Why won’t my system recognize my USB device?

We go over some quick fixes to make sure your system recognizes USB devices.


I have a problem with my USB ports. Say I plug in my digital camera to upload some pictures to the tower or plug in my iPod to put music on it, my system won’t recognize that they are plugged into the USB port unless I restart the entire system. This can get very annoying having to restart the computer every time I want to upload pictures, use my webcam, put music on my iPod etc. I have asked many of my friends if they have the same problem with their USB ports, but they don’t. My system won’t recognize anything that is connected into USB unless the system is restarted.

USB is great when it works, but as you’re experiencing, it can still be a pain when it doesn’t.

USB’s really only been around for a few years, and while most of the kinks have been worked out, not all of them have. Especially if you’re on an older machine or operating system version.

Since I don’t have the specific configuration of your system, I can only make some general suggestions. USB functionality can be affected by many, many things.

USB functionality can be affected by many, many things.
  • Make certain that your version of Windows is up to date by visiting Windows Update. There have been updates to the USB support in almost every version of Windows, especially the 9x and Me versions.
  • Make certain that your system BIOS is up to date. BIOS support is an important part of USB support, and just like the operating system, there have been updates. Exactly where and how to get an updated BIOS will vary depending on the manufacturer of your computer – check with them.
  • Make certain that your USB hardware drivers are up to date. The drivers are the hardware-specific interface between Windows and the USB ports. Getting updates to these drivers will depend on the manufacturer of your computer, or the manufacturer of your USB port add-in if the USB ports are on an expansion card, so you’ll need to check with them.
  • If you’re running Windows XP, run the system file checker to ensure that Windows itself is not damaged: What is the System File Checker, and how do I run it?.
  • An up-to-date spyware and virus scan wouldn’t hurt either. If any software came with the devices you’re having trouble with, make sure
  • that’s up to date, and installed properly.

The problem is that any or all of the above items could possibly impact your USB problems.

There are 95 comments:

  1. anoymyous Reply

    i have this device that worked for awhile, but then it got corruppted, i didn’t format it, and the next time i pluged it it, it didn’t recognize. I still haven’t gotten it to work. please help.

  2. Leo A. Notenboom Reply

    “this device” -> what device? What kind of device? Manufacturer? Model? Need more information.

  3. Dave Uhall Reply

    I recently relocated a hard drive from an old computer (the C: drive, with all Windows files) to a newer tower, with more RAM, etc. I’ve had success, except with 3 things – the video adapter (I dont know what the new one is, and the settings for my current one are incorrect, thereby restricting my computer to 16 color, 640×480 mode) and my USB ports. this new computer has 2 of them, whereas the other computer (the old one) had none. My question to you, sir, if you care to respond, is how might I get my new hard drive’s version of Windows 98 to recognize the USB ports? I ask because it is quite important, for instance, I have a USB mouse that will not work, as the USB ports are not recognized as existing. And I have no serial mouse anymore, so i have to navigate with the keyboard. Can you offer any insight? Thank you very much!! By the way, i dont know any of the manufacturers or models of the motherboard etc, but there must be some way to get it to work, right?

  4. Lisa Reply

    Newbie here. I just got a new digital camera and I have inserted the disc and ran it through but when I try to look at my pics there isn’t a removable disc icon in the my computer area. There was with my other digital camera. I did the whole add hardware and everything. Am I missing something.

  5. Leo Reply

    Some cameras don’t look like drives. You’ll need to check the documentation for the camera, and perhaps run an application on the PC to access the pictures.

  6. yeah ur cool Reply

    Yeah thanks a lot, Leo. I had to figure my USB problem out on my own. That idiot up there’s question was completely stupid and mine was well-written and polite. Well no more. You’re about as useful as Liza Minelli. Thanks…for nothing.

  7. Leo Reply

    Dave: the only thing that comes to mind is to fire up the New Hardware wizard. It should scan and hopefully plug & play will discover the ports.

  8. nvrpc Reply

    A note to Megallen but again they refuse to give any help. Maybe they don’t have an answer to this request. Anyone else ever had a dealings with this issue. If so please advise.


