A Guide to Fix Unrecognized USB Device Error in Windows 10

A Guide to Fix Unrecognized USB Device Error in Windows 10

You plug a USB flash drive or external hard drive into your computer and an error message stating “USB device not recognized” appears in the taskbar notification area. What is causing this error? Why is your Windows PC not recognizing the USB storage device? And what can you do to fix this problem? We answer any questions you may have in this guide. Read on.


Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Featured Image Error

There are several reasons why your PC does not recognize a USB flash drive. First of all, the USB device may get damaged or corrupted. This error can also be the result of a temporary problem with the USB port (s) on your PC. You may also encounter this error message if your PC’s USB port (s) are dirty, damaged, inactive, or disabled by Windows. Another causative factor is the use of a counterfeit or damaged USB cable.

Interestingly, this problem can be easily fixed. Sometimes it is enough to remove the USB drive and reinsert it into the PC. You can also try using another USB port on the computer. In addition, we recommend that you clean the USB ports on your PC. This could help remove dust and dirt, preventing the port (s) from recognizing USB devices.

Proceed to the section below if you still get the “ USB device not recognized ” error despite all the recommended solutions mentioned above.

1. Update the USB drivers

There is a good chance you will encounter this error if your computer’s USB drivers are out of date. Unplug the USB drive from your computer and check if there are any updates available for the drivers powering the USB ports on your PC.

Step 1: Right click on the Start menu icon (Windows logo) at the bottom left of your PC screen and select Device Manager from the Quick Access menu.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error

2nd step: Expand the “ Universal Serial Bus Controllers ” group, right-click one of the drivers labeled “ USB Root Hub ” and select Update Driver.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 01 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 01 Error

Note: You can find several “USB Root Hub” drivers in Device Manager. Each powers an individual USB port on your PC. For context, if there are five USB ports on your computer, you will find five (5) “USB Root Hub” drivers in Device Manager.

Step 3: Then select “Automatically search for updated driver”.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 02 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 02 Error

Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet.

Repeat steps 2 to 3 for all “USB Root Hub” drivers on your device.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 03

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 03

Proceed to the next solution if your PC determines that you already have the best driver / update version installed on your device.

2. Change the power management settings of the USB driver

As mentioned earlier, Windows can sometimes disable the drivers powering the USB ports on your PC. While this is done to save battery power, the consequence is that USB ports can become dormant and unusable.

Follow the steps below to keep the USB ports active on your Windows 10 computer.

Step 1: Right click on the Start menu icon (Windows logo) at the bottom left of your PC screen and select Device Manager from the Quick Access menu.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error

2nd step:
Expand the “Universal Serial Bus Controllers” group and double-click on one of the drivers labeled “USB Root Hub”.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 04 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 04 Error

Step 3: Go to the Power Management tab and disable the option “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 05 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 05 Error

Step 4: Click OK to continue.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 06 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 06 Error

Step 5: Repeat steps 2 through 4 for all ‘USB Root Hub’ drivers in Device Manager on your PC.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 04 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 04 Error

3. Disable the USB selective suspend settings

USB Selective Suspend is another power management feature that disables your PC’s USB ports in an effort to conserve battery power. This is especially found on laptops and other battery powered portable Windows computers.

This feature – which is mostly enabled by default on many Windows laptops – could be the reason why you get the “ USB device not recognized ” error. Turn it off and see if it fixes the problem.

Step 1: Right-click on the Start menu icon (i.e. Windows logo) at the bottom left of your PC screen and select Power Options from the Quick Access menu.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 07 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 07 Error

2nd step: Scroll down to the Related Settings section and click “Additional Power Settings”.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 08 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 08 Error

This will redirect you to the Power Options section of your PC’s Control Panel.

Step 3: Next, click on the “ Change plan settings ” option next to your PC’s current power plan.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 09 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 09 Error

In the screenshot above, we are going to click on “ Change plan settings ” for Power Saver, as this is the test PC power plan that we used for this tutorial.

Step 4: Click on “Change advanced power settings”.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 10 Error

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 10 Error

Step 5: Double click on USB Settings.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 11

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 11

Step 6: Double-click “USB Selective Suspend Setting”.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 12

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 12

Step 7: Click the option next to On battery and select Off from the drop-down option.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 13

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 13

Step 8: You should also disable the “USB selective suspend setting” for the Plugged in option.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 14

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 14

Step 9: Click Apply, then click OK to save the changes.

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 15

Fix Unrecognized USB Device Windows 10 Error 15

Other things to try

When multiple USB devices are connected to your PC, they sometimes get in the way. If other USB devices are connected to your PC, when you get the error “ USB device not recognized ”, disconnect them and reinsert the unrecognized device. If that doesn’t fix the issue, restart your PC and make sure you have the latest build / version of Windows 10 installed on your device.

If the error persists, connect the device to another PC. If the USB device is not recognized, it is most likely damaged or defective.

Then:

Are you unable to project or mirror your PC content because Windows cannot detect your external monitor or TV? Read the article linked below to resolve the issue.

Last updated December 14, 2020

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