Why does my USB stick disconnect after few seconds?

There are a few common reasons why a USB stick may disconnect or be unable to stay connected after being plugged into a computer or device:

Faulty USB Port

One possibility is that the USB port you are trying to connect the stick to is damaged or faulty. A loose connection in the port can cause connectivity issues and make devices randomly disconnect. Try plugging the USB into a different port on your computer. If it is able to maintain a steady connection, then the original USB port is likely damaged.

Faulty USB Cable

Faulty or worn out USB cables can also cause connectivity problems with USB devices. Frayed wires or loose connectors in the cable can interrupt the connection between the USB stick and the computer. Try replacing the USB cable with a different high quality cable to see if that resolves the random disconnections.

Outdated Drivers

Outdated, corrupt or missing USB drivers on your computer can prevent USB devices like a flash drive from maintaining a stable connection. Make sure you have the latest USB drivers installed for your version of Windows or other operating system. Update or reinstall USB drivers and then reconnect the USB stick to see if the issue is fixed.

Insufficient Power

Some USB sticks may disconnect after a few seconds if the USB port is unable to provide sufficient power to the device. This is more common with low-powered laptop USB ports. Try plugging the USB stick into a higher-powered port like on a desktop computer or directly into a wall charger that provides at least 500mA. This should provide adequate and stable power to maintain the connection.

USB Suspend Setting

The USB suspend feature in Windows and other operating systems is designed to conserve power by cutting power to inactive USB devices after a certain time period. If enabled, this can cause connected USB devices like flash drives to disconnect after being idle for a short time. You can disable USB suspend in the Power Options or Device Manager in Windows to prevent this from occurring.

Damaged USB Stick

Lastly, the USB stick itself could be damaged and causing the frequent disconnections. Problems with the stick’s connector or internal components can interrupt the connection. Try testing the USB stick on another computer. If the behavior persists, the stick itself is likely defective and should be replaced.

Troubleshooting Steps

Here are some general troubleshooting steps to try if your USB stick is disconnecting after being plugged in:

  • Try plugging the USB stick into a different USB port, preferably directly on your computer and not on a hub/docking station.
  • Replace the USB cable with a high quality cable that has sturdy connectors.
  • Update your USB drivers to the latest available version.
  • Plug the USB stick directly into a wall charger to provide consistent power.
  • Disable USB suspend in your operating system power settings.
  • Test the USB stick on a different computer to see if the issue persists.
  • As a last resort, replace the USB stick if determined to be defective.

Causes in Windows

Here are some additional Windows-specific factors that could lead to USB sticks disconnecting:

Power Saving Settings

The USB selective suspend and power saving features in Windows can sometimes cause USB devices to become disconnected after idling for a period of time. Disabling these power saving features can help stabilize your USB connection.

Driver Issues

Problems with the Windows USB hub driver, USB mass storage driver or USB 3.0 driver can cause connectivity issues with USB devices. Keeping these drivers updated or reinstalling them may help.

USB Root Hub Power Settings

The USB root hub device in Windows has its own power saving options that can be disabled. This is accessed through the Power Options > Advanced Power Settings. Disabling allow the computer to turn off USB root hub to save power can help avoid disconnections.

Errors in Event Viewer

The Windows Event Viewer may contain error messages related to USB problems which could provide clues about what is causing your USB stick to disconnect. USB related errors in the System log can point to driver issues or power related problems.

Causes on Mac

On Mac computers, here are some potential factors leading to USB stick disconnections:

Faulty USB Port

As with Windows PCs, an issue with the physical USB port itself could cause connectivity problems. Try different USB ports on your Mac to isolate the issue.

System Integrity Protection

MacOS includes System Integrity Protection which restricts writing to protected system files. This can sometimes interfere with USB devices. Temporarily disabling SIP may resolve USB issues.

Energy Saver Settings

The Energy Saver settings on your Mac allow USB data ports to be disabled during sleep to save power. Changing this setting to Always On can prevent USB sticks from disconnecting.


Problems with this Mac USB legacy driver have been known to cause USB device issues. Deleting, replacing or updating this driver may help stabilize USB stick connections.

Preventing Disconnections

Here are some tips to prevent frequent USB stick disconnections:

  • Position your USB stick close to your computer to minimize cable length.
  • Extend your USB stick straight out instead of at an angle to avoid port pressure.
  • Use short and high quality USB extension cables if needed.
  • Connect USB stick to rear ports which often provide more power.
  • Update USB and chipset drivers to latest available versions.
  • Disable any power saving settings for USB ports and devices.
  • Consider using a USB hub with its own power source.
  • Replace defective USB sticks and cables.

When to Replace a USB Stick

If you’ve tried various troubleshooting steps and your USB stick continues to disconnect regularly, it may be time to replace it. Here are some signs your USB stick is faulty and should be replaced:

  • Disconnects after a few seconds on multiple computers.
  • Frequently gets I/O errors or fails to load files.
  • Has become very slow compared to when first purchased.
  • No longer recognized by computers.
  • Has physical damage like cracked housing.
  • USB connector pins are dirty, bent or corroded.
  • Reaches very hot temperatures during use.
  • Produces unusual noises when plugged in.

USB flash drives can wear out after frequent long term use. Excessive reading and writing data eventually takes a toll on the memory chips and controller electronics. If your USB stick is more than a few years old and exhibits issues like those listed above, replacing it with a new one is likely your best option.

Data Recovery from a Disconnecting USB Stick

If your USB flash drive is disconnecting frequently, that can threaten the data stored on it. Important files may become corrupted or lost if the stick isn’t properly ejected before being disconnected.

In those cases, you’ll want to focus on safely recovering any important data from the problematic USB stick before discarding or replacing it. Here are some tips for attempting data recovery:

  • Try copying files immediately after quickly plugging in the USB stick.
  • Use recovery software to scan storage and rebuild corrupted data.
  • Access the stick on a Linux system which may detect it better than Windows.
  • Remove the flash memory from the stick and use a USB adapter.
  • Take the USB stick to a data recovery specialist for pro help.

Recovering the data before it’s completely lost needs to be a priority when dealing with a USB stick that keeps disconnecting. This can allow you to salvage those files and move them to a new replacement drive.


USB flash drives randomly disconnecting after being plugged in can be caused by several issues like insufficient power, faulty hardware, driver problems or power saving settings. Thorough troubleshooting is needed to isolate the cause of the disconnections. Solutions can range from something simple like changing USB ports, to more complex fixes like updating drivers and disabling power management features. In severe cases where the USB stick is deteriorating, replacement may be necessary to reliably store and transfer your data.