile before delving into subsequent solutions. Windows Defender provides a convenient way to perform this virus scan. You can do this:

1. Open File Explorer, right-click on your USB drive, and choose "Scan with Microsoft Defender."

Scan Windows Defender

3. For a comprehensive scan, select "Microsoft Defender Antivirus (offline scan)" and click on "Scan now". It can detect and prevent malware that may try to manipulate the master boot record.

Scan Now

Way 3. Disable and enable Windows Defender

Sometimes, your antivirus software can produce false readings. You can see if this is the source of the USB drive access denied error by disabling your antivirus software and reconnecting the USB.

1. Click the Start >Settings>Update & Security>Windows Security >Virus &threat protection.

Click Virus Threat Protection

2. Click Manage settings.

Manage Settings

3. Turn off Real-time protection, and eject the USB safely then reconnect it.


Way 4. Change a drive letter

Sometimes your USB drive access is denied on Windows 10 because the SSD's drive letter is missing or conflicting with another disk. You can resolve this issue by manually assigning a new drive letter to the USB drive in Windows Disk Management.

Step 1. Right-click on "This PC" > "Manage" > “Disk Management”.

Step 2. Right-click on the USB drive and choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths…


Step 3. Click "Add" to add a new drive letter, or click “Change” if there is an existing drive letter, and then select a drive letter from the list for the SSD. Finally, click "OK".


Way 5. Use error checking

If your USB access is still denied, you can follow the steps to check errors manually.

Step 1: Open File Explorer on your computer, find and right-click your inaccessible USB drive, and select “Properties”.

Step 2: Click on “Tools” and find error checking. Click “Check” to proceed.

Check Errors

Step 3: If the tool checks errors on the USB drive, a message will be shown. Then, click “Repair drive”.


Way 6. Use CHKDSK

You can use the Windows command line tool CHKDSK to fix inaccessible USB drives. CHKDSK makes a USB accessible again by fixing its filesystem (if it supports one). But sometimes you may find CHKDSK deleted files, causing some files to become inaccessible and unrecoverable. Please see the next part to recover data. Here are the fix inaccessible USB drive steps.

1. Enter "cmd" in the search box, and click "Run as administrator" to open the Command Prompt window.


2. After opening, enter the command “chkdsk *: /r” (replace "*" with the letter of your USB card), and press Enter.

3. Wait for CHKDSK to complete the process. Depending on the size of your CF card, this process may take several hours.

Way 7. Reinstall the USB Driver

Unstable or corrupted USB drivers can often cause a “USB drive denied "error. You can choose to reinstall or update the disk driver in the Device Manager.

Step 1: Right-click the Start menu and select Device Manager.

Step 2: Right-click Universal Serial Bus Controllers, pick your USB drive and select Uninstall.


Step 3: Once the process is complete, reboot your system. Try to access your device and see if this error still exists.

Way 8. Edit local group policy

Local Group Policy Editor restrictions may deny access to USB connections. Here's how to regain access:

Step 1. Press the “Windows +R” keys to open “Run”. Then type “gpedit.msc” in the Run window to open the local group policy editor.

Type gpedit_msc

Step 2. Go to the option “Computer Configuration” > “Administrative templates” > “System”>“Removable Storage Access”.

Removable Storage Access

Step 3. Ensure Removable Disks: Deny execute access, Removable Disks: Deny read access and Removable Disks: Deny write access are all set to Allow.

Way 9. Format the USB

If none of the above solutions work, you can format the inaccessible USB drive to factory reset it. Here are steps to format USB:

🌟Tip: Formatting will completely delete all data stored on the USB drive. If you have not backed up your data beforehand, you can use data recovery software to recover data from your USB card. Please see the next part.

2. Open File Explorer, right-click your USB card and click Format.

3. Choose the supported File system, check Quick Format, and then click Start.

format usb

How to Recover Data from the Inaccessible USB Drive?

After going through the above solutions, you might have solved the USB access denied or inaccessible error. Regardless of your situation, you may find that you lost some data and want to recover files from a USB device. Thankfully, you still can use data recovery software- MyRecover to recover and get your USB drive data back.

Here are the main features of MyRecover:

  • Recover 200+ formats: Recover deleted Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, PPTX, ODP, CSV, WPS files, and more.
  • Locate USB drive data quickly: Filter the file type, date, or size to filter your needed files.
  • Support all brands of USB: SanDisk, Kingston, Samsung, ADATA, Transcend, PNY, Lexar, etc.
  • Support all types of USB: USB-A, USB-B, USB-C, Micro-USB, Mini-USB, USB 3.1 Gen 2x2, USB 4.0, etc.

Steps to recover data from USB drive

Step 1. Download MyRecover on Windows 10, install and run it. Then hover the mouse over your USB drive and click Scan.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Scan D Disk

Step 2. MyRecover will scan your USB drive automatically and thoroughly to locate all the found data on the USB drive.

Searvh ALBM Files

🌟Tip:  Preview or filter date depending on Files Type, Size, Date, etc.
  • Type: Select the file type (Documents, Images, Videos, Audios, Mails, Webpages, Compressed files, etc.)
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, 512MB above, etc.)

Step 3. Once the scan is complete, you will see a list of data that MyRecover found on the USB drive. Select the files you want to recover and press Recover x files.

Recover ABLM Files

Step 4. You need to select a new location to avoid the recovered data from being overwritten.

Select New Location

Congratulations. Your data from the USB drive has been recovered!

  • You can do USB data recovery if needed, please upgrade to the advanced editions.
  • If you are unable to recover USB data with software, it's advisable to seek help from data recovery services such as Geek Squad. They have trained experts and advanced equipment to handle even the most difficult data recovery cases.


Using the above 9 ways, you can quickly solve the problem of USB drive access is denied on Windows 10 or 11. You can also get useful information to recover data from your USB drive. We recommend that you take regular backups of your storage devices to reduce the risk of data loss. When disaster strikes, you can quickly restore files from backups and get them back in no time.


Why my USB drive access is denied?
It typically occurs due to permission issues or corrupted files on the USB drive. It can also result from antivirus software or a malfunctioning USB port.
How can I fix the "access denied" issue on my USB drive?
You can try changing the USB drive's permissions, scanning it for malware, or checking if it's write-protected. If none of these work, you may need to recover data and format the drive.
What does "USB drive is read-only" mean, and how do I fix it?
"USB drive is read-only" means you can't write or modify data on it. To fix this, check for a physical write protection switch on the drive or use disk management tools to change its status.
Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.