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How to reconnect an ejected USB drive on Windows 10

You can disconnect or eject a USB drive or external drive from Windows 10. There’s no physical button for the job. Instead, you have to either right-click the drive and select Eject from the context menu or use the system tray to eject it. If you’ve ejected a drive and want to access it again, you likely physically remove it from your system and then connect it again. This prompts your system to scan for hardware changes and detect the ‘new’ drive. This is fine if it’s easy to disconnect the drive but, if it’s hard to reach, you can remount an ejected USB drive without physically removing and connecting it again. Here’s how.

Warning: This trick may momentarily disconnect all devices that are connected to your system via a USB port. If you can still use your system without a USB mouse e.g., via a touchpad or a touch screen, you can use this method. If not, you will not be able to interact with your system until you restart it or force it to detect new hardware.

Remount ejected USB drive

Connect a USB drive and then eject it from Windows 10. Open Device Manager and go to View>Devices by connection. Under this new view of the devices, look for your drive. It will have a yellow exclamation icon on it. Find the device that it is connected to. In the screenshot below, this device was connected to the PC via the USB Root Hub (USB 3.0). Right-click the device and select ‘Disable Device’ from the context menu. If the disable option is missing, use the uninstall device option. Take note of the device that it a sub-group of. In the screenshot below, it is a sub-group of the Intel USB 3.0 eXtensible Controller.

Wait for the device to be uninstalled. At this point, all devices connected to your system via a USB port may stop working.

In Device Manager, right-click the device that the uninstalled device was listed under (Intel USB 3.0 eXtensible Controller) and select ‘Scan for hardware changes’. It will scan for hardware and automatically connect all USB devices back to your system, including the drive that you unmounted/ejected.

This is a rather tedious way to reconnect an ejected USB drive so you might only want to use it when physically removing a drive isn’t possible or if it’s far too much of a hassle. If you’re on a desktop instead of a laptop, chances are you aren’t able to use this method at all if your mouse connects via a USB port. In some cases, depending on the hardware that you have, you may be able to use a mouse even after disabling the USB device that the drive was connected to but that really depends on the system and is otherwise out of your hands.

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