    This is my fifth request for help on this subject matter and no one has responded with anything that has any sort of fix and I need one ASAP. Like yesterday. As you can see I have a platinum GPS of which you sold me a cable that went from my COM port cable and adapted to a USB port cable. Nothing has to this date allowed my GOS to be recognized by the laptops USB port. I will tell you that if I plug this GPS into my COM port of my laptop it works just fine however no one to my knowledge uses a desktop in his or her car on the road.

    Serial Number = ( CH048466 )

    PS: The answer needs to be in English not TW.


  9. Leo Reply

    Most USB to serial adapters require additional software drivers to be installed. Did that come with the cable? (It’s what I needed with my previous laptop and GPS unit.)

  10. Splinter Reply

    I had a similar problem with my USB devices not being recognized. the fix was simple:

    Restart the computer and tap delete key as the pc is booting up. This should take you into the Bios screen. Scroll through the options until you reach the USB section and make sure that all options are enabled. Let me know if this worked for you.

  11. Leo Reply

    It’s not always the delete key to get into BIOS setup, but it’s a good reminder to go check your BIOS settings to make sure that USB is enabled.

  12. Dan Reply

    I’ve just lost three days of my life trying to figure out why suddenly none of my pnp devices in my usb ports were being recognized by windows. I’d even gone so far as to wipe my hard drive and reinstall.
    After trying every trick I could find online, to no avail, I just decided that maybe it was a hardware, not software problem. So, I opened up the computer, but everything looked OK. It was very dusty, so I blew some of that out.

    Disappointed, I restarted and suddenly windows recognized my mp3 player and my camera!! I’m so damn happy right now. Unfortunately, I don’t know what did it, but I’d guess that it was either unplugging the computer, jiggling wires or getting rid of some of the dust.

    I read somewhere that there is a connection between electricity and usb ports, so I’d suggest to everyone having this problem at least try shutting down, unplugging your computer, plugging back in and restarting.

    The nightmare is over!

  13. Brian Reply

    To all: One thing that I’ve learned with Windows is that assigning a drive letter is critical and Windows does this automatically. I’m on a server and geeze I have a lot of drives. Some of you might be experiencing this… When you plug in a USB or any external device, Windows assigns it a drive letter. BUT, Windows will only go so far. So the typical set up you’ll normally see would be A (Floppy), C (Hard Drive) D (CD/DVD) E (CD/DVD). Those are the standard. Now, take into consideration of partions or being on a server where you have access to drives on the server. Now you’re looking at more letters. If you plug something in to your machine now, Windows will get confused because it wants to give that new drive a letter but it’s already being used. So needless to say, all the info it there but you just can’t access it. Here is my cure. Right click on “My Computer”… in the pull down go to “Manage”. On the left hand side you’ll see a list of stuff. Go down to “Disk Management”. Now, if your system is working properly, you WILL see a list of ALL active and working device drives. iPod, jump drive, external HD, C drive, partions, etc… You will see whatever it is you’ve got plugged into the USB as long as it’s storage. Right click on that drive and click on “Change Drive Letter”. Now you’ll see a window in which you can pick the drive letter you want Windows to use when plugging your device in next time. Just click on “Change” then you get a scroll down of choices of every letter that hasn’t been used yet. I would say start close to the end like at Z. Let me know if this helps anybody.

  14. Girish Reply

    Hey, I’ve noticed a curious thing. If you plug in the device twice quickly (plugin half way, pull out and plug in again) most devices are recognized instantly. I’ve tried this on WinXP and win2k. It looks like a short surge of power to the device before plugging in completely works wonders for most USB problems.

    Hope it helps..

  15. Dave Heaton Reply

    Is it simply a question of forcing the iPod to make the USB connection? I use an iRiver H300. When you switch it on and plug it in to the USB port (Win XP on a newish PC), there is no reaction until you double-click the ‘play’ button on the H300, which then signals the port that it wants to connect. This works for me, although I do sometimes, for no obvious reason, have trouble making a USB printer connect, and a reboot with the printer on is the only way to get it recognised.

  16. HHG Reply

    I had no idea USB devices create such distress! I tried reading all the related comments but my problem seems slightly different. My SanDisk M250 MP3 player works on my business laptop (so I know the unit is operational) but not my home desktop. However, all other USB devices work perfectly on the desktop: keyboard, mouse, webcam, printer, removable drives, etc. When I plug in the MP3 player, a get a dialog bubble that the system has recognized a new device, but it doesn’t show up in My Computer, Device Manager, Disk Manager, and the Remove device safely icon disappears almost immediately. How can so many other USB devices (some quite old) work but not this modern, new device? I contacted SanDisk tech support but they were baffled. They do not make a specific driver for that product.

