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How to Fix USB Device Not Recognized in Windows: 4 Quick Solutions

External Drives are easy to use, sort of plug and play. But many-a-times, things go wrong and it shows a “USB device not recognized” error.

There are many possible causes for having a USB Device Not Detected error which can’t be known unless specific symptoms are seen.

Causes for the USB Device Not Recognized Error

There can be many causes for these problems. But everytime you face that problem, the main reason for it can be one of the following:

  1. USB driver has become unstable or corrupt
  2. Your PC requires an update for issues that may conflict with a USB external hard drive and Windows
  3. There are missing important updates
  4. USB controllers have become unstable or corrupt
  5. External drive is entering selective suspend
  6. Motherboard may need updated drivers

Solving the “USB Device Not Recognized” Error

Relating to the number of possible causes for the USB Device Not Detected Error, each of it has a unique possible solution.

So, as one can’t know what’s the real cause behind the problem, you’ll have to go through each one of the them, one by one.

A Quick Video Tutorial to Solve “USB Device Not Recognized” Error on Windows 10

#1 – Uninstalling and Reconnecting External Hard Drive

This solution is used when your currently loaded USB driver has become unstable or corrupt.

Steps to solve “USB Device Not Detected” Error by Reinstalling Drivers:

  1. Click Start, type Device Manager in the Search box
  2. Click Device Manager from the returned list.
  3. Click Disk Drives from the list of hardware
  4. Right-click the USB external hard drive with the issue, and click Uninstall.
  5. After the hard drive is uninstalled, unplug the USB cable.
  6. Wait for 1 minute and then reconnect the USB cable. The driver should automatically load.
  7. Check for the USB drive in Windows Explorer
Connecting your USB external hard drive into a non-powered USB hub can cause a lack of enough power to operate the external drive. Instead, plug it directly into your computer.

#2 – Installing the latest Windows Updates

If the problem is simply an unknown driver issue, running Windows Update can find the correct driver for your External Drive and fix things up quickly.

Steps to solve “USB Drive Not Recognized” Error with Windows Updates:

  1. Click the Start button, type Windows Update in the Search box, then click Windows Update in the results pane.
  2. Click Check for Updates. After the scan is complete, click Review optional updates.
  3. Click the check box next to the updates, then click Install updates.
  4. If prompted, review the license agreement, then click I Accept.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the updates.
  6. If prompted, reboot your computer.

#3 – Reinstalling USB Controllers

USB Controllers are the drivers that provide the information about the USB Device connected to your PC. Uninstalling and reinstalling them solves the problem where the cause was unstable or corrupted drivers.

Steps to solve “USB Device Not Recognized” Error by Reinstalling USB Controllers:

  1. Click Start, then type device manager in the Search box, then click Device Manager.
  2. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers. Right click a device and click Uninstall. Repeat for each device.
  3. Once complete, restart your computer. Your USB controllers will automatically install.

#4 – Disabling USB Selective Suspend Setting

When the cause of the USB Device Not Detected is the USB Drive automatically powering down due to specific default power arrangement settings in Windows, turning off that settings ensures that USB Drive gets the required Power Supply in order to get connected.

Steps to solve “USB Drive Not Detected” Error by Disabling USB Selective Suspend Settings:

  1. Click the Start button, type power plan in the Search box, then click Choose a power plan.
  2. Next to your currently selected plan, click Change Plan Settings.
  3. Click Change advanced power settings.
  4. Click the box to expand USB Settings, then expand USB selective suspend settings.
  5. Click Plugged in, then click the drop down menu and select disabled.
  6. If you’re using a laptop, click Battery, then click the drop down menu and select disabled.
  7. Click Apply, then click OK.


All of these methods help you solve USB Device Not Detected Error. Start from the very top and if that particular method doesn’t solves your problem, head on to the next one.

Which method helped you to solve the “USB Device Not Recognized” Error?

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