USB Device Not Recognized – How to Fix

We have all been there, you plug in your USB, ready to put documents on it or pull them off it and then you get the devastating error that every person hates to see.

That jarring moment that flashes across the screen stating that “this USB cannot be recognized” can be especially hard to handle if you have sensitive documents that you need to pull off of it. 

The good news is that if you do get this message, chances are, there is a sliver of hope that you can remedy the issue. Below, we have a quick and easy tutorial outlining what you should do if you find yourself in this situation. 

Disclaimer: Before we get started, it should be noted that this tutorial may not work for everyone. However, it is a generic remedy that typically is able to fix the issue. Try it out and see if it gets the job done for you!

What’s USB?

USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, was invented to standardize the connection of many peripherals: keyboards, pointing devices, digital cameras, printers, portable media players, disk drives and network adapters.

Almost everyone now has two types of USB:

  1. USB 2.0
  2. USB 3.0

USB type 3.0 provides better speed and more efficient power management than USB 2.0. However, sometimes you can’t differentiate between those two versions of USB. Here’s a couple of hints to know whether your USB is 2.0 or 3.0:

Check the logo

Since USB 3.0 is also knows as SuperSpeed USB, you can easily find the SS mark around your USB port.

Check the color

Most of the time but not always, the USB 3.0 port should have blue color inside the port (even if it doesn’t have the SS mark) whereas USB 2.0 has either black or white inside the port.

USB device not recognized

Sometimes when you plug in a USB device, an error message appear saying that:

USB device not recognized, the last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it.

As the message says, the USB can be damaged or Windows may not be recognizing it. So, let’s begin our solution to this problem.

I- First of all, make sure it’s not a hardware issue

Try your USB device on another computer, if the same message appears then it’s more likely that your USB device is corrupted or damaged, that’s why it’s unable to function.

If it works when connected to a different computer, then it’s a software issue and you should follow the next steps to solve it.

II- Remove all other USB devices and USB hubs

If a certain device isn’t recognized, it’s better to remove any other USB devices. Also USB hubs are not very good at transferring data of multiple devices at once.Image result for usb hub

III- Now, turn off your computer completely

Yes, it’s really the solution to many of the users. And by completely I mean shut down your computer and unplug any power source for 10 minutes minimum.

  • If it’s a PC, shut down your computer and unplug your power cable.
  • If it’s a laptop, shut it down, unplug your power cord and remove your battery.

IV- Update your USB drivers and fix Root Hub

  • Type “device manager” in your start menu and the select Device manager.
  • Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers, right-click on USB Root Hub and select Properties.
  • In the Power Management tab, uncheck “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” and then click OK.
  • In the Driver tab, click “Update Driver“.
  • Choose “Search automatically for update driver software“.
  • Apply the previous steps to all USB Root Hubs.
  • Restart your computer.

V- If updating the drivers didn’t work, uninstall them

  • In the device manager, right click on your USB Root Hub devices and choose Uninstall device.
  • Click Uninstall.
  • Apply the previous steps to all USB Root Hubs.
  • Restart your computer, the drivers will automatically be reinstalled.

VI- Change some power options

  • Open “control panel” and search for “power options” and choose Power Options.
  • From the left pane, choose “Choose what the power button does
  • Choose “Change settings that are currently unavailable”.
  • Uncheck “Turn on fast startup” and then select “Save changes”.
  • Go back to Power Options.
  • For the current plan, select “Change plan settings”.
  • Select “Changed advanced power settings”.
  • Expand “USB settings”.
  • Expand “USB selective suspend setting”.
  • In both “On Battery” and “Plugged in” select “Disabled“.
  • Click “Apply” and then “Okay”.
  • Restart your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I format an unreadable USB?

Press the Windows Key + R to bring up the Run Command. Type: diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter. Afterward, you should see the disk management windows show up. Locate the unreadable USB drive and select it. If it’s shown as Raw file system, right-click on it and choose Format.

From there, you can choose any type of file system you want, including NTFS, FAT32, and more. Don’t forget to check the “quick format” checkbox to make the process as smooth as possible. That should make the disk readable again, but you’re still going to lose all of the data that was previously stored on it.

How do I reinstall USB drivers Windows 10?

  • In the search box on the taskbar, enter device manager, then select Device Manager.
  • Right-click (or press and hold) the name of the device, and select Uninstall.
  • Restart your PC.
  • Windows will attempt to reinstall the driver.

Can a corrupted USB Be Fixed?

If your USB can still be detected or recognized by your computer, you can try to fix the logical error by using the native Windows tool, CMD or third-party fixing tool. Then you will be able to access your USB.

To attempt fixing the corrupted USB drive using CMD, do the following:

  • Connect the USB to your computer.
  • Open the Run command and type CMD, then hit Enter.
  • Type diskpart and press Enter.
  • Type list disk and press Enter. This will make Command Prompt show you a list of all storage devices connected to your PC.
  • Type select disk <corresponding drive letter or number> and hit Enter. Make sure you have selected the right disk and not another drive by accident! This is very important!
  • Type clean and then press Enter.
  • Type create partition primary and hit Enter.
  • Next, type active and hit Enter, after which you’ll want to type select partition <corresponding number or letter> and hit Enter again.
  • Finally, type format fs=fat32 and press Enter.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have found this tutorial to be helpful. Let us know below if this remedy worked for you. And if it did, don’t forget to share!


  1. Nice post but did not fix the problem. Other USB devices are working, one particular HP P1700 printer is not working. Where as its working on all other computer

    • Hello Ashish, printers have more problems than regular USB devices. I would suggest that you remove the printer from your devices list, then try to re-install the driver and finally add the printer one more time. Also, try to use a USB 2.0 port if available. Also, if you’re using a different cable on this computer, try to use another one that worked with other computers.

    • Hello John, you mean a cut cable? Yes sure the computer will never recognize it, that’s why if a cable has a cut inside it or damaged, there will be an open circuit and the computer won’t recognize it.

  2. Thanks for sharing such useful information. You have guided here very nicely. Thanks for sharing such rare ideas. Hope we will get more useful ideas in the future also.

  3. Hello Mina. I have been using a piece of hardware for 2 years now, always connecting to laptop via USB. Suddenly when I try to use it today, the hardware is not being recognized at all when I connect the USB. I tried a second hardware (same type) and same thing, not recognized at all by laptop. I tried to connect both pieces of hardware to another laptop and nothing. Tried different USB cables and nothing. It is not even registering as if a USB device is connecting. What could have changed…Please help! Thank you. Maria.

  4. It is a common problem. We often face it. It can be solved easily if there is no hardware problem. we need to check the connection if it was connected properly ( according to the colour) or not. then check the setting panel if any correction needed there.

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