    Any advice? Thanks!

  17. hhg Reply

    Follow-up: I plugged a 4-port USB hub into my computer and then attached my MP3 player to it, and now it is recognized by my computer and works. I do get messages that it would work *better* by attaching to a high-speed port but, of course, none of those would work. I have no idea why this has tricked my computer into recognizing the MP3 player, but I’m willing to live with this solution until I learn how to solve the original problem.

  18. Michael Reply

    my 2 usb ports in front of my computer dont work, while the 4 in the back work what could be the problem with the 2 in front

  19. Leo Notenboom Reply

    Broken? Perhaps the internal cable that connects them is loose or not connected?

  20. George Birbilis Reply

    > had purchased a Mp3 player from Germany, its
    >called First 1 Mp3 player. I am now in India. I
    >was listening to music in it, and to my
    >stupidity it fell down. Now the mp3 player is
    >not functioning and its not getting switched on.
    >I tried to connect to USB in the computer and
    >its not responding. What can be done to fix this

    the flash memory in it may have been erased due to the impact shock. You should find that device’s manufacturer on the net in case you can download some firmware for it – also see if there’s some “hard reset” process for it

  21. Chuck Wynne Reply

    When a usb device is plugged in, and doesn’t come up with a drive letter, you have to go to ctrl panel, system,hardware, device manageruniversal serial bus controllers, and uninstall usb mass storage devices (start at the bottom). The pocket fob will then be recognized again, and come up with a drive letter. If it doesn’t, uninstall the next one.

  22. Max Reply

    Part of my USB port has snapped off what should i do. The USB (or memory sticks.) won’t go in.
    What should I do.
    Is there anyway of getting a new USB port
    Do I Have yo buy a new computer now

  23. Leo A. Notenboom Reply

    Hash: SHA1

    That depends entirely on exactly what computer you have and how things are set
    up. I would take it to a repair shop contact the manufacturer to determine your


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  24. Suben Reply

    I have read the article on the top of the page.

    Our computer has never given us any problems with our USB Hub but one day it did. It couldn’t recognise any Flashdrives and indentified them as Unknown. I thought it was a virus but I have done a vrus scan throughout the whole computer with Trend Micro. The message from the computer says there has been a Malfunction with the USB. I can’t remember the full message. it was in a yellow balloon. I run Windows XP Home. I used Norton Ghost to upload a previous ghost image and yet the problem is still there. This prooves it isn’t a virus. The computer is about 2 years old and the USB Hubs shouldn’t malfunction or shouldn’t stop working.

    The rest of the information was copied because I was typing this on another site but I had to register to post this.

  25. Leo A. Notenboom Reply

    Hash: SHA1

    “This prooves it isn’t a virus.” – no it does not. You can’t
    prove a negative. There is no way to PROVE that you have no

    That being said, it sure sounds like the hub has failed.
    Have you tried plugging devices directly into the computer
    instead? Replacing the hub?


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  26. Richard White Reply

    I came to this post trying to fix a problem with USB devices not loading. After loading Windows XP on another hard drive and having the same problem, I tried the BIOS update. Toshiba Laptop! the BIOS update corrected the problem

  27. Bry Reply

    From another Brian – THIS is the best thing I could’ve been taught. Thank you “Brian with an I” (From “Bryan with a Y”, A.K.A. – Lone Wolf). . .

