How to fix a USB device not recognized: 11 proven ways

Updated: February 21, 2023
6 min read
How to fix a USB device not recognized: 11 proven ways
by Chris Wolker
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Do you urgently need to access information, and the system tells you that the USB device is not recognized? Such a mistake happens, as a rule, very unexpectedly. Today, most information programs are on flash drives. Therefore, these devices must work properly.

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USB drives work swiftly, which makes such drives incredibly convenient. Also, you have the option to protect the information on the flash drive and set a password that no one will know.

If an error with your USB device occurs, you can fix it yourself if the device is not recognized on Windows 10 or other operation system. This article will analyze the simplest ways how to deal with such a mistake when the USB is not recognized.

Why Windows failsConnect the USB device to a different connector to recognize USB?

USB devices have different manufacturers, memory capacity, and information stored. In general, such devices work smoothly. But sometimes, getting files from there is impossible. So if the computer is not recognizing USB, here are five reasons why this might happen:

  1. The computer was unable to load all the information and drivers from the flash drive;
  2. The device contains a virus or a malicious file, or a file that looks like a malicious one;
  3. You are using a laptop that is low on battery;
  4. Windows updates are installed incorrectly;
  5. The USB device error occurred.

At first glance, you need to understand why USB flash drives are not showing up in Windows 10. Therefore, consistently try all the described methods, and one of them should help solve the problem.

Connect the USB device to a different connector

Connect the USB device to a different connector

Sometimes the reason why the device does not work is not in the USB device itself but the gadget to which it is connected it. And therefore USB port is not recognized. Instead of asking Google “how to fix a USB device not recognized”, try solving this problem by using a different connector.

Restart your computer

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Another simple solution that often helps if your Device is Not Recognized is to restart the computer. Some drivers may load with an error during the system boot. After this action, check if the problem is still here.

Turn off other devices from the USB connector

It may happen that your computer cannot recognize a new device problem sometimes occurs when several other devices are connected. Try to disconnect everything and check the connection with the device after this.

Install all updates for Windows

All programs and services release updates from time to time, which must be accepted and installed for the device's correct operation. Windows is no exception. Microsoft releases updates that must be installed on your computer for the system to work correctly. And you need to check if the USB has not been recognized by Windows 10 or another system. Most often, they are installed automatically, but if this does not happen, open the menu. Next, find the Settings button and click on Updates and Security.

Install all updates for Windows

In the next window, find and choose the Check for updates button, then download files if the system has found something.

Check drivers

 Check drivers

The next step is more complicated than the previous one but most often very effective. If Windows does not recognize a USB device, the system doesn’t have the necessary drivers, or they are outdated. Therefore, if the device isn’t displayed, one of the first things to check is how the drivers work. Here is your guide:

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  1. You need Device manager, so enter such words in the search panel and open the folder on your screen. Next, find a device that is marked with a yellow sign. Click on it.
  2. Then open Update drivers. These actions can not help with the issue because, as usual, the computer automatically finds the drivers and open the device.
  3. After checking the previous steps, click on the name of a device in the list one more time and select Properties. Next, go to the Events tab and find the device’s ID. Copy it and type it into Google search. You will find the drivers to install for sure. Follow the link with your device's name and click on the driver to download the files. After that, Windows will recognize the device and start working.
  4. If this does not happen and you see that Windows does not recognize USB, go back to the list, click on the gadget you need, and select Update drivers.

Install all necessary drivers and update programs on your computer

Sometimes, the problem is more complicated than it seems. The USB has not been recognized by Windows 10 because your device does not have other important drivers. To fix this issue:

  1. Find the website of your computer’s company.
  2. Enter the name of your model, and see if you have any uninstalled updates. You will immediately see them because the computer will show what is installed and what is not.
  3. Click on the missing drivers and install them on your device.
  4. Check the operation of the flash drive.

Remove devices

If the previous steps did not help and the Windows 10 USB device is not recognized, you need the following method. First, delete a device that the computer did not recognize. Then, when you insert it again, the computer will automatically find the necessary drivers, and perhaps, the problem will be solved.

