How Do I Get My Computer to Recognize a USB Device

Here is the answer to how do i get my computer to recognize a USB device. Try the offered troubleshooting steps if your USB drive is not detected, recognized or showing up while plugging in.

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"I have an 8 GB Transcend flash drive. When I plug it in my laptop for data transfer, it is not even detected and I can not see it in My Computer. Why did this happen and is there any fix that I can try to get the USB device recognized?"

Five Steps to Get USB Recognized

Have you ever run into a similar USB device not recognized issue? The symptoms of the problem vary in different situations. You may 

  • Receive a USB device malfunctioned error in the lower right corner with "The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it." error message. 
  • See Unknown USB Device (Device Descriptor Request Failed) error in Device Manager.
  • Get no error message but just discover the USB drive not showing up in My Computer (named to This PC in Windows 10). 

1 - Check if the USB Device Is Recognized on Another Laptop.

If it is still not detected, it suggests that the USB device might be corrupted. In this case, you will need to check and repair disk errors
If it is detected, move to the next step to diagnose and fix the problem. 

2 - Run Device Troubleshooter.

1) Go to Start > Control Panel > search "troubleshooter" and then click "Troubleshooting" > Hardware and Sound > Configure a Device.
2) Follow on-screen instructions, and click on "Apply this fix" if any problem is found. 

This helps if the USB device not recognized issue occurred because other important hardware updates are missing in Windows, due to software issues, or as a result of malware interference. If it doesn't work, move to step 3.

3 - Uninstall and Re-install USB Controllers

1) Open Device Manager.
2) Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers. Right-click a device and select Uninstall. Repeat for each device.
3) Restart your PC and your USB controllers will be automatically re-installed.

Your computer will then recognize the USB device if the issue occurred because the currently loaded USB driver has become unstable or corrupted. And if the problem still exists, proceed to step 4.

4 - Disable USB Selective Suspend Setting.

1) Click the Start button, type "power plan" in the Search box, and then select "Choose a power plan".
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) Expand the drop-down menu next to "Plugged in", and then choose "Disabled".
6) If you're using a laptop, select Battery, select the drop-down menu, and then choose "Disabled". 
7) Select "Apply" > "OK".

This method can help your computer recognize a USB device by preventing your USB external drive from powering down. 

5 - Recover Data and Reformat the USB Drive to Make It Recognized

These are all the troubleshooting steps that you can try to make your computer recognize a USB device. If none of them resolve your issue, our advice is to try EaseUS data recovery software to recover your data and then format the USB drive for repair.

Step 1. Run USB Data Recovery Software

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software on your PC. Select the USB drive which is labeled as a removable disk, and click "Scan" to start looking for your lost files.

Select USB to scan and find lost files

Step 2. Scan and Search Lost Files on a USB Drive

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it. When the scan process completes, use the Filter feature to filter by a specific file type. This program allows you to check and preview files found on your USB.

Scan USB drive to find lost files

Step 3. Restore All Lost Files from USB

A double-click will allow you to preview the scan results. Select the target files to restore and click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost USB data

Video Tutorial: Guide to Fix USB Not Recognized Error

In addition to the above listed fixes, you can also follow this video guide to fix and make your USB recognized on your computer.

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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Approved by David Balaban

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 18 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He presents expert opinions on contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy, and white hat hacking.

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