USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (2023)

Method 2 – Update Device Driver

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 clicking on Start and typing in devmgmt.msc or by going to Control Panel and clicking on Device Manager.USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (1)In that case, you should right-click onUnknown Device, click onProperties, then theDrivertab and then clickUpdate Driver.USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (2)

Method 3 – Restart & Disconnect USB Devices

The next thing you can try is to disconnect all USB devices and then restart the machine. 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 no USB port recognizes the device, then keep reading because it’s probably something else.

Method 4 – USB Root Hub

Another thing you can try is to open Device Manager, expand USB Serial Bus Controllers, right-click on USB Root Hub and then click on Properties.

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (3)Click on thePower Managementtab and uncheck theAllow the computer to turn off this device to save powerbox. If you have more than one USB Root Hub listed, you need to repeat these steps for each one.USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (4)

Click OK and then restart your computer. Try to reconnect the USB device and see if it is recognized. If not, go back to the power management tab for each one and check the box again. If it does recognize the device, then leave them unchecked.

(Video) How to Fix: USB Randomly Disconnecting

Method 5 – Connect Directly to PC

A friend of mine ran into this issue and the cause ended up being his USB hub. He only had three USB ports on his computer, so he bought a hub where he could connect an additional 8 USB devices.

I guess this proved too much for his computer and it just started sporadically not recognizing various devices. After removing the hub and connecting the device directly to the computer, it worked just fine.

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (5)

We haven’t really been able to find any other solution to this problem other than reducing the number of items connected to the hub. Actually, one other solution worked, but it meant having to buy a new USB hub with more power.

If you are having this problem with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, then you might be in luck. Microsoft has released a fix for Windows 8 not detecting USB devices properly. Make sure to install this hotfix if running Windows 8.

Method 6 – USB Trouble-shooter

If nothing has worked so far, you can download the Windows USB Trouble-shooter Fixit tool. It’s a free tool that works with Windows XP, Vista and 7.

(Video) The Frustrations Of Plugging Things In - USB Plug Hack

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (6)

You can either have the trouble-shooter fix the problems for you or select the fixes yourself. I would just let it fix them for you since the choices can sometimes be confusing and technical for the novice user.

Method 7 – Update Generic USB Hub

If you are getting the Unknown Device error in Device Manager, you can also try one other thing. Open Device Manager and then expand Universal Serial Bus Controllers.

You should see at least one item called Generic USB Hub. On some computers, you might see two, three or more of these. Right-click on the first one and choose Update Driver Software.

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (7)

When the update dialog pops up, choose Browse my computer for driver software.

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (8)

Then click on Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer at the bottom.

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (9)

From the list, select Generic USB Hub. Normally, there won’t be anything else listed except for that one choice. Click Next and then click Close once it finishes installing it.

(Video) Windows 10 USB sounds keep playing randomly Fix

At this point, the Device Manager screen should refresh and either the unknown device will still be there or it may now be recognized. If it’s still showing as not recognized, then you repeat the process for each Generic USB Hub listed.

Method 8 – Uninstall USB Devices

As a last resort, you can also try uninstalling all USB devices from your system and then restarting. I mention this last because even though Windows is supposed to automatically recognize the USB controllers, hubs and devices automatically, it can sometimes fail and you’ll end up with no USB ports working.

I had a computer with 6 USB ports and only one port would not work properly. I uninstalled everything under USB Serial Bus Controllers in Device Manager and restarted. Instead of re-detecting everything, I was left with no USB port working, so be careful when using this method.

Go to Device Manager and start uninstalling each item from under USB Serial Bus Controllers. Before you start with anything that is already working, uninstall the items with exclamation points or that are listed as Unknown Device.USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (10)

Method 9 – Uninstall Hidden Devices

By default, Device Manager doesn’t show all devices that have been installed to the system. It basically only shows the ones that are currently connected. However, if you installed a USB printer earlier and now no longer use it, it will still be installed, but won’t show up in Device Manager.Certain hidden or ghost USB devices can cause conflicts with current USB devices and therefore lead to this error. You can view hidden devices in Device Manager by first opening a command prompt and then typing the following two commands:

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (11)


(Video) USB Is A Lie


start devmgmt.msc

Once Device Manager loads, you need to click on View and then click on Show Hidden Devices.

USB Connection Can Be Frustrating (12)

Now you want to expand Imaging Devices, Universal Serial Bus Controllers and Unknown Devices. If you see anything listed there that is greyed out or that says unknown device, go ahead and right-click on them and choose Uninstall. Hopefully, removing the older devices will allow the newer devices to work properly.

