Why does this document on my thumb drive not open?

Ryan February 28, 2011

I have a family member who is trying to open a document from their thumb drive, but they are unable to open it. Is there any possible reasons why it might be happening and possible solutions for it?

  1. Tina
    March 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm


    did you try any of the suggestions above and were you able to open the document on your thumb drive?

  2. fruitgeek
    March 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    There may be a virus, or maybe the user unplugged the drive while a document was saving. I accidentally did that one time and the computer said "delayed write failed." I don't remember exactly what, if anything, I lost, but this is a possible scenario.

    Try running antivirus/antimalware to rule out that possibility because with a delayed write fail, I doubt anything can be recovered (most likely, without good hacking skills and maybe not even then)

    March 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hello, it could also happened that there are more than one usb flashdrives plugged in to your computer. This happens a lot specially when you are using the usb front connectors. If you have two usb flashdrives connected to the front header, most times the system has problems reading/writing to both. It could see one well but if you try copying a file from one usb to the other it would copy it but you will be unable to open it because it did not copy properly. The other reasons for this to happen where explained already, for example, there is no default program to read the file, file could be corrupted, problems with permissions, etc.

  4. Anonymous
    March 1, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Try it on another PC.
    does your thumb drive has a lock at the side? at the side there is a tiny little "lock & unlock" thataccidentally pushed it to "unlock" and thus cannot open the file. you may want to look through your thrumb drive again.

    The occasional file reading problems occur because you have write-caching enabled for that device, and you sometimes remove the thumbdrive before Windows has finished writing data to the thumbdrive.
    To see if write-caching is enabled, right-click the thumbdrive's icon in My Computer and click Properties. Then click the Hardware tab, select your thumbdrive from the list, and click the Properties button. Then click the Policies tab and enable 'Optimize for Quick Removal.' This will disable write-caching.

    if its a virus attack or corruption you can try to recover by
    1. Show hidden and operating system files.
    Goto Control Panel -> Folder Options -> View Tab -> Under Hidden Files and Folders, select ‘Show hidden files and folders’
    Goto Control Panel -> Folder Options -> View Tab -> uncheck ‘Hide protected Operating system files’.

    2. Now check if the files are present on the flash drive.
    3. Restore the settings from folder options to previous state.

  5. Tina
    March 1, 2011 at 2:09 am


    to give you a satisfying answer we need more information.

    What kind of document is it? What is the error message when trying to open the document. Within which operating system is your family member trying to open the document?

    Based on the information you provided, I can only guess. The file could be damaged. Maybe it can only be opened by an Administrator (access rights). Or the program needed to open the file might not be installed on the respective computer. All of the above should cause a respective error message.