- Compatibility Check
- Restart Your Computer
- Connectivity Problems
- Update Your Windows With the Latest Updates
- Disable the USB Selective Suspend Setting
- Run USB Troubleshooter
- Use Stellar To Recover Files From Your USB Drive
- Use Disk Management Tool
- Troubleshoot Your Drivers
- Reinstall USB Controllers
The “USB device not recognized” error is a familiar scene for Windows 11/10/8/7 users. Most of the time, this error gets fixed instantly after reinserting the affected device. Sometimes, it does not. This issue is quite alarming especially when your USB drive contains important files.
Why USB Device Not Recognized on Windows 11/10/8/7
There are various reasons why a USB device is not recognized by your system. The worst case is that there may be hardware damage. Let’s hope this is not your case as your only solution would be either a hardware repair or replacement.
Other factors that might cause the problem are misconfiguration on your operating system (OS), or system errors caused by malware or file corruption.
10 Simple Ways to Fix USB Device Not Recognized
If the error is the result of a software issue, we’ve listed down 10 simple ways you can try to fix the problem yourself. So, before tossing your USB drive into the trash bin, try out these quick fixes first.
There’s a possibility that your USB device is not compatible with your computer. Although most USB versions nowadays are backward compatible, we can’t disregard the fact that with the swift advancement of technology, USB devices may also require more advanced and powerful ports for them to function.
To make sure that you won’t be shooting blind when trying out the other methods, check out your USB device’s user manual or packaging first for compatibility information.
Restart Your Computer
It’s always a good idea to restart your computer when things are not going smoothly. This will force close all running applications, including those that might be causing your system to not recognize your USB device.
To perform a system restart, you can open your start menu, click on the power button, and select Restart. You can also use the hotkey for the ShutDown Windows dialog box, which is Alt + F4. From the dialog box, select Restart and wait for your system to reboot.
Upon restarting, check if your system finally recognizes your USB device. If this doesn’t work, let’s try the other methods we’ve listed below.
An unrecognizable USB device may also be an indication of a connectivity problem. This usually stems from a damaged USB port. To rule this possibility out, try plugging your USB device into another port on your computer. If it remains unrecognized, connect it to a different computer and see if the problem persists. If after all these efforts, the issue remains, then it’s likely that the problem lies in the USB device.
If your external hard drive and other devices require a USB cable to connect to the computer, you’ll need to look into the likelihood of the cable being defective. Under this circumstance, try out other USB cables to hopefully solve the problem.
Update Your Windows With the Latest Updates
Occasionally, Microsoft releases updates to fix lingering issues in your computer’s OS, which may include the persistent “USB device not recognized” issue. To make sure that your OS is up to date, follow these steps:
- First, go to Start and search for Settings. Alternatively, you can use the shortcut Windows key + I, to launch the Settings window.
- With the Settings window already open, click the Update & Security option.
- At this point, click the Check for updates button on the Windows Update section. Make sure that you are connected to the internet as this process will check for available updates online.
- If there are pending updates, just click download and install and wait for your system to complete the process.
- Once the update has been installed, restart your computer and try plugging your USB device again.
If this method still does not solve the problem, check out the next solution.
Disable the USB Selective Suspend Setting
The USB selective suspend feature of Windows is a power-saving setting that suspends the operation of an individual port. While this may help in conserving your computer’s battery power, some USB devices do require more energy for the system to properly detect them.
Fortunately, you can disable this feature to make sure that your affected USB device is able to receive enough energy. Here’s how to do it:
- On your computer, click Start and search for the Control Panel.
- From the Control Panel, click the Hardware and Sound option.
- Next, click Power Options to display all your power plans.
- This time, click the Change plan settings option adjacent to your currently selected power plan. Doing this will redirect you to the power plan settings as shown below.
- At this stage, click the Change advanced power settings option. This will display the Power Options dialog box.
- On the Power Options dialog box, find and click the USB settings option to expand it.
- From here, select the USB selective suspend setting and set both On battery and Plugged in options to Disabled.
- Finally, click Apply and then OK to save your changes. Restart your computer afterward for the changes to take effect before reinserting your USB device.
Run USB Troubleshooter
Another technique that you can do to fix USB problems is to run the USB troubleshooter tool, which is available in Windows. Below are the steps to access and use it:
- Plug in your USB device and launch File Explorer (or Windows Explorer in Windows 7).
- From the File Explorer, right-click your drive and select Properties.
- Afterwards, navigate to the Tools tab and click the Check button under Error checking.
- Next, select Scan and repair drive to start repairing your USB drive. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use your drive during this process.
- Finally, restart your computer for the changes to take effect and check if your system can recognize your USB device again.
Use Stellar To Recover Files From Your USB Drive
If none of the previous solutions worked to fix your unrecognized USB device, it’s most likely that your device is corrupted. Nothing can be done to repair your USB at this point, but maybe your files can still be salvaged. Thankfully, our data recovery solution called Stellar Data Recovery Professional can recover data even from completely crashed and unbootable systems.
Here’s how to use Stellar to recover your files:
- First, purchase and download Stellar to utilize its full features.
- Upon installation, launch the Stellar Data Recovery Professional program.
- From Stellar’s main interface, select the type of file you want to recover. You can also choose All Data to recover all files and folders.
- Afterwards, click Next to select the drive or location where you need to recover the files.
- Next, click Scan and wait for the program to scan the selected drive.
- Once scanned, click Recover to begin the recovery process and follow the on-screen instructions until your files have been retrieved.