Other Possible Solutions

If nothing has worked until this point, it’s pretty safe to say there could be a problem with the actual hardware. The best thing to do is to connect the device to another computer and see if it works or not. If not, then it’s definitely an issue with the device.

Possible Solution #1 – The other possible solutions are to try a different USB cable, if you have one lying around. If not, just buy a new cheap USB cable from Amazon: A to B, A to Micro B, A to Mini B, or A to A. This is a fairly rare problem, but I have seen it occur a few times over my many years doing technical support.

(Video) USB keeps disconnecting & reconnecting in Windows 11 Fix

Possible Solution # 2 – Another possible solution is to take the device, connect it to another machine and if it does recognize the device properly, to then eject it properly from that computer before reconnecting it to the original computer. I’ve seen this problem occur with several flash drives that were unplugged without ejecting properly. After connecting them to another computer and ejecting them properly from there, they suddenly started to show up on the original computer that was not recognizing them.

Possible Solution #3 – A few people have had luck getting rid of this problem by updating the BIOS. I’ve already written an article about whether it’s a good idea or not to update the BIOS, but in this case, it might be worth a try. You can also go into the BIOS and disable USB, restart the computer and then enable USB again. The only thing you need to make sure is that you have a PS2 port on your computer, otherwise you won’t be able to do anything once you disable USB in the BIOS if your keyboard and mouse are connected via USB.

Hopefully, one of the many solutions above will solve your USB problem. If not, post a comment and I’ll try to help. Enjoy!


What are the common problems with USB? ›

USB-related issues can be caused due to incompatible device, outdated, incorrect, or corrupt drivers, damaged USB ports or cables, faulty USB port, and so on.

How can I solve my USB problem problem? ›

Press and hold (or right-click) the USB external hard drive with the issue, and select Uninstall. After the hard drive is uninstalled, unplug the USB cable. Wait for 1 minute and then reconnect the USB cable. The driver should automatically load.

What causes USB port failure? ›

Look for debris in the USB port. These ports are wide open whenever you don't have a device plugged in so it's easy for debris, like dust or food, to get wedged inside. If you see anything stuck inside, shut your computer down and gently remove the obstruction with a thin plastic or wooden implement like a toothpick.

What is one benefit of using a USB connection? ›

One of the main benefits of using USB cables is their ability to carry more information per second (12 mb/second) than parallel cables (115 kb/second). This means faster data transfer. Another advantage that goes with an USB cable is that its port is smaller than parallel cable port.

What is the negative impact of USB? ›

USB flash drives are small in size and can be easily misplaced. They can easily spread viruses, and malware, from one computer to another or in networks.

How do I reset my USB? ›

For Windows Operating Systems
  1. Connect the USB storage device to the computer.
  2. Open the Computer or This PC window, depending on your OS version: ...
  3. In the Computer or This PC window, right-click the drive icon in which the USB device appears.
  4. From the menu, click Format.
Dec 8, 2017

Why is my USB stick suddenly not working? ›

USB driver issues, drive letter conflicts, file system errors, etc., may all cause your USB flash drive not showing up on Windows PC. You can update the USB driver, reinstall the disk driver, recover USB data, change the USB drive letters, and format the USB to reset its file system.

How do I test a USB port for problems? ›

To scan for hardware changes, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run. ...
  2. Type devmgmt. ...
  3. In Device Manager, click your computer so that it is highlighted.
  4. Click Action, and then click Scan for hardware changes.
  5. Check the USB device to see whether it is working.

How do I clean my USB port? ›

Turn off your device and use the can of compressed air or the bulb syringe to clean out the charging port. Blast a few short bursts and see if any dust falls out. If using compressed air, make sure you're holding the can upright to avoid getting water inside the port.

What are two important facts about USB connections? ›

USB connects different devices using a standard interface. Most people use USB for computer mice, keyboards, scanners, printers, digital cameras, and USB flash drives. There are over six billion USB devices around the world. The standard was made to improve plug and play devices.

What is USB and what is it commonly used for? ›

USB, in full universal serial bus, technology used to connect computers with peripheral devices. First introduced in 1996, the USB standard was developed by a number of American companies, including IBM, Intel Corporation, and Microsoft Corporation, as a simpler way of connecting hardware to personal computers (PCs).

Are USB devices a threat? ›

What are the dangers of USB flash drives? A malicious USB device can allow a victim to steal stored passwords, gain access to sensitive files, or directly open a backdoor to gain control of a device.

