Error: “USB Device not recognized” when you try to access a USB external hard drive.

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Article ID: 2654149 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you try to access data on an external USB hard drive, you may receive the following error:
"USB Device not recognized: One of the devices attached to this computer has malfunctioned and windows does not recognize it."

CAUSE

This issue can be caused if any of the following situations exist:
  • The currently loaded USB driver has become unstable or corrupt
  • Your PC requires an update for issues that may conflict with a USB external hard drive and Windows
  • Windows may be missing other important updates hardware or software issues
  • Your USB controllers may have become unstable or corrupt
  • Your external drive may be entering selective suspend
  • Your PC motherboard may need updated drivers

RESOLUTION

To resolve these issues, follow the steps listed in the methods below in the order listed. If the first method does not fix the problem, procede to the next.

Method 1: Uninstall and then reconnect the external hard drive

This method resolves issues where the currently loaded USB driver has become unstable or corrupt.
  1. Click Start, type Device Manager in the Search box
  2. Click Device Manager from the returned list.
  3. Click Disk Drives from the list of hardware
  4. Right-click the USB external hard drive with the issue, and click Uninstall.
  5. After the hard drive is uninstalled, unplug the USB cable.
  6. Wait for 1 minute and then reconnect the USB cable. The driver should automatically load
  7. Check for the USB drive in Windows Explorer
Note: Connecting your USB external hard drive into a non-powered USB hub can cause a lack of enough power to operate the external drive. Instead, plug it directly into your computer.

If this method does not resolve your issue, proceed to Method 2.

Method 2: Install Hotfixes that resolve issues that may exist on Windows 7


This Hotfixes in this method can resolve a known conflict with a USB external hard drive and Windows.
  1. Go to KB 976972 You encounter problems when you move data over USB from a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2-based computer that has an NVIDIA USB EHCI chipset and at least 4GB of RAM.
  2. Under Update information, click Download the update package now that corresponds with your version of Windows 7. 
    1. If you're unsure of which version of Windows 7 you are running, click the Start button, right click Computer, then click Properties.
      • If "64-bit Operating System" is listed next to System type, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7.
      • If "32-bit Operating System" is listed next to System type, you’re running the 32-bit (x86) version of Windows Vista or Windows 7.
  3. Click Continue. If a User Account Control permission, click Yes.
  4. Click Download, then click Open.
  5. The download should start in 30 seconds. If it does not, click Start Download, then click Open.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the download and installation.
  7. Go to KB 974476 The computer stops responding when an USB device resumes from the USB Selective Suspend state in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2
  8. Click View and request hotfix downloads. Click Select hotfix.
  9. If prompted, review the license agreement. If you agree to the terms, click I Accept.
  10. Check the box next to your version of Windows 7, then enter your email in the boxes below.
  11. Enter the word verification, then click Request hotfix.
  12. Check your email. You will soon see an email from Microsoft with a download link for the hotfix. Click the link and follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the hotfix.
  13. Restart your computer.
If your problem still persists, proceed to Method 3.

Method 3: Install the latest Windows Updates

This method will install the latest device drivers for your USB external hard drive.
  1. Click the Start button, type Windows Update in the Search box, then click Windows Update in the results pane.
  2. Click Check for Updates. After the scan is complete, click Review optional updates.
  3. Click the check box next to the updates, then click Install updates.
  4. If prompted, review the license agreement, then click I Accept.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the updates.
  6. If prompted, reboot your computer.
If your problem still exits, proceed to Method 4.

Method 4: Reinstall USB controllers.

This method resolves steps where the currently loaded USB driver has become unstable or corrupted.
  1. Click Start, then type device manager in the Search box, then click Device Manager.
  2. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers. Right click a device and click Uninstall. Repeat for each device.
  3. Once complete, restart your computer. Your USB controllers will automatically install.
If your problem still exists, proceed to Method 5.

Method 5: Disable USB selective suspend setting.

This method prevents your USB external drive from powering down.
  1. Click the Start button, type power plan in the Search box, then click Choose a power plan.
  2. Next to your currently selected plan, click Change Plan Settings.
  3. Click Change advanced power settings.
  4. Click the box to expand USB Settings, then expand USB selective suspend settings.
  5. Click Plugged in, then click the drop down menu and select disabled.
  6. If you're using a laptop, click Battery, then click the drop down menu and select disabled.
  7. Click Apply, then click OK.
If this doesn't resolve your issue, proceed to Method 6.


Method 6: Install your motherboard's latest chipset drivers.

This method updates your motherboard's chipset drivers, so your computer will recognize your USB external hard drive.
  1. Review your computer's documentation which should contain the name of the motherboard manufacturer.
  2. Visit your computer manufacturer's support website. For a list of computer manufacturers' support sites, visit: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/help/contact-support/computer-manufacturers
  3. Navigate their website to find the appropriate drivers for your motherboard. For assistance, contact your computer manufacturer.

If your issue still exists, we recommend contacting Microsoft product support. For information on how to get assistance from Microsoft, please visit: http://support.microsoft.com/select/?LN=en-us&target=assistance&x=7&y=18

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Windows Update, visit: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-update


Properties

Article ID: 2654149 - Last Review: February 21, 2012 - Revision: 1.0
APPLIES TO
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
Keywords: 
KB2654149

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