    To all: One thing that I’ve learned with Windows is that assigning a drive letter is critical and Windows does this automatically. I’m on a server and geeze I have a lot of drives. Some of you might be experiencing this… When you plug in a USB or any external device, Windows assigns it a drive letter. BUT, Windows will only go so far. So the typical set up you’ll normally see would be A (Floppy), C (Hard Drive) D (CD/DVD) E (CD/DVD). Those are the standard. Now, take into consideration of partions or being on a server where you have access to drives on the server. Now you’re looking at more letters. If you plug something in to your machine now, Windows will get confused because it wants to give that new drive a letter but it’s already being used. So needless to say, all the info it there but you just can’t access it. Here is my cure. Right click on “My Computer”… in the pull down go to “Manage”. On the left hand side you’ll see a list of stuff. Go down to “Disk Management”. Now, if your system is working properly, you WILL see a list of ALL active and working device drives. iPod, jump drive, external HD, C drive, partions, etc… You will see whatever it is you’ve got plugged into the USB as long as it’s storage. Right click on that drive and click on “Change Drive Letter”. Now you’ll see a window in which you can pick the drive letter you want Windows to use when plugging your device in next time. Just click on “Change” then you get a scroll down of choices of every letter that hasn’t been used yet. I would say start close to the end like at Z. Let me know if this helps anybody.

    Posted by: Brian at March 27, 2006 11:07 AM

    THIS WORKS BEAUTIFULLY with Vista – 64!

  28. Jim Reply

    My USB port on my laptop suddenly refuse to recognize any device that I plugged into it. I made of number of calls to tech support people who said, after unistalling the USB Root Hub and several other efforts, that it was a mechanical problem. They sent me a box to place my laptop into, which they would return to me in 10>12 days.
    Before I placed my laptop into the box, I read the comment by “Lowry” who said that he fixed the same problem by turning off his computer, unplugging the power cord, praying then plugging the power cord back in. It worked for him and I am soooo happy. It worked for me!!!! This website saved me so much time, anguish and money.
    Thanks again!!

  29. Olivia Reply

    Hi All,

    I experienced the same problem with my computer not recognising my camera, iPod etc.
    What I found is to make sure that the device ie. Digital Camera is charged at least over 50%, therefore it should help you with your PC recognising it.

    I hope this helps with your problems!


  30. muneeb Reply

    my usb devise was functioning at first but later after i restarted the computer the device is recognised but a message appears to format the device, i tried formatting it but a message then appears and says

  31. Amy Reply

    I have a problem, too.
    ‘USB is not recognized’ shows when I try to plug in my memory card (from camera), external hard drive, and flash drive. It just happened since yesterday. What should I do? I’m wondering if it’s because of the Window Update or not… I also found ‘Error 8007006E’ when I tried to download 2 files (the system recommended for me) from Window Update.

    I use Window Vista for my laptop. Any suggestions?

  32. Emmet Reply

    hi everyone,
    i have a similar problem, however it is with the usb device itself.
    last year i bought a 2Gb Shintaro usb memory stick, and at first it works fine, i had a large amount of information stored on it (around 1.7gb) and it still worked fine for a few more months… then towards the end of last year my computer stopped recognising it. i have tried connecting to other computers and they all don’t recognise it. now my computer simply wont even agnowledge that it is there, but my usb ports are fine. so it is clearly a problem with the usb device itself. i know that the obvious thing to do is to throw it out and buy a new one, but i have over 1.5gb of important documents and information stored on it and i need to get that information off… is there anything i can do to to retrieve those documents etc??
    please help me

    It sounds like the USB device has failed or worn out. (Flash memory does wear out.) I don’t have any recovery help for you. One lesson is to never keep only one copy of important data. Always have a backup.

    - Leo
  33. Mary Ann Reply

    When I plug something into the USB ports it does’nt show up in “Computer” I don’t know how else to open the information other than through “computer” and since it doesn’t show that anything is plugged in I don’t know what to do. I have a USB microphone and the recording software still picks it up in at least one port but it’s not recoginized anywhere else. Thanks.

  34. Lisa Reply

    My laptop HP G6000 used to know my sony ericsson and i could upload photo’s fine but i think i did something in my media player on my computer because it dosent know my phone any more and i dont know what to do, please help me leo!!

  35. Robert Reply

    Most excellent information utilizing Computer Management & assigning drive letters to specific storage devices, in this case Kingston USB jump drives. I had letters up to Z filled having partitions & external drive but was allowed to add A & B. Great work around idea, thanks.

  36. redfred Reply

    i bought an ext hdd (western digital – scorpio blue 160G) but my pc can’t detect the hdd. i got 2 pc one run P3 & one run P4 , i’ve tried on both pc.on the P3 pc fine but on P4 pc it can’t detect the hdd.i’m confuse. i’ve tried the P4 pc with every usb device(thumb drive,digital camera, card reader etc.) & it runs ok but not the ext hdd i’ve just bought.
    when i plug in the hdd got that normal sound detecting any usb device but in my computer there’s no sign of it. i open device manager there’s a yellow icon stated unknown device.

