5 Minute HelpDesk – USB Device not Recognised in Windows

Do you see an error message like this “USB device not recognised”? In the next article from our IT helpdesk team in Perth, we give you five solutions to resolve the problem.

Ways to fix USB device not recognised or malfunctioned error in Windows

Most of us have faced ‘the USB device not recognised or malfunctioned error’ at some point. The USB device mentioned by Windows includes not only USB hard drive or flash drives but also other devices like a USB mouse or keyboard, which both use a USB port for connection. So, let’s see the different methods you can use to fix this problem.

Solution 1 – Uninstall and reconnect external hard drive – resolves issues where the current USB driver has become unstable or corrupt.

  • Select Start.
  • In the Search box, type and select Device Manager.
  • Select Disk Drives
  • Right-click on the USB external hard drive with the issue.
  • Select Uninstall.
  • Once the hard drive is uninstalled – unplug the USB cable, wait for 1 minute and reconnect USB cable.
  • In the Windows Explorer, check for the USB drive. Usually, the driver should automatically load.

Note – Plug the USB external hard drive directly to the computer. A non-powered USB hub may lack enough power to operate an external drive.

Solution 2 – Install the latest device drivers

  • Select Start.
  • Type Windows Update in the Search box.
  • Select Windows Update and then select Check for Updates.
  • Select Review optional updates once the scan is complete.
  • Check the box next to updates and select Install Updates.
  • You may be prompted to review the license agreement. Select, I Accept.
  • Follow instructions to download and install the updates.
  • You may be prompted to reboot your computer.

Solution 3 – Reinstall USB controllers – resolves issues where the current USB driver has become unstable or corrupt.

  • Select Start.
  • In the Search box, type and select Device Manager.
  • From the list select Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  • Right-click a device and select Uninstall.
  • Repeat for each device.
  • Once complete, you will need to restart the computer. Your USB controllers should automatically install.

Solution 4 – Disable USB selective suspend setting – prevents USB external drive from powering down.

  • Select Start.
  • Type power plan in the Search box.
  • Select Choose a power plan.
  • Click on Change Plan Settings next to the currently selected plan.
  • Select Change advanced power settings.
  • Click on USB Settings > USB selective suspend settings.
  • Select Plugged in > Disabled from the drop-down menu.
  • On a laptop, select Battery, select the drop-down menu, and then select disabled.
  • Select Apply > OK.

Solution 5 – Install the latest chipset drivers for your motherboard.

If none of the above work use this method. This method lets your computer recognise the USB external hard drive.

  • Find the motherboard manufacturer. Your computer’s documentation should contain this information.
  • Visit your computer manufacturer’s website and find the appropriate drivers for your motherboard.
  • Follow instructions on installing the drivers.

Any of these methods should get you to access your USB and use the saved data again. If you still cannot get your USB to work, our IT helpdesk in Perth is 24/7 ready to assist you. Contact us or e-mail at helpdesk@computingaustralia.group for IT support.

Computing Australia is a member of The Computing Australia Group of Companies

Jargon Buster

Motherboard – a printed circuit board, which contains the principal components of a computer or any device.
USB Driver – a file that lets a hardware device communicate with a computer’s operating system.