Remove devices

To use this method, again, go to the search bar on your screen, write the command Device manager, and then open the found folder. Next, select the device marked with a yellow sign. You need to find Uninstall device. Just choose the device and select the option. Find the Actions tab at the top of the screen and choose Hardware changes. Then restart your computer.

Run device diagnostics

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The next step can help if previous steps have been ineffective and Windows still doesn't recognize the USB. To run diagnostics, open the start menu, and find the PowerShell admin. Press the "Yes" in the window that appears. Next, you will see a command line where you need to enter msdt.exe -ID DeviceDiagnostic and then press Enter. Next, you will see a window with suggestions from your computer.

Run device diagnostics

Find the Advanced button, and you need an option called Apply repairs automatically, so choose it. See what errors your computer finds. If necessary, install the drivers.

Change USB power action

Next, try to change USB Power Action. To do this, enter Power in the search bar at the bottom of the screen and select the Power and Sleep Actions option. After that, select Additional power settings. The next step is to find Change plan settings. Then you need the Change advanced power settings menu. You will see the window. Find USB settings. Finally, choose the USB selective suspend settings button and click Disabled in both items. And check if the Windows USB device is still not recognized.

Fix USB is not recognized using CMD

If the USB device previously worked but now doesn’t turn on, try restoring access to it. For this method, you need the Windows command prompt. Open it, write "rstrui" into it, and press Enter. You will see a dialog asking you to restore the system. Press Enter and then select the system you want to restore. Choose the one which worked. Choose Next. And wait for the system to recover.

Look for technical support contacts

Have you tried different methods, but the device still does not work? Is the USB not connecting to the PC? The device might be broken, and you need to change it. If a device on another computer works, the port for USB on your laptop or computer may be broken. The USB device is most likely defective if it does not work anywhere. In this case, you need to come to the technical support office and change it.

How to avoid the USB recognizing error?

If you care about the good performance of your devices, you will most likely be happy to know that you can avoid the most issues. Just follow a few simple recommendations.

  • Press on the image of the device in the device panel in the corner of the computer screen and select safe removal before removing it. Today, all operating systems have this feature, so just don't be lazy to do it.
  • Buy only reliable and original USB devices. We live in a world where hundreds of manufacturers produce every type of product. Unfortunately, the quality of the products is not very good. The same thing to USB devices. If you don’t want to see the error and don’t want to break your computer, choose well-known device brands.
  • Watch the storage conditions of your devices. Flash drives are small devices conveniently put into a bag or a pocket. Sometimes they are damaged due to debris, a sudden spill of a bottle of water, or the aggressive temperature outside. Make sure this does not happen, and the devices will serve you for many years.

It is better to prevent any breakdown than to look for an urgent solution at the most inopportune moment.


The flash drive always worked; now, the system says it is unrecognized. How to fix a USB device not recognized in Windows 10?

If the flash drive was opening, and now it stopped working, you need to look for the reason in the last actions with this device. Perhaps you have saved some file that looks malicious, and now the computer does not want to load it. Or the computer updated the drivers, which conflicts with the flash drive software. Try to restore everything using System Restore and restart your computer. Also, it is a good idea to check the connection with another device.

How to get information from a flash drive if it does not recognize it?

If it works, getting information on your own will be easy. Contact the service center. They will help with such a task.

How do you know if a USB device is broken? How to fix a USB device?

In this case, you will see the message "USB device not recognized or defective." Also, this may be evidenced by the offer to format the device. Try connecting the device to another laptop or computer and check if it works.


Unfortunately, all devices break sometimes. It is incredibly frustrating when such a situation happens at the most crucial moment. Some issues are easy to fix on your own, and some require the help of professionals. For example, the Howly team is always ready to help you with various technical problems remotely. You only need to contact the experts.

So if you encounter an error  with the connection:

  1. Try connecting the device to a different connector on the computer;
  2. Try turning off and then turning on your computer;
  3. Disconnect other devices;
  4. Update windows;
  5. Check drivers;
  6. Install the necessary drivers on the computer;
  7. Remove the device;
  8. Run device diagnostics;
  9. Change USB Power Action;
  10. Restore previous versions of the system;
  11. Contact the service center.

Save this article for a quick fix if you urgently need to get information from a USB device.

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