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Cannot Copy File to Flash Drive – How to Fix

Having trouble copying a file to your flash drive? Here’s how to fix the issue.

Preliminary Steps and Device Connection

To begin troubleshooting why you cannot copy a file to your flash drive, start by checking the preliminary steps. Make sure your flash drive is properly connected to your computer via a USB port. If using a Mac, check Finder to see if the drive appears on the desktop. For Windows users, open File Explorer and look for the drive in the menu bar.

If the flash drive is connected but you still cannot copy the file, check the device connection. Try plugging the flash drive into a different USB port on your computer to see if that resolves the issue. If that doesn’t work, try connecting the flash drive to a different computer to determine if the problem lies with the drive or the computer.

Ensuring a proper connection between your computer and the flash drive is crucial for successful file transfer.

Format Drive and Switch File System

Flash drive format screen

Step Description
1 Insert the flash drive into a USB port on your computer.
2 Open File Explorer and locate the flash drive under “This PC”.
3 Right-click on the flash drive and select “Format”.
4 Choose a file system (e.g. FAT32, exFAT, NTFS) and click “Start”.
5 Wait for the formatting process to complete.
6 Once the drive is formatted, try copying the file again.

Provide Administrator Permission or Take Ownership

To fix the issue of not being able to copy a file to a flash drive, you may need to provide administrator permission or take ownership. First, try right-clicking on the file you want to copy and select “Properties”. Then, go to the “Security” tab and click on “Edit”. From there, you can add your user account and assign the necessary permissions.

If that doesn’t work, you can take ownership of the file by going to the “Advanced” settings in the same window and changing the owner to your user account. This should allow you to successfully copy the file to your flash drive.

Optimize Hard Drive and Decimal Symbol Settings

To optimize your hard drive and decimal symbol settings to fix the issue of not being able to copy files to your flash drive, follow these steps:

1. Check your hard drive settings: Go to the Finder menu bar, click on “Go,” then select “Utilities.” Open “Disk Utility” and select your hard drive. Click on “First Aid” and then “Run” to check for any errors and repair them if necessary.

2. Adjust decimal symbol settings: Make sure your computer is set to use a period (.) as the decimal symbol instead of a comma (,) to ensure compatibility with your flash drive’s file system. Go to your system preferences and change the decimal symbol accordingly.

3. Format your flash drive: If the issue persists, try formatting your flash drive using the ExFAT file system, which is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems. This will ensure smooth file transfers between different devices.

By optimizing your hard drive and decimal symbol settings and formatting your flash drive correctly, you should be able to fix the problem of not being able to copy files successfully.

Address “File Too Large” and Other Error Messages

If you are encountering a “File Too Large” error message when trying to copy a file to a flash drive, it may be due to the file size exceeding the storage capacity of the drive. To fix this issue, try compressing the file or splitting it into smaller parts before transferring it to the flash drive.

Another common error message when copying files is “File System Error (-1073741819)”. This could indicate an issue with the file system of the flash drive. Try reformatting the flash drive using Disk Utility on a Mac or Disk Management on Windows.

If you are getting an error message related to file permissions, check the permissions of the file on your computer and make sure you have the necessary rights to copy it to the flash drive.

Reinstall USB Controllers and Secure Data

To fix the issue of not being able to copy files to a flash drive, you can try reinstalling the USB controllers on your computer. First, go to Device Manager by pressing Windows key + X and selecting Device Manager from the menu. Look for Universal Serial Bus controllers, right-click on each one, and select Uninstall. Then, restart your computer to reinstall the USB controllers automatically.

If reinstalling the USB controllers doesn’t solve the problem, you can try securing your data by encrypting the files on your flash drive. There are various encryption software available that can help protect your files from unauthorized access. Make sure to choose a strong password and keep it secure.

By reinstalling the USB controllers and encrypting your data, you can ensure that your files are safe and secure while using a flash drive for transferring data.

Eject and Encrypt Flash Drive

Flash drive being ejected and encrypted.

To fix the issue of not being able to copy a file to your flash drive, first make sure the flash drive is properly connected to your computer. Then, check if the drive is encrypted and if so, decrypt it before attempting to copy the file. Next, ensure that the drive is properly ejected before removing it from your computer. To do this on a Mac, simply drag the drive icon to the trash. On Windows, right-click the drive icon and select “Eject.

” Failure to properly eject the flash drive can result in data loss or corruption.


Why am I unable to copy files to my USB drive?

You are unable to copy files to your USB drive due to potential reasons like lack of space on the target partition, write-protection on the drive, or a file system limit on the destination partition.

Why can’t some files be copied?

Some files can’t be copied due to reasons such as insufficient free space on the target disk, corruption of the target disk, encryption of the file, or system limitations.

How do I grant permission to a flash drive to copy files?

To grant permission to a flash drive to copy files, you need to locate the drive letter for the device, right-click on it, and select “Properties”. Then navigate to the Security tab and click on ‘To change permissions, click Edit’.

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