When you try to access data on an external USB hard drive, you may receive the following error:
"USB device not recognized"
This could be caused by one of the following:
- the currently loaded USB driver has become corrupt
- your PC requires an update for issues that may conflict with a USB external hard drive and Windows
- Windows may be missing other important updates hardware or software issues
- your USB controllers may have become corrupt
- your PC motherboard may need updated drivers
How do I fix it?
1. Unplug from the power supply - If you're lucky, it’s a super simple solution! Start by unplugging your computer from the power supply. This does not mean just turning off your computer using the power button because most modern computers don’t actually turn off completely and the motherboard will still get power.
The motherboard is where all of hardware of the computer connects to, including the USB ports. Sometimes the motherboard needs to be “rebooted” because things can go wrong, i.e. all or some USB ports suddenly stop working. The small microprocessor on the motherboard will reload the drivers and your USB ports should hopefully be recognizing devices again.
So first turn off your computer using the Shut Down option in Windows or pressing the power button and then UNPLUG the PC from the wall outlet. Let it sit for several minutes and then plug it back in.
2. Update device drivers - if Windows is not able to recognize the device, you may also see in Device Manager that the device shows up as an “Unknown Device”. You can get to Device Manager by going to Control Panel and clicking on Device Manager.
In this case, you should right-click on Unknown Device, click on Properties, then the Driver tab and then click Update Driver.
If this doesn’t work, you can also try to download the driver for your device from the manufacturer’s website. If the USB device is just a flash drive, then it’s probably not a driver issue. However, if you are installing a USB printer, drawing pad, etc, then it might be worth downloading the driver for that specific device.
3. Restart & disconnect USB devices - the next thing you can try is to disconnect all USB devices and then restart the computer. Once you have restarted, try to connect the USB device that was causing the problem.
If that particular USB port doesn’t recognize it, try another one. If the device is recognized by a different USB port, there could be a hardware problem with one of the USB ports.
If none of these options work, there are still several other things that can be tested however we're now getting into some advanced territory. You may wish to consult with a professional for further options.
We're happy to help diagnose what might be causing the issues.
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