That’s really all you need to do with our Stellar Data Recovery Professional tool. It’s pretty straightforward compared to other recovery tools out there and is your best chance at recovering the files from your drive. They even offer a 100% full refund if you’re not satisfied. Give it a try and see for yourself!
Use Disk Management Tool
One way to check whether your USB drive is defective or not is through the built-in Windows program called the Disk Management tool. This program lets you assign a letter, partition, or format a drive to make it easily recognizable by your computer. To use this tool, follow the steps below.
- First, plug in your USB drive and launch the Disk Management tool by right clicking on the Start button, and selecting it from the options.
- On the Disk Management tool’s interface, check if your USB drive appears on the list. If it does, try creating a new volume and assign a drive letter to it. Doing this allows you to partition or format your drive to make it detectable by your computer.
- If your USB drive does not appear on this list, it could be damaged and you may need to replace it or have it physically repaired.
Troubleshoot Your Drivers
Issues on your device drivers may also cause the unrecognized USB device problem. An indication of this is when USB devices are perfectly working on other computers, but not on yours. It is possible to fix this issue by troubleshooting your drivers. Here’s how you can do it:
- Launch the Device Manager program by right-clicking Start and choosing it from the choices.
- From the Device Manager interface, expand the Disk drives section and check for driver issues, which is signified by a yellow exclamation point next to the affected device.
- Right-click on the affected device and choose Properties. This will show additional details about the device’s error.
- To resolve the issues, navigate to the Driver section of the Properties window and click the action you want to do:
- Update Driver – choose this option to download and install the latest driver for the device.
- Roll Back Driver – click this option to roll back to a previously installed driver.
- Uninstall Device – select this option to uninstall the device. Uninstalling a device driver allows your computer to automatically reinstall the appropriate driver and configurations upon restart.
Reinstall USB Controllers
Windows comes with USB controllers that regulate the communication between USB devices and your computer. Issues on your system might cause these controllers to get corrupted and stop working. As a result, your computer may suddenly stop recognizing USB devices.
To fix this mess, you can force your computer to reinstall the USB controllers to their previous, working state. Here are the steps on how to achieve this:
- First, open the Start menu, search for Device Manager and launch it.
- With Device Manager already open, find and expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section.
- Next, right-click on the USB controller to which your USB device is connected and click Uninstall device. To determine the controller you need to uninstall, simply reconnect your USB device while the Device Manager is open. The controller that appears on the list is the one you should uninstall.
- Once the controller has been uninstalled, restart your computer and reconnect your USB device. Windows will automatically reinstall the controller. This should finally solve the unrecognized USB device problem.
What can I do if my USB device is not recognized?
If your USB device is suddenly not recognized by your computer, try out the solutions discussed in this article. Start by checking out your device’s user manual or packaging for compatibility information or you can also restart your computer to flush out some issues that may cause the problem.
What can I do to force Windows to recognize a USB device?
One way to force Windows to detect a USB device is by disabling the USB Selective Suspend feature. Using this approach can resolve USB-related issues like the annoying unrecognizable USB device problem.
How do I reset the USB ports on my computer?
The most popular technique for resetting the USB ports is to uninstall the USB controller through the Device Manager program. The steps on how to do this are defined in the Reinstall USB Controllers section of this article.
About The Author
Mako is a freelance writer with a passion for all things tech. Whether you\'re talking about the latest macOS updates, the new features from Windows 11, or need to know something about recovering deleted files—he\'s your guy. He\'s been writing about tech and how-to guides for more than 4 years across dozens of websites. You can also find Mako\'s articles on sites such as onMac, Sheetaki, saintlad.com or howtogeek.com.
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How do I fix USB flash drive not recognized on Windows 11? ›
To fix it, update the USB drivers. Device drivers can be updated manually through the Device Manager built-in Windows utility, manufacturer website, or via optional updates (Windows Update). Alternatively, you use Advanced Drive Updater to update drivers automatically.How do I get Windows 11 to recognize my USB device? ›
- Inspect Your Device (and USB Port) ...
- Try a Different USB Port. ...
- Replace the USB Device. ...
- Restart Windows 11. ...
- Check for Windows Updates. ...
- Reinstall USB Drivers. ...
- Check for Software Updates Using OEM Tools. ...
- Check for Software and Driver Updates Manually.
Unplug the USB device, wait about five seconds, and then plug the device back in. If you are using a hub, unplug the hub, wait about five seconds, and then plug the hub back in. If you are using a USB hub, try to use the device without the hub.How do I force a USB to recognize? ›
- Open Device Manager and then disconnect the USB device from your computer. Wait a few moments and then reconnect the device. ...
- Connect the USB device to another USB port.
- Connect the USB device to another computer.
- Update the USB device drivers.
- Right-click Start and select Device Manager.
- Expand the Disk drives dropdown. ...
- Click the Driver tab, then click Update Driver.
- Click Search automatically for drivers. ...
- Click Close.
- Click Uninstall Device.
If the drive doesn't show up on any computer, it likely means it's a problem with the flash drive. That might mean it's gone bad or it might need to be reformatted. On the other hand, if the drive shows up on the new device, your USB port may be the problem.How do I restore a USB drive in Windows 11? ›
- Open File Explorer.
- Click on This PC on the left side.
- Under the "Devices and drives" section, right-click the USB drive and select the Format option.
- 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 then select Uninstall.
- Restart your PC.
- Windows will attempt to reinstall the driver.