Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #231 12/18/2013

Question: Why will my USB thumb drive not work in Media Player?


When this person went to sync (synchronize) their songs to their USB thumb drive so they could play the songs on their MP3 player in their car, Windows Media player would not recognize the USB thumb drive. However the drive showed fine in Windows Explorer (Computer in Start menu).

This was a brand new USB drive and you could copy files fine in Explorer, just it was not recognized in Windows Media Player.

The USB drive was an 8 gigabyte thumb drive made by SanDisk. The problem is that new USB thumb drives made by SanDisk are certified by Microsoft for use in Windows 8. For some reason Microsoft requires USB thumb drives certified for Windows 8 to appear as hard drives in Windows and not as removable drives. Certification just means that the manufacturer has had Microsoft test the drives to use in Windows 8 and gives the manufacturer the right to list Windows 8 on the packaging. There does not appear to be any way to change the setting that does this. Re-formatting the drive to FAT32 or NTFS has no effect.

This means if you want the USB thumb drive to appear as a removable drive in Windows that you will need to make sure it is not listed on the packaging as workable in Windows 8. Windows Media Player and a number of games use removable drives and only recognize drives if Windows sees as a removable drive.

Although Microsoft has certified some drives to work in Windows 8 and has not certified others, all your USB thumb drives should work fine in Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8 without a problem as long as they were not formatted to use in Linux or a different operating system and even then most likely they will work.

Watch the packaging when you buy USB thumb drives if you will be using them in Windows Media Player or in games and make sure Windows 8 is not listed. At this time it appears only the drives from SanDisk are affected.

Thanks to a good friend Moe Gass for the question.