  37. paul neira Reply

    i installed an oiusbf family kernel on my mac and now my all of my usb ports r locked my keyboard doesnt even respond can anyone help!!!!!!!!!

  38. Paul Reply

    I’ve had to deal with a lot is the USB storage drives (eg pen drives) that start giving the ‘device not recognized’ error message.

    One trick to try when ALL else has failed, is to
    open up the casing the drive is held in.

    An awful lot I have retrieved data from, the fault has been the solder on connectors worn off, or snapped or the like.

    Manually holding it in the right place, requiring a fair bit of patience to get it just right, will often be recognised as a USB drive, and allow me to rescue the information.

    I’d stress to try it on more than one computer before trying this.

  39. Toni halliday Reply

    ok so i bought my LG KS3360 7 months ago, it came with a lead to put files onto my computer from my phone but i lost that lead, so i bought a new one and everytime i plug the USB cable in, it says “USB device not recognized” and it keeps making the “connected” noise and then dissconects straight away.. whats up with it?

  40. Brendan Reply

    I’m trying to help my brother fix his Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo laptop running Windows Vista. One day out of the blue, his mouse stopped working, also noticed no access to external drive. On testing NO devices would work on ANY USB connection. (tested them in other computers and they work) In the devices area WVista says all usbs Hubs are working fine and the drivers are up-to-date. However when you plug something in (say a mouse or a drive) it comes up with the message that it is an UNKNOWN device. If you follow through to ‘fix’ the problem it says all the latest drivers are installed. In short, windows wont let you fix it because it says there is no problem.
    On instpection I did find that there were NO USB keys AT ALL (Is this usual?) in the registry under “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServices” whereas on my own laptop there are many entries there. In fact there are NO entries at all USB or otherwise in the services area!

    So to continue in this fix:
    1. are there supposed to be at least ONE or more entries in this reg key?
    2. is there a downloadable fix fot this?
    3. Failing that, how can I edit his registry to enter new keys and give the correct values? I tried importing my exported keys for that services area and Windows wont let me import it into his registry. (well it does but then it says some weren’t entered because they were in use – in fact NONE are entered)

    Working on this for over a week now – all help appreciated.
    Oh by the way I’ve cleanly re-installed windows Vista (using FujSiem recovery installation disks)TWICE which did it’s own online update from windows in the process – still no usb devices recognised (although as I said, the Devices section says the ports are OK)

  41. kingsly123 Reply

    when i try to hook my phone to the laptop with a usb cable it just makes the sound but doesn’t show up in my computer

  42. Colin Reply

    I wish re-booting would fix my problem.
    My mouse and GPS connect OK to the USB ports, but my printer, memory stick, 7 port hub and iphone do not.
    All connected ok, but for some reason, only mouse and GPS connect OK now.
    Why has this happened?

  43. Cornelis Reply

    i bought a 300N USB Adapter made by sitecom 2 days ago and when i woke up i put my usb adapter into my Compaq Presario CQ60 Laptop with Windows Vista Home Basic and it says the Usb can’t be recognized, i reinstalled the drivers that were given with the USB device, still doesn’t work. I restarted my laptop, still doesn’t work. so what should i do Leo?

  44. Madonna Reply

    Sorry, I can’t offer a solution. But I have a similar problem. I have a paid subscription for Bearshare and iMesh. They were working perfectly for two years but now neither one will recognize my mp3, a Sansa. My computer, however, recognizes it as Removeable Disk, no problem. Any suggestions for a solution would be greatly appreciated.

  45. john suregoen Reply

    This information is as close to useless. You forgot to add “reboot your machine” to the list of generic advice.

  46. Alexander. Reply

    I wish re-booting would fix my problem.
    My mouse and GPS connect OK to the USB ports, but my printer, memory stick, 7 port hub and iphone do not.
    All connected ok, but for some reason, only mouse and GPS connect OK now.
    Why has this happened?

    Silly person

    usb Have a power Maximum. Your proberly overloading the power available to it.

