Fix This: Windows 8, 8.1 Doesn’t Recognize USB Devices

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about technology ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. He's a PC enthusiast and he... read more
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I’ve recently had this issue with my old Toshiba laptop, in the sense that every time I plugged in a USB device, all the others stopped working and I kept getting the prompt that the USB device was not recognized. After searching online to no prevail, I tried everything I could think of. I finally came up with the solution, so keep on reading if you want to know how to resolve this issue.
Apart from the solution that worked for me, I’ll talk about some other fixes you might try, just in case it doesn’t work for you. This way, you’ll have more than one solution for when Windows 8 doesn’t recognize your USB devices. Keep in mind that in some cases you might actually have hardware issues, so if nothing works, try to contact a specialized computer technician and have him take a look.

Solve Windows 8, 8.1 Doesn’t Recognize USB Devices

As mentioned, this fix has helped me