How long will a USB last? ›

USB flash drives can withstand between 10,000 to 100,000 write/erase cycles, depending on the memory technology used. When the limit is reached, some portion of the memory may not function properly, leading to lost of data and corruption.

Is USB obsolete? ›

Some of the USB types will soon be obsolete in favour of USB-C, which might replace not only Type-A but the Mini-USB and Micro-USB connectors. If devices still have ports, USB-C will undoubtedly be the connector of the future.

What are three benefits of using a USB? ›

Are USB Flash Drives Good for Backup? 6 USB Advantages
  • They're inexpensive. ...
  • They're portable enough to go anywhere with you. ...
  • They're easy to use. ...
  • They're versatile and easy to customize. ...
  • They're reliable enough to stand up to everyday wear and tear. ...
  • They don't require an internet connection to use.
Feb 18, 2022

How safe is a USB? ›

Don't use the same flash drives for home and work computers, as you could run the risk of cross contaminating your computers. Be careful where you purchase your USB drives from, as some shady third party manufacturers are known to manufacture these devices with malware on them.

How do I know if my USB stick is bad? ›

If you've noticed files disappearing from your USB stick, or you're getting messages like "USB Not Recognized or Malfunctioned," you're probably dealing with a USB drive that's gone bad. It's not impossible to recover files from a damaged USB flash drive.

How do I know if my USB is dying? ›

To tell if a USB flash drive or USB hard drive is dead, you can go to "This PC" > "Manage" > "Disk Management" and check its status. Generally, you will find the dead USB drive in one of the following situations: The USB drive is not showing up in Windows at all.

How often do USB sticks fail? ›

Average values vary widely. Most devices can withstand between 10,000 and 100,000 cycles. Low-quality products may last fewer than 10,000 cycles, while cutting-edge drives made using the latest technologies can reach one million or more.

Do USB ports wear out? ›

All ports wear out eventually. Standard USB-A and USB-B ports are rated for 1,500 plug/unplug cycles. Mini USB ports are rated by specification for 5,000 plug/unplug cycles. Doesn't mean you run out at those, but that's the design goal.

How do I know if my USB is bad? ›

If you've noticed files disappearing from your USB stick, or you're getting messages like "USB Not Recognized or Malfunctioned," you're probably dealing with a USB drive that's gone bad. It's not impossible to recover files from a damaged USB flash drive.

How do I check if my USB ports are malfunctioning? ›

Method 1: Use Device Manager to scan for hardware changes
  1. Click Start, and then click Run. ...
  2. Type devmgmt. ...
  3. In Device Manager, click your computer so that it is highlighted.
  4. Click Action, and then click Scan for hardware changes.
  5. Check the USB device to see whether it is working.

What is the average life of a USB? ›

Average values vary widely. Most devices can withstand between 10,000 and 100,000 cycles. Low-quality products may last fewer than 10,000 cycles, while cutting-edge drives made using the latest technologies can reach one million or more.

How do I test my USB connection? ›

This means knowing how to test the USB port. Start by connecting the device to another USB port. If it works, then the problem is the first port; if the device remains undetected, you have a faulty device. (Note that if you can't reformat the USB drive, it will need replacing.)

Can a USB port be worn out? ›

Connector worn out:

Depending on how often a cable or a device is plugged and unplugged from the port you may notice that the port or connector will loosen up a bit. In this case, it's important to test the cable by connecting it to a different port, and possibly a different computer.

How do I reset my USB port? ›

Here are some basic yet effective ways in which the USB ports can be reset to resolve the USB port malfunction.
  1. Method 1: Restart Your Computer.
  2. Method 2: Use Device Manager.
  3. Method 3: Use Registry Editor.
  4. Method 4: Disable and Re-enable the USB Controller.
  5. Method 5: Use Windows Troubleshooter.

Is it okay to leave a USB plugged in all the time? ›

Don't leave flash drives plugged in indefinitely – If you're not using a flash drive, simply unplug it (using the proper eject technique mentioned above). While it's plugged in, it's using a lot of energy to communicate with the computer.

Do USB drives expire? ›

All USB flash drives will eventually go bad because their internal memory chips can only be used a finite number of times. However, the maximum number of read and write instances will likely never be reached on any device in normal use.

How many times can a USB be plugged? ›

Standard USB has a minimum rated lifetime of 1,500 cycles of insertion and removal, the mini-USB receptacle increases this to 5,000 cycles, and the newer Micro-USB and USB-C receptacles are both designed for a minimum rated lifetime of 10,000 cycles of insertion and removal.


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