USB Device Not Recognized and Malfunctioned in Windows 10/11

USB Device Not Recognized and Malfunctioned in Windows 1011

In today’s digital age, USB devices have become an essential part of daily life. Whether it is a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or a printer. USB devices are relied on for the transfer of data and connecting with other devices. 

However, sometimes USB users are faced with the error of “USB Device Not Recognized” or “USB Malfunctioned.” The USB not recognized error is often frustrating, given that it prevents you from using the device. 

This article will look into the causes of USB not recognized or malfunctioned error and provide some troubleshooting steps to resolve such errors.



There can be several reasons why you might encounter the “USB Device Not Recognized” or “USB Malfunctioned” error in Windows 10 and 11. Some common causes of USB not recognized include:

  • Faulty USB Device: A faulty USB component can cause the USB to not respond or be recognizable and malfunction.


  • Outdated/Incompatible Drivers: Outdated drivers lead to USB not recognized and malfunction errors. 



  • Corrupted USB Controllers: USB controllers that are corrupted contribute to USB not recognized or malfunction errors. 


  • Virus or Malware: Virus or malware infections can cause issues with your computer’s hardware, including USB devices.


  • Physical Damage: Physical damage to the USB port or cable can cause the device to not be recognized or malfunction.




When you experience a USB not recognized or Malfunctioned prompt on your Windows 10 or 11 PC, there are many troubleshooting measures you can deploy to solve this problem. Some of the troubleshooting measures for correcting USB malfunction issues include:

1. Try Unplugging the Computer from the main Power Source

Unplugging your computer from its power source resets your system’s power supply. The power reset clears any temporary issues that may be affecting the USB ports. The main issue cleared by unplugging your computer from the power source is the issue with the USB port not providing enough power. The USB power problem can cause USB devices not to function properly or be recognized by the computer.

2. Uninstall The USB Device Driver and reinstall USB controllers

This solution can be effective if the issue is caused by a corrupted or outdated USB driver.

To uninstall the USB device driver, follow these steps:

  • Hold down the Windows key + X on your keyboard, this will open the Power User Menu of the system 
  • On the power user menu click the “Device Manager” button.
  • On the menu list click the “Universal Serial Bus controllers” section to expand for options.
  • Select the damaged USB device 
  • Click the “Uninstall device” button to uninstall the USB device. 
  • The on-screen instructions are important hence ensure you make use of them.

After uninstalling your system USB device driver, you can also reinstall USB controllers. To reinstall USB controllers follow these steps:

  • Locate the ‘Device Manager’ and click the “Action” button on the menu  
  • Then select the “Scan for hardware changes” button 
  • Windows will automatically detect the USB controllers and install the necessary drivers.
  • On the other hand, you can click on the “Universal Serial Bus controllers” button then select the “Update driver” button to run driver update.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the screen, when installing your USB device.
  • On completion of the reinstallation of the USB controllers, test the USB by plugging in a USB device then check if it is recognized by Windows.

3. Disable USB selective suspend setting

USB selective suspend is a power-saving setting that can sometimes cause USB devices to not be recognized or malfunction. To disable this setting, go to Power Options in the Control Panel, select Change plan settings, then Change advanced power settings, and under USB settings, disable USB selective suspend. This solution is effective if the issue is caused by the USB device being put into a low-power state by the USB selective suspend setting. On completion of disabling the USB selective suspend setting, ensure the USB is back functioning by plugging in the USB device to the windows system.

4. Install The Latest System Motherboard Chipset Drivers

e chipset drivers are responsible for managing the communication between the various components of your computer, including the USB ports. If your USB chipset drivers are outdated or incompatible, they can cause USB devices not recognized or malfunction. 

Installing the latest chipset drivers for your system motherboard, requires download of the driver from the manufacturer’s website. To download the appropriate chipset driver, follow these steps to do so:

  • Determine the make and model of your motherboard. You can usually find this information in the documentation that came with your computer or by running a system information tool.
  • Visit the manufacturer’s website
  • Locate the drivers for your motherboard’s chipset and download them.
  • Download and run the installer package and drivers following the on-screen instructions.
  • After installing the latest chipset drivers, plug in the USB device again and check if it is recognized by Windows.

5. Update/Rollback a Device Driver

This solution is effective if the issue is caused by outdated or corrupted drivers. Software device drivers enable communication between the operating systems and the hardware components of the computer, including USB devices. An outdated or corrupted USB device driver leads to USB device malfunction or USB not recognized error by Windows. Follow these steps, to update or rollback your USB device driver:

  • Open the Device Manager of the system by pressing the Windows key + X then selecting “Device Manager” from the menu options.
  • Locate the USB device that is not being recognized or is malfunctioning.
  • Select “Update driver” or “Roll back driver” from the menu options 
  • If you wish to “Update driver”, select the option to search for updated drivers automatically. Windows performs the automatic search and also downloads the latest driver for your device from the internet. The download and automatic installation is done if there is an updated driver available.
  • In a situation where you select “Roll back driver”, Windows reverts your driver version to a previous version. Device version rollback is done if the USB issue started after the driver was updated.


USB not functioning properly can be annoying especially when you have so many tasks to attend to. If you find yourself in a USB not recognized error situation with your PC, apply any of the troubleshooting measures we have listed in this article. 

If you are still having issues with your USB Device, kindly give our PC repair technicians a call today! 🙂

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...