    7 + 3 usb attatchments is not good and is the likely cause.

    would proberly reduce the performance of camera and also mouse.

    wish people knew physics.

  47. Steve Reply

    I had the same problem with my dell 1710, would not read any usb unless i restarted the system. I contacted Dell support who advised me i may have a virus or malware. The answer for me was to download PC Doctor and run a scan, The scan showed up 26 types of virus and malware. You can download the software free to do a scan but you have to purchase a licence to make it remove the bugs, but it did identify a virus that no other software had. Upon removal all my usb’s now work perfectly. Try the free scan it may save you a lot of lost time.

  48. Chantal August Reply

    I have a USB flash drive which was working fine until yesterday, when I plugged it into my computer, it comes up with this message, “USB device not recognised” I have all my work on it and unfortunately I did not back up my work. Can you help me. It starts to read it with the light going on, but then stops.

  49. syafeeqah Reply

    i bought my usb cable 2 weeks ago and i have used it three times b4 and its function is okay. but today my PC cant detect my usb cable and i don’t know how to solve this. Do i have to buy a new one?
    Hmm.. that’s sucks..

    PCs don’t detect the cable. They detect the device that’s plugged into the other end of the cable.


  50. janet Reply

    I have a new desktop acer, and a new hp deskjet4480. I purchased a usb cable at best buy with the comp, and printer. It says device not connected when i go through the steps on installing the printer from the cd that came with it! i am so frustrated i have a printer i cant use! I am not sure where which port the usb cable should go into, on the back of the comp, or in the front of the hardrive…is it possible that i need to purchase a new usb…or download new software from the hp website..plz help with any ideas!

  51. Mark Ruschman Reply

    I hooked my phone into my computer via USB before, and I was able to transfer ringtones and photos. Now when I try, it won’t recognize my phone. it will recognize other items hooked through USB, and I even tried different cables for my phone. What can I check on my PC to see if it can be detected? I tired all of my phone options, and nothing has worked to this point. Thanks!

  52. Michael Weathers Reply

    USB ports want recongize mouse or any other device. It has been working fine, just stopped.

  53. jack Reply

    ive updated my computer and downloaded the correct system for my phone. on “my computer” the usb icon is visable but when i double click it it says “please insert a removable disk (E:) when my usb is connected

  54. chuy Reply

    when i connect anny remobeble devvice such as an ipod it doesnt recognize it it only charge is it!

  55. Steve Reply

    Use this file and save it into the windows directory…

    USBSTOR.inf Search for it on the net. :)

  56. Kathy LaTourette Reply

    Just installed new program for work (home-based transcription services) and it requires a USB foot pedal that is not working. I’ve tried all six USB ports. Checked device manager, uninstalled, reinstalled, checked updates for device drivers. Can you help?

  57. Sam Yuen Reply

    My winXP SP3 doesn’t recognize any webcam via USB. I’ve tried various ones that are confirmed to work on other PCs. I’ve used the included drivers etc. What’s odd is, other USB devices like external hard drives are detected and work properly. Somehow just the webcams aren’t detected. I’m hoping this is something simple i overlooked? thanks

  58. ramon punsalang Reply

    I have a 3-year old PC running Windows XP. My Epson T10 printer connected via USB runs fine. But if I plug in a USB memory stick or an external HD, they cannot be detected. Both work fine when connected to my daughter’s laptop though. Any comments/suggestions.

  59. sara Reply

    i have windows 7 and my pc won’t reconise my usb for a mouse what can i do????

  60. paulellison Reply

    my pc is 3 yr old and i had to format it and reinstall windows xp. it asked me for the 25 digit key which part of it has come off the top of tower so i cant enter it.i have since updated to vista and now the computer wont rcognise any my drivers. i have put the original drivers disk in but evrytime i click on the Drivers it say ERROR. what do i do?

  61. reshma Reply

    i m having problem with my USB port and the thing is it doesnt rcognize the flash drive n devive connected to it. but few days back, after restarting ma laptop it would recognise it but now it dont response. moreover the problem is my flash drive and devices shows that it is connected but it is not shown in ma laptop..plz help

  62. Psy Reply

    I had the same problem with my Acer aspire 5100 series laptop.

