Fixed: USB Device Malfunctioned and Not Recognized in Windows

This page offers six solutions to fix the USB device not recognized issue in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP. If you come across the error message that says The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned, Windows does not recognize it or you cannot open and access the data on your device, read along to learn how to fix this issue without data loss.

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Table of Contents

6 Fixes| USB Device Malfunctioned and Not Recognized

Here are the solutions to the USB device malfunctioned and is not recognized issue. If you have this USB device error, don't worry. Use the methods below to make your USB recognizable and usable again.

Effective Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Unplug Computer Shut down the computer > Unplug power cable...Full steps
Fix 2. Change USB Cable/Port Check all the available USB cables and ports...Full steps
Fix 3. Uninstall Device Driver Navigate to the Driver tab, choose Uninstall...Full steps
Fix 4. Update Device Driver Choose Update Device Driver in Device Manager...Full steps
More Fixes and USB Data Recovery Change USB settings and reinstall USB driver...Full steps

"USB device not recognized" is an error that usually occurs on Windows computers when you plug in a USB device. When Windows generates such an error, the USB will not show up on your computer, and you can't access your data. In different situations, the error is followed by various messages:

"The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it."

"One of the USB devices attached to this computer has malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it. For assistance in solving this problem, click this message."

USB device malfunctioned not recognized

How to Fix USB Device Not Recognized in Windows

If your device is not recognized on your computer, try the six solutions below to make it show up again. We strongly recommend you follow the below methods in sequence. Since there are many reasons that lead to a Windows failed to recognize the USB device error, each method is for a specific scenario.

Fix 1. Unplug Your Computer from the Power Source

This sounds like a piece of cake thing to do but it works! For most unrecognized USB devices, there is typically nothing wrong. A simple computer restart could resolve the issue. This method reboots the motherboard, which has all of the computer hardware connected to, including the USB ports. Rebooting the motherboard usually helps solve the temporary insufficient power supply for outside devices.

Step 1. Cut your computer power at its source, which is unplugging your computer from the wall outlet.

Step 2. Leave the computer unplugged for a few minutes, and then plug it back into the wall outlet.

Step 3. Check if the computer detects the USB device and assigns it a drive letter.

unplug computer to fix a not recognized usb device

If this fix didn't work, don't panic. Follow the other fixes below.

Fix 2. Change the USB Port

Is your computer's USB port not working properly? Check the available USB ports one by one and see whether it is a computer hardware problem or a problem with the device itself. If changing to another port solves the problem, then there is something wrong with the previous port. You can give up on that broken port, or send your computer for repair. 

Fix 3. Uninstall USB Device Driver to Make USB Recognizable

If the USB drivers are unstable or damaged, this method removes those drivers. Know that uninstalling the drivers can cause all USB ports to become dysfunctional.

Step 1. Right-click on the Windows logo and choose Device Manager.

Step 2. Find and expand Universal Serial Bus controllers, right-click on any of the USB drivers, and click Uninstall. Do this for all USB drivers one by one.

Step 3. Restart your PC. The USB drivers will automatically reinstall and solve the corrupted USB devices problem.

uninstall usb hub in device manager

Fix 4. Update/Rollback a Device Driver

Many YouTube videos and IT forums suggest using Device Manager to troubleshoot non-recognizable USB devices. Give this method a go and see if it works for you.

Step 1. Right-click on the Windows logo and choose Device Manager.

Step 2. Expand "Universal Serial Bus Controllers" and you will see an item called "Generic USB Hub". Righ-click on the first Generic USB Hub and choose "Properties".

Step 3. Navigate to the "Driver" tab and choose "Update Driver".

Step 4. When asked how do you want to search for driver software, there are two options. 

1. Search automatically for updated driver software

This way uses an automatic update by Windows. When this is finished, all you need to do is to disconnect the USB device, restart the computer, and reconnect the USB device again. Windows will install the latest driver for you.

