Tips for Fixing USB Unknown Device Problems

USB unknown device errors like “Unknown Device” or “USB device not recognized” are very common problems that PC users will encounter sooner or later. There are several causes that contribute to these errors, including faulty devices and corrupted USB device drivers. We will discuss several possible solutions for you to choose from, whether you are experiencing a problem now or would like to prevent such trouble from happening in the future.

There are two main categories in fixing USB unknown device problems: the manual options and the instant option. First and foremost, let us consider the manual options.

Manual options for solving USB unknown device problems vary based on the causes and approaches, but to start with we will consider the two basic options.

Replugging Your USB Device:

There are some cases when a USB device that is working properly stops to function all of a sudden. This USB unknown device error can be easily solved by unplugging your device and plugging it into a USB port again. This option is true for portable USB devices and other plug and play devices Memory Backup.

Restarting Your Computer:

Aside from faulty devices, some USB devices will not function correctly unless you reboot your computer after the installation. To solve this problem, you will need to reboot your computer to establish a proper connection and initialization between your computer and the USB device.

The first two manual solutions may only be effective in fixing faulty device connections and improperly installed USB devices.

The following solutions will mostly work for USB unknown device problems caused by corrupted or missing USB device drivers.

Reinstalling Your USB Device Drivers:

Reinstalling USB device drivers might also be a basic option if the device drivers required are already available on your computer or if your installation CD is still available. You can perform this solution by following these steps:

  1. Right-click the problematic USB unknown device displayed in the Device Manager window.
  2. Click the Properties.
  3. Click “Update” and follow the installation wizard.
  4. Throughout the process you will be asked if you still have your installation CD, and if you do then:
  5. Insert the CD
  6. Select the option “Install the software automatically (Recommended)”
  7. Click “Next”

From this point, the installation continues automatically and should install the required drivers.

Searching Online:

Having an installation CD will be very useful, but if you do not have the installation CD and the problem still persists after attempting to reinstall your device driver, then you might try to search online for your device driver to solve your USB unknown device problem. For this you will need the ID numbers of your device. To be able to gather these data go back to the properties of the problematic USB unknown device by going through the following steps:

  1. Right-click the problematic USB unknown device
  2. Check the “Details” tab
  3. In the drop down list, look for the “Device Instance Path” or “Device Instance ID”

The alphanumeric data it provides, for example USB|VID_0951&PID_1623|00137298F25BA1140000011, will allow you to search online for the device driver. The information you need from this example is the VID or vendor ID with a value of 0951, and the PID_1623 or product ID with a value of 1623.

Trying to type vendor and product IDs in search engines may give thousands of results back. One friendly website to search for additional information regarding your USB device is PCIDatabase.com. By running a vendor and device search on this website, you may be able to identify the vendor and product name of your USB device. After that, you will be able to go to the vendor’s site provided in the search result (please make sure it is the official website of the vendor), and hopefully there you will be able to locate your USB device driver, download it and check if it will solve the problem of your USB device.

Just using the Internet already invites risks for your computer, so what about searching for device drivers and downloading them? You might end up downloading outdated device drivers that may worsen the functionality of your USB device, corrupted drivers that will make your device malfunction, or USB drivers packed with free gifts – viruses such as Trojans, adware and spyware.

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