"The FAT formatted flash drives work fine in any other PC,"
Obviously the reason you can't detect their data properly is because of some other reason other than they're using FAT partitioning.
See the extensive info info at the link I supplied in response 1.
- you're more likely to have problem with detecting a flash drive properly when it is NOT plugged into a USB port built into the computer's mboard
- in some cases, much more common for laptops and netbooks, if you have both a external hard drive or external optical drive - which requires the full USB max spec 500ma - and another device plugged into USB ports that connect to the same USB hub for the same USB controller segment interally inside the computer, one of the two devices, or both devices, will not be detected properly because there is 500ma available for both ports combined, NOT 500ma for each port as there should be. . In that case if you uplug the external hard drive or optical drive, the other device vthat does not require the full 500ma should be detected fine.
I haven't encountered or heard of what Sci-Guy mentioned in response 2, but that's a possibility.
For desktop computers particularly, you can have problems with Windiows detecting any USB device if there is an IRQ sharing problem - see response 5 - but's that's not likely for a latop or notbook. Typically Windows recognizes some USB devices fine but doesn'r recognize at least one other one even when every other factor is right for detecting it properly and there's nothing wrong with the device. .
All partitions an operating syastem recognizes must be both software partitioned using some methid the operating system recognizes natively - for Windows 2000 and up that's by using any FAT method or the NTFS method - and then formatted - they're two separate things. When you make a new partition in 2000 and up, for hard drives and external hard drives, both of those two things are done in one step - most of the messages you see are about formatting so people often assume they're just formatting the partition,.
For removable devices you can store data on other than external hard drives - flash drives and memory cards - they come new with a partition that is already software partitioned and formatted - usually they use the FAT method of software partitioning, unless they are specifically made for use in certain devices such as cameras that aren't using that. .
Windows by default does not allow you to delete the partition and make a new one on removable drives - you can see that when you try to do that in Drive Management - flash drives and memory cards - but you can re-format the partition, one of the two things required, if Windows is seeing the software partitioning type properly.
If a camera uses memory cards, you can choose to Format or similar (e.g. Initialize) the memory card in the camera's own settings, when it's in the camera - it is actually doing both things - using a software partitioning method and formatting it. Some cameras use a software partitioning method other than a FAT or NTFS one - the contents of the memory card cannot be read directly by Windows - but if you connect the camera to the computer and have the software installed for the camera, you can see the data that's on the card in Windows, via it being in the camera.
When Windows is not detecting the software partitiong type that it should detect properly for whatever reason, despite the fact it was properly software partitioned and formatted previously so the operating system was recognizing it - the partition does not show up in Windows in My Computer (or Computer in Vista or Windows 7) , or in Windows Explorer, but if nothing else is wrong it shows up in Disk Management as RAW - un-allocated - as if it were blank of data.
When that happens with a flash drive or memory card, you can't re-format it because Windows isn't seeing the software partitioning properly, and you can't delete the partition and make a new one even if you don't care about losing data already on the flash drive or memory card, due to Windows defaults.