    I did EVERYTHING (including taking the power cord and battery out) on this thread and it still didn’t work.

    amazingly, this worked (unintentionally): I ran the battery as flat as I could; pressed the power button (so it would start up for about 2 seconds before dying) many times, and even ‘trick-started’ it by turning it on with the power cord in, then pulling it out as windows tried to load. BIOS won’t start anything if the battery is at a critical level, but it will if there’s power in..

    So windows never got up and running because the battery was flat, but it must have screwed up the system somehow. Anyway, after I left it charging a bit and started windows, up came ‘Installing new hardware: USB Composite device”, and all the ports worked again!

    One note: my battery life went down by about 5% (I monitored it with CPUID HWMonitor)

  63. CARF Reply

    download usb recognizer and stop using WINDOWS, change to better things like LINUX.

  64. mesh Reply

    Windows 7 64bit ultimate
    Processor-3.40 ghz
    RAM -3gig
    last update 2days ago 05/21

    Got the phone htc mytouch with 3.0mm jack
    windows doesn’t reconize the phone when plugged in, but the charges. any help

    tried manual hardware installation but came out an error message saying couldn’t start the device code 10
    (thats not ID10T error though right??)
    desprate to know what can be done, any help will be appricited.

  65. Ashlesh Reply

    I have an old pc..its about 7 yrs old..i have formated the system recently but my usb isnt working..i have installed all the drivers..still it isnt responding at all..how can i check if it is

  66. Diane M Eugene Reply

    I’m having the same problem with my usb ports on my laptop,,,

  67. phadindra nepali Reply

    in my computer windows xp programme is running.
    before my computer recognize usb device and one day i disabled the auto run usb device after that my computer doesnot recognize the usb device.please solve my problem

  68. azza Reply

    My USB ports have stopped working on the rear of my laptop. One stopped about a year ago and the other stopped the other day. “device not detected or has malfunctioned” Am using my modem on the last port on the side and don’t like using the touch pad as it is too slow. Using a Vista system. Am in a remote area and hope the last port doesn’t give up also. Any ideas? I’ve tried all I can. Cheers.

    Sounds like something only a hardware technician, or a new laptop, would solve.


  69. mykez moore Reply

    ok my ipod touch(8gb)is disabled and itunes and laptop wont recongnize it.and i need to know what to do

  70. John Rovira Reply

    My Activa 8G flash drive does not work in my WIN98SE computer. I get a message that a driver is needed. The flash driver works fine in my XP computer and the info on the package claims it’s OK for WIN98SE as well as XP.

    Not surprising – Windows XP comes with USB drivers, Win98 is old enough that it does not. It’s unlikely that you’ll find drivers for it anymore.


  71. Aaron Reply

    I have a USB 2.0 drive that claims to be backward compatible, but it doesn’t work on my Vista comp. with regular USB drives. Can i fix this?

    There’s no way for me to know without a LOT more specific information – like makes, model numbers and most important of all error messages. I’d simply try it in other machines first.


  72. Aaron Reply

    U, hehe, turns out it was upside-down, and all it needed was time to install. Thanks.

  73. peter allen Reply

    usb ports are playing up as windows xp tells me my printer cable↲
    is not connected when it is↲Can anyone please help?↲

  74. Stefany Reply

    My computer is saying it is not detecting my webcam and it worked just yesterday I dont know how it is not working today.

  75. Ayob Reply

    My windows 7 suddenly cannot detect the usb pendrive that has my Nikon digital card in it. I was able to transfer over 80 JPG files earlier, and suddenly it stopped working. Please advise what to do next.

  76. cisca Reply

    my computer does not recognise my internet moderm and my external hard drive what do i do?

  77. Nite Adder Reply

    My computer can recognize digital camera but can’t view the images. pls…can someone help me…

  78. amit RAI Reply

    my computer does not recognise my internet
    moderm and my external hard drive what do i do?

  79. Douglas Reply

    My problem is that my laptop does not recognize one of my USBs only. It detects all the others fine. There is nothing special about this one except that it has a built-in camera (to help me catch critters eating my plants at night!) The first time I plugged it in, the laptop did recognize it. But after that one time, it never did again.

  80. Rooch Reply

    Why when i plug in my Polariod camera that my Pc doesn’t recongize it?

