When transferring files using a USB port, it’s frustrating to get the “USB Device Not Recognized” error constantly. In this case, Windows may tell you that your computer has malfunctioned and Windows does not recognize the external USB device. But don’t worry about it. There are fixes to it.

Instant Ways to Fix the Error

  1. Uninstall and reconnect the external hard drive
  2. Update your USB controllers drivers
  3. Disable the USB selective suspend setting
  4. Update your motherboard driver

Before we start troubleshooting, please try to restart your computer and re-plug your external USB device. Also, note that the USB 2.0 ports are quite different from the USB 3.0 ports (the blue ones). Please make sure you’re using the proper USB port that corresponds with your USB cables.  If nothing helps, then proceed with the steps as follows.

1. Uninstall and reconnect the external hard drive

When you see the “USB Device Not Recognized” error, and there are no flaws on your USB device, it’s very likely that your USB driver has become unstable or corrupt. To fix this, you can follow the instructions below:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and X together and select Device Manager.
  2. Double-click to expand the category Disk Drives, right-click the problematic USB external hard drive, and select Uninstall device.
  3. When the hard drive is uninstalled, unplug the USB cable.
  4. Wait for 1 minute and then reconnect the USB cable. Windows will automatically install the driver for you.
  5. Navigate to Windows Explorer and see if your hard drive is recognized.

If your hard drive is still unrecognized, try the next method.

2. Update your USB controller drivers

If your USB device is not identified, one of the first things you should do is update your USB controller drivers. Unlike what we’ve done in Tip #1, this driver should be found in the category of Universal Serial Bus controllers in Device Manager.

To update your USB driver, here’s what you can do (please note that the following screenshots are taken on Windows 11, but the instructions work on Windows 10 as well):

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and X at the same time, select Device Manager.
  2. Double-click to expand the category Universal Serial Bus controllers. Then right-click a device and click Update driver. (It’s recommended to repeat for each device in the list.)
  3. Then click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Wait for Windows to find the latest driver available for you.
  5. When the driver update is done, restart your computer for the change to take effect.
  6. Then check and see if the problem is fixed.

Sometimes Windows may tell you that “the best drivers for your device are already installed”. However, it’s not always accurate since Microsoft doesn’t have access to all the newly released drivers for your devices.

Therefore, if Device Manager doesn’t find you the latest driver, we recommend using Driver Techie to scan and repair outdated, corrupt, or missing drivers. It works in most cases where you have a driver-related issue. You can download Driver Techie by Clicking Here or following the guide below.

To use Driver Techie to find you the latest drivers:

  1. Download and install Driver Techie, then launch it.
  2. Click Scan Now.
  3. After the scan, select all the drivers you need to update and click Update All (for Pro subscribers), and all your drivers will be updated automatically. (Please note that you can only update the driver one at a time if you use a free version. To see how to manually update the drivers one by one, please check this post.)

Driver Techie involves the direct human review of the driver database by our engineers, which ensures you always have the safest and latest device drivers. You can rest assured that all your device drivers are in good hands.

Furthermore, if you’ve subscribed to Driver Techie Pro, and need our technical support to help with the USB device not recognized problem, please feel free to contact <support@drivertechie.com>.

3. Disable the USB selective suspend setting

Another reason for your USB device not being recognized may be a misconfigured USB selective suspend setting that is powering down your external USB device. In this case, you can follow the steps below to adjust the USB selective suspend setting and prevent your USB external device from powering down.

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

If this doesn’t resolve your issue, proceed to resolution 4.

4. Update the motherboard driver

The chipset driver is sometimes called the motherboard driver, or the system driver. It exchanges the information between your system and your motherboard. When it’s outdated, you might also get a “USB Device Not Recognized” error.

In this case, you can refer to this post to update your motherboard driver.

To sum up, the reason why you encounter the “USB Device Not Recognized” error can be a faulty USB driver, the USB selective suspend being enabled, or an outdated chipset driver. Hopefully, one of the solutions above will sort out the problem for you. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.