FIX: The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned

Claudiu Andone
by Claudiu Andone
Windows & Software Expert
Oldtimer in the tech and science press, Claudiu is focused on whatever comes new from Microsoft. His abrupt interest in computers started when he saw the first Home Computer as a kid. However, his... Read more
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  • The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned is a message you get in Windows 11 when your device isn't recognized.
  • This problem can be caused by many possible issues like improper drivers, a malfunctioning port, and not only.
  • Make sure that you don't use a USB hub and check all the hardware components before troubleshooting the system.
The last USB device is malfunctioning
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Windows 11 is superior to Windows 10 in many aspects but it also inherited a lot of its problems and bugs.

For instance, many of our readers received the message USB device not recognized with the description The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned.

In other variants of this error, you may receive a recommendation: Try reconnecting the device. If Windows still does not recognize it, your device may not be working properly.

The error is pretty vague because this could mean a lot of things and it doesn’t pinpoint the cause of the problem.

And speaking of possible causes, let’s outline some of the most common issues that produce this error message.

How does the USB not recognized message appears?

The system recommendation to reconnect your device is something to start from because even a simple improper connection can trigger this message.

However, unfortunately, there are many other possible software problems that may prevent the system from recognizing a USB device.

We also have an article on what to do if your device is not recognized in Windows 10 and some of the solutions also work on the latest OS.

Malfunctioning or wrong drivers

As you might know already, driver issues are the most common culprits for a lot of errors in Windows, and that didn’t change for the latest OS.

If the system identified your USB device incorrectly, it will also install the wrong driver that will not help at all.

There is also the possibility that the device you’re trying to install is a bit too old and the OS simply doesn’t understand what it is.

The USB drive is not partitioned

If we’re talking about an external hard drive, if it’s not partitioned and doesn’t have a drive letter, you won’t be able to see it in Windows.

We have a solution for this problem below, but you can also read our guide with solutions if the USB is not working in Windows 10.

Malfunctioning USB ports

Like any other component, USB ports can fail. That is a common occurrence actually, but you can fix that by switching to another one.

Also, verify and check the cable between the device and PC. Usually, the one that was supplied with your device is the best, but if that one is defective, you will need to try another one.

What can I do when getting The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned?

1. Update the USB driver

  1. Click the Search icon from the taskbar, type device manager, and click on the app from the results.
  2. Select the Universal Serial Bus controllers section to expand it, right click the first controller, and select Update driver.
  3. Now choose the first option, Search automatically for drivers.
  4. If the system finds a new driver, it will install it. If you already lave the latest one, you can also click on the Search for updated drivers on Windows Update.
  5. That will bring you to the Windows Update menu. Click on Advanced options.
  6. Now select Optional updates. If you find any updates related to drivers, select and install them.

Unfortunately, you will have to perform this procedure for all the USB drivers you can find in the Universal Serial Bus controllers section.

Of course, the last part with the Windows Update will be required only once. After you installed the latest drivers, the USB device should start working again.

If the above procedure seems too complicated for you, do not hesitate to use a dedicated tool in that regard. DriverFix won’t disappoint you.

2. Change the USB power settings

  1. Click the Seach icon on the taskbar, type control panel, and select the app from the results.
  2. Choose Power Options.
  3. Click on Change plan settings for your power plan.
  4. Now select Change advanced power settings.
  5. Next, click on the USB settings, extend the USB selective suspend settings and change its value to Disabled.

3. Uninstall the USB drivers

  1. Click on the Search icon on the taskbar, type device manager, and click on the app from the results.
  2. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section, then look if any of the drivers has a yellow question mark symbol, right click on it and select Uninstall device.
  3. Now, restart your PC and the system will install the driver automatically.

4. Use the USB troubleshooter

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Windows Terminal (Admin).
  2. Type or paste the following command and press Enter to run it: msdt.exe -id devicediagnostic
  3. This will start the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter so hit Next.
  4. The system will find any possible problems with your hardware and if it does, click on Apply this fix.
  5. You will be prompted to restart your device.

5. Turn off Fast Startup

  1. Hit the Search icon from the taskbar, enter control panel, and choose Control Panel from the list of results.
  2. Click on Power options.
  3. Select Choose what the power button does.
  4. Now click on Change settings that are currently unavailable.
  5. Uncheck the Fast startup box and select the Save settings button.

6. Add the printer manually

  1. Select the Search icon from the taskbar, type control panel, and open the app from the results.
  2. Now choose Devices and Printers.
  3. Click on Add a printer.
  4. Now select The printer I want isn’t listed.
  5. Check the Add a local printer box, then click Next.
  6. Select the right USB port for your printer and hit Next but make sure that the printer is connected to the PC first.
  7. Now choose the brand and model of the printer. If you can’t find it, click on the Windows Update button. The system will update the list.
  8. After the list gets populated, select your printer and mode, then click on Next.
  9. Enter a name for the printer or leave the default one and hit Next.
  10. The printer will be installed and you will need to restart your PC.

If the problematic USB device is a printer, you can try installing it manually. That will set the right driver for the product and the problem will be solved.

7. Provide a drive letter to the USB device

  1. Right-click Start and select Disk Management from the list.
  2. If you see that the drive has unallocated space, right click on it and select New Simple Volume.
  3. Click Next in the new window to start the wizard.
  4. Set the volume capacity or leave it to maximum and choose Next again.
  5. Now assign a drive letter and hit Next.
  6. If the drive is empty, choose to format it and select Next. If you have data on that drive, select the first option, Do not format this volume.
  7. Lastly, click Finish when the process is over.
  8. If the drive has already allocated space, right-click on it and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  9. Click the Add button.
  10. Press the OK button.

Now that the drive has an allocated space and a drive letter, you will be able to see it in Windows without problems.

Additional tips to get your USB device recognized

As you see, there are a lot of possible reasons why the USB device might not get recognized or malfunction but there are a few tricks to perform to fix this problem.

Connect your USB to the ports in the back

If you have a desktop PC, the USB ports in the front might not supply the necessary power to your device so try connecting it to a port in the back.

Also, if you’re using a USB hub, plug it out and try a direct connection to a port from your computer. That will eliminate another possible malfunctioning device.

Keep your system updated

It’s really helpful to install all the new updates to your PC, not only for USB drivers but for all the system components and security.

Also, if this problem occurred after a Windows update, get to the Windows Update section and uninstall that update.

Disconnect your device from the USB 3.0 port

If you have a new laptop or PC, there’s a chance it has a USB 3.0 port and that should be backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and even USB 1.0.

But if your device is old, it might still not be so friendly with the latest technology. Try locating a USB 2.0 port to connect your device and see what happens.

This concludes our guide on what to do if the USB device was not recognized or malfunctioned in Windows 11 and we hope now it’s all working fine.

If you still have problems with your device, check out our piece on what to do if Windows 11 is not recognizing your USB device.

Use the comments area below to let us know which solution worked for you too.

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