  81. Sandra Reply

    I tried connecting my laptop to the internet using my nokia c3 and a usb since my windows xp doesn’t have a bluetooth but, all efforts proved futile. What could be wrong? I’ve followed the normal setting procedures on my phone but, still, no good result.

  82. Ray Floyd Reply

    Hi Leo,

    Whilst working for a major IT firm I came across this fix for suspect USB Ports and it works every time.

    The problem with USB Ports is that they are prone to Static Charge and because of this they sometimes refuse to work, the workaround for this is very simple:

    Do a Static Discharge

    Disconnect the computer from the power ( pull out the plug from the rear of the computer supply, then hold the power button on your computer in for a minimum of 30 seconds ( it must be 30 seconds or over) then re-connect your power supply and re-boot.

    Yes its that simple

    Have fun and good computing to you all

  83. Jack Rader Reply

    May 30, 2012. Problem, XP system will not always display insertion of a thumb drive although I do get audio beep indication of its insertion but when I display files with explorer the drive will not be shown. I have used diskmgnt.msc and found the drive has an assigned letter. I have tried changing the assigned but although change is successful in diskmgnt no drive is displayed by file explorer. I have found if reboot system the drive will appear but if I remove and re-insert it will not reappear in explorer.

  84. Zeevo Reply

    Hi, I have a Samsung Galaxy Pro . The first time i plugged in my smartphone, my computer recognized it and installed the software but after that, every time i plug it my phone recognizes my computer when it is booting but as soon as the computer turns on it no longer recognizes i even updated my Windows but to no avail….please help!! :(

  85. Bill Reply

    Alkl week-end I have had problems with my wireless internet adapter not being recognized by my windows oeprating ssyte,

    it is an AT &T wireless adapter. It used to receive a wireless signal and find a network until this past saturday morning.

    the AT & T technician stated to me that my USB ports on the back of my computer were “corrupted” for some reason.

    we put the wireless adapter into the front USB port and it worked late satruday afternoon. when I tried to go online sunday, my wireless showed “connected” but would not pull up yahoo or any website.

    then the network connection went off completely.. AT & T could not solve problem. my Kindle works via my wireless modem so I am getting the wireless signal.

    is it my wireless internet adapter? it seems very odd that all 4 of my USB ports do not recognize the wireless internet adapter any longer.

    any idea’s?

  86. masi Reply

    hi. I have a problem with my laptop( lenovo that runs windows 7 profetional) at first it used to read some USB memory sticks but now it doesn’t anymore, the laptop is running fine except that it does not read any usb and recently does not want to update windows. what could be the problem , I tried to change the operating system but its not working. please help masi

  87. Aaron Reply

    My Nokia C3 phone when i plug it to the PC through USB port the PC does not recognise it infact it does not show that it has been plugged, so help me how can i fix this problem?

    • Leo Reply

      I would try it on another computer, but assuming that fails also you’ll need to talk to your mobile phone provider.

      • sandra Reply

        i have a problem with my pc its a acer travelmate 4062WLMi whic is about 9year old. i only use it for my e-mails and to surf the net which is not all the time. Before i could copy my photos onto the removable disk but now its gone, if i put a dvd into the drive that has pictures on them i can copy onto pc but cannot copy from pc to dvd. please advise

  88. sandra Reply

    i cannot download my photos onto a dvd whereas before i could, but now it does not show me removable disk. but if i put a dvd into the drive with picturers i can copy onto pc . i am using a accer travelmate 4062. my pc is about 9 years old and i only use it for my e-mails and to browze on the net from time to time, please advise can i download some program from the web whereby i can then burn my disk.

    thank you

  89. adbhut Reply

    Hello sir, can u please help me , when I connect my modem in pc it is giving me an error device not recognize, what to do??

    Thanks in advance

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article. Seriously. You'd be shocked at how many people make comments that prove they didn't.
  • Comment only on the article. If you have a new, unrelated question start with the search box at the top of the page.
  • Don't post personal information. Email addresses, phone numbers and such will be removed.

VERY IMPORTANT: because of a rise in comment spam that's making it through our filters any comments that do not add to the discussion - typically off topic or content-free comments - run a very high risk of being flagged as spam and removed.

If you have a new question unrelated to the article above, ask it on the Ask Leo! ask-a-question page.