Solution to Solve External Hard Drive or USB Device not Recognized Error?

External USB drives (Hard Drive, Pen Drive, Memory Card etc.) are the simplest way to transfer the stored data from one device to another. Usually, these USB drives are easy to handle, but sometimes, you might face USB Device not recognized issue with Windows PC or any other device, where the USB port is not able to recognize the connected external drive. When you try to connect and access the data from external hard drive or any external USB drive, you see the following error message:

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

USB Device not recognized


This error/issue can be caused by following situations:

  • Windows have outdated driver
  • Dead USB ports
  • Partition issues on your external USB drive
  • Wrong file system
  • Virus infected PC
  • Dead USB drive itself

You can follow below solutions to resolve the above-explained problem applied for both USB flash drives and larger external hard drives.

Here are the solutions to fix External Hard Drive or USB Device not Recognized Error

Solution 1: Disconnect computer from power supply

Sometimes, very simple trick can fix unrecognized USB device problem. Follow below steps to apply this trick.

  • Step 1: Disconnect  power cable from your computer.
  • Step 2: Reconnect power cable and restart your computer.
  • Step 3: Now connect your USB device to the USB ports.

Solution 2: Check for Dead USB Port

Unplug the drive from the current USB port and try to connect the drive to another USB port on your computer. If it works then, you might have a dead USB port. Or if you are using a USB hub, then try to connect the drive directly to the computer instead of as some USB hubs don’t provide enough power to run the external drive. If the USB port is working and still you face the same problem then try another solution.

Solution 3: Check for Driver Update

If all USB ports are working fine then you need to check for driver because sometimes old drivers can prevent the drive to connect to the computer and shows device malfunctioned message. To check driver status follow below steps.

  • Step 1: Open Run dialog box by pressing windows + R key and then type devmgmt.msc and click on OK.
  • Step 2: Expand Disk drivers and right click on the “connected external USB drive.” Click on “Update Driver Software”. Follow further instruction to update driver.

Solution 4: Change Drive Letter

Check whether you can see your external USB Drive in Disk Management. To do this follow below steps.

  • Step 1: Right click on “This PC” or “My Computer” and click on “Manage.”
  • Step 2: Select Disk Management.
  • Step 3: Right click on the “connected external drive” and choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths.”
  • Step 4: Click Add, and then assign a drive letter from the drop down list and click OK.

Solution 5: Fix the partition & file system

Windows Disk Management tool is used to fix the partition & file system related issues. If the drive has a partition issue and is full of “unallocated space,” then you need to create a new partition on it. You can do this using Windows operating system.

  • Step 1: Right-click inside the unallocated space and choose ‘New Simple Volume’ and follow the wizard to create a new partition.
  • Step 2:You need to format the hard drive as NTFS if you are unable to access the Hard Drive. Some devices can’t read the NTFS file system as they only follow FAT32 file system. To fix this problem, simply reformat the NTFS partition as FAT32.

Note: As we know that creating new partition will overwrite the old data stored on the external USB drive. This leads to data loss. Therefore, before creating a new partition, you have to recover data from not recognize external USB Hard Drive.

Solution 6: Fix USB Root Hub

  • Step 1: Open Device Manager (Press windows + R key and then type devmgmt.msc and click on OK).
  • Step 2: Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  • Step 3: Right-click on “USB Root Hub” and click Properties.
  • Step 4: Uncheck “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” in Power Management tab. Click ok and save changes.

Note: Repeat this operation for all available USB Root Hubs and save changes for each operation and then restart your computer. If still you see external hard drive or USB device not recognized problem then go back to the power management tab for each one and check the box again.

Solution 7: Change USB Selective Suspend Settings

  • Step 1: Go to “Control Panel” and click on “Power Options.”
  • Step 2: Select “Change Plan Settings” under Preferred plans. Balanced (recommended).
  • Step 3: Click on “Change advanced power settings.
  • Step 4: Expand “USB settings” and “USB selective suspend settings.”
  • Step 5: Disable both “On battery” and “Plugged in” settings.
  • Step 6: Click “Apply” and “OK” to save the settings.

Solution 8: Contact Data Recovery Service Provider

If the process mentioned above resolves most of the disk recognition issues, but still the problem persists “USB Device not recognized”  by any computer, then it’s probably dead. Then you need to seek a help of professional Hard Drive Recovery Service provider to recover the stored data from the External hard disk.

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