External Drive Not Recognized? 3 Common Solutions You Can Explore For USB Problems

Saikat Basu

USB Device Not RecognizedIt could be a pen drive with just 2 GB of data, or it could be your iPod with your entire music collection. Heaven forbid, but the error message that flashes – USB Drive not recognized – has all the potential to send you up the wall.

You don’t need to, in spite of the frustration welling up inside you. There are several fixes for the above scenario. It could be as simple as plugging the USB drive into the read USB port instead of the front one, or just restarting the computer again.

Let’s look at the common three:

The Simplest Solution You Can Try

Unplug from power supply

Unplug your computer from the power supply. No…don’t just switch it off via the Power button, because the motherboard still continues to draw power from the power source. So, power-off and unplug from the mains. Wait for a minute or two, and then power it back on.

The reasoning is that all hardware components are on the motherboard. The motherboard also needs to be ‘rebooted’ so it reloads the USB drivers again, and has them functioning normally. If the problem is on a laptop, remove the battery for a couple of minutes before plugging it back in and re-starting Windows.

Uninstall the USB Device

Uninstall USB Device

If you had installed the USB device previously, the error could be the result of a malfunctioning device driver. Try un-installing the driver, and re-installing it again. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Device Manager (Start – Search – Type Device Manager).
  2. Expand the list of hardware. If the USB device is an external hard drive, click on Disk Drives from the list of hardware.
  3. Right-click on the USB device with the error and click Uninstall.
  4. After the drive is uninstalled, unplug the USB device.
  5. Reboot and then reconnect the USB device. The hardware device should install automatically again.
  6. Check if the USB device is being recognized now.

Reinstall USB Controllers

Uninstall USB Controllers

  1. Remove all connected USB devices. From the Control Panel, again navigate to the Device Manager as explained above.
  2. Expand the root of Universal Serial Bus Controllers and check for an exclamation mark against any of the drivers. That shows a problem with the driver.
  3. Right click on problematic USB controller, click Uninstall and then click OK. You can follow the same process to uninstall the remaining controllers.
  4. Restart your computer and Windows 7 automatically reinstalls all USB controllers.

I can enumerate quite a few more solutions here, but it’s best that I direct you to Microsoft and its support pages.

Go To Microsoft Support

Here are a few resources you can tap into:

USB problems could be as simple as a USB hub that lacks power, or as complex as a BIOS error. The good news is that you can work through them step-by-step and go to the root.

Image Credit: Free Digital Photos

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