How to Fix USB Device Not Recognized

Coming across the “USB Device Not Recognized” error is common among Windows users. It can be frustrating at times, especially when you want to access some important data stored in the flash drive and your PC responds with such an error.

A variety of reasons could be responsible for why your computer isn’t detecting the USB drive. It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact reason, but typically, it happens due to outdated software, missing or corrupted drivers, partition issues, USB drive letter conflicts, etc.

Here in this article, we have covered some of the effective solutions to help you get around USB drives not detecting issues.

How to Fix “USB Device Not Recognized” in Windows PC

Before you go on testing various methods, restart your computer and check if it does anything to the error. As simple as it may sound, rebooting the PC tends to solve even complicated lingering issues. 

Fix 1:  Plug the USB Drive into Another Port or Computer

Needless to say, try plugging the USB drive into different ports in your computer and see what comes up. It would be best if you also plugged it into another computer to perform a quick test. This might give you some understanding about whether it’s your USB stick or the computer that got issues. 

Fix 2: Unplug your PC

By now, you might have already restarted your PC at least once, but if the error is still there, shut down your computer and unplug it from the main switch. It will cut the power supply to the motherboard, and the connection with the hardware (including USB ports) would go off. Wait for a few minutes before you replug it again.

Now, what magic it does is, upon continuing the power supply, when you reboot your PC, the USB ports connection with the system will be re-establish, and the drivers will get reloaded. 

Performing this quick method has resolved the issue for many users, and hopefully, this may troubleshoot the error for you as well. 

Fix 3: Uninstall USB Devices

When you plug an external hardware device into your computer, Windows will automatically install the required drivers to make the device function. However, sometimes the installation process gets interrupted, which often leads to unstable or corrupt drivers; and as a result, you face issues like unrecognized USB drives. To resolve, you have to uninstall the USB devices, and below is how to do it.

Note: You have to keep your USB drive inserted.  

  • Press Windows+X, and on the left pane, select “Device Manager.”
  • Scroll down to “Universal Serial Bus controllers” and click on it to expand.
  • Find your USB device and right-click on it (you may find it with an exclamation mark or named Unknown Device.)
  • Select the “Uninstall device” option, and it will ask you to confirm, so click on “Uninstall.”
  • Next, head over to the “Action” tab on the top and choose “Scan for hardware changes.”

Unplug the USB drive, and wait for a minute. Now when you reinsert it, Windows will automatically install the new USB drivers without hitting a snag.  

Fix 4: Update your Windows OS

Keeping your Windows updated is probably the only one-size-fits-all solution that actually works. Microsoft and the system manufacturer tend to roll out new updates for the OS and system drivers that mainly help in introducing new features, improving performance, and patching bugs. 

  • To install the latest Windows updates, go to “Settings” or press Windows+I and click on “Update & Security.”
  • Select “Windows Update” and tap on the “Check for Updates” button.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the new updates if available. 

Fix 5: Use Disk Management Tool

If your USB device isn’t showing up in Windows/ File Explorer, but your PC detects it, then you should find it in Disk Management. It often happens to the USB drives that have no drive letter or are unallocated. 

  • To open Disk Management, press Windows + R, type “diskmgmt.msc” command in the text box that shows up, and hit Enter.
  • Now check if your USB flash drive is showing up there in the list. It will appear as Removable.

If you can find it there, you have to make the following changes to make it visible in Windows Explorer.

Create a New Partition:

  • Right-click on the Unallocated space and select “New Simple Volume.”
  • Keep the default values unchanged, or if you want, you can modify them accordingly. Once you are done, click on “Next” and follow the onscreen instructions to proceed further.

If the USB device has no drive letter, you will also be required to give it one. Otherwise, it will remain inaccessible to you. 

Assign a Drive Letter:

  • Hover over the USB drive in Disk Management, right-click on it and select “Change Drive Letter and Path.”
  • Click on the “Add” button and give it a drive letter of your choice, and tap once on the OK button to confirm changes.

Fix 6: Update Device Drivers

When it comes to updating a USB client driver, you can either let Windows determine the required drivers and install them for you, or you can choose to download and install them manually from the manufacturer’s website.

First, try the automatic method, and in case if it fails to fix the error, visit the manufacturer’s website and download the driver’s utility specific to your Windows version.

  • Press Windows+X and select “Device Manager.”
  • From the Window that shows up on your screen, double-tap the “Disk Drives” option.
  • Right-click on your USB device and select “Update driver.”
  • Now, you will be asked to choose between two options, tap on the first one and wait for a while until it’s done.

Fix 7: Disable USB Selective Suspend Feature

It is a power-saving feature in Windows that allows the hub driver to suspend an individual port to cut back on the battery power. By disabling this feature, we rule out the probability of power management settings interacting with the USB controllers and powering down devices. 

  • First, open the Run command window by pressing Windows+R, type “control panel” in the text box, and hit Enter.
  • Click on “Hardware and Sound” and then navigate to “Power options” > “change plan settings” > “change advanced power settings.” 
  • Tap on “USB settings” and click on “USB selective suspend setting” to expand it.
  • Desktop users should select the “Plugged-in” option and set it to Disabled. Or, if you are a laptop user, click on “On battery” and choose Disabled.
  • Click on “Apply” and “OK” to save the changes.

Fix 8: Check for the USB Device Compatibility

Compatibility issues are quite rare with flash drives, but it’s still worthwhile to take a look. Imagine trying for 2 hours to connect a USB device to your computer only to come to know that you are dealing with an incompatible device. 

To know whether or not your USB device is compatible with the Windows PC, check the instructions manual and details on the packaging box. 

Wrapping Up

We hope you found some value in this article, and it helped you troubleshoot the error. On the contrary, if you have tried all the methods given here, and it still says “USB Device Not Recognized,” then there isn’t probably much you can do about it. In the most likely yet worst-case scenario, it clearly indicates that your flash drive is dead. 

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