2. Browse my computer for driver software

When you choose this option, you need to continue with the pop-up "let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer."

From the list, select Generic USB hub, which is normally the only choice. Click "Next" and then Windows will install the driver for you.

select driver to update

If updating the driver doesn't help solve the USB device problem, try to update each Generic USB Hub until you have updated all.

In the same path as update the driver, roll back to the previous driver when the error didn't occur. Instead of selecting "Update Driver" in the "Driver" tab, choose "Roll Back Driver" this time.

roll back driver to fix usb device not recognized

The changes made on the computer power and the device driver should take effect, and your USB device will no longer report issues. If this is not the case, try the other three methods one by one.

Fix 5. Change the USB Selective Suspend Settings

Another possible reason your USB malfunctions is that the hub driver suspends the USB automatically. In this case, changing the USB selective suspend settings could help.

Step 1. Right-click on the Windows icon and click Power Options.

Step 2. In the Choose or customize a power plan window, click Change plan setting.

Step 3. In the Edit Plan Settings window, click Change advanced power settings.

Step 4. In the Power Options window, find and expand USB settings, expand USB selective suspend settings, and Disable both On battery and Plugged in settings.

Step 5. Click Apply and then OK to save the settings.

disable usb selective suspend settings

Fix 6. Fix USB Root Hub

The USB root hub is the software driver that lets you connect multiple USB peripherals to your computer. Most computers have multiple root hubs so you can share the data bus across multiple devices. So, if the computer cannot recognize your USB drive, try to fix the USB root hub.

Step 1. Open Device Manager, find the Universal Serial Bus controllers option and single-click it to expand it.

Step 2. Find the USB Root Hub option in this category, right-click it, and choose Properties.

Step 3. Go to the Power Management tab and uncheck the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" option. Then, click OK to save your changes.

Fix USB Root Hub.

Further Troubleshooting: Data Recovery from USB Flash Drive 

The six ways we outlined above are all the possible ways to fix the "USB device malfunctioned and not recognized" error.

If one of the fixes worked, you should be able to access your USB and use the saved data on it again.

If you have resolved the problem but find that data is missing from your USB flash drive, you need third-party software to retrieve your data. Here, EaseUS disk data recovery can help when your USB device does not show up on your computer but appear in Disk Management. The program works very well in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP and previous versions.

EaseUS Hard Drive Data Recovery Software

  • Recover data from SD card, emptied recycle bin, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorders
  • Restore data for sudden deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus attack, system crash under different situations
  • Repair corrupted files on the USB drive, including damaged photos, videos, and documents
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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

When you retrieve data from USB devices, we suggest you save retrieved files to a secure location to avoid further problems. 

Bonus Tip: Format USB to NTFS/FAT32 and Recreate Partition on USB

A few people encountered the issue more than once. They said the same USB device started malfunctioning again after a short period of repairing it. If this is the case with you, formatting and recreating a new partition can help.

  • Connect the USB to the PC, right-click on This PC/My Computer, and select Manage.
  • Enter Device Manager, select Disk Management, locate and right-click on your malfunctioned USB, and select Format volume...
  • Finish the format process and set the file system to NTFS or FAT32.

Check whether the USB shows up on your computer or not. If not, follow the steps below:

  • Open Disk Management, right-click on USB, select Delete Volume, and complete the process.
  • When USB shows as unallocated, right-click on it, select New Simple Volume, set the drive letter, set the file system (NTFS/FAT32) for it, and complete the process. 

After this, you should be able to access the USB drive on your PC and save data on it again.

Video Tutorial: Make USB Recognized by Yourself

This video collects 4 reliable solutions that are introduced above and you can also follow them to fix USB device not recognized issues by yourself.

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and likes various electronic products.

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Approved by Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh is an experienced comuter tech writer. He's been writing tech how-to guides for about 8 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to teach people how they can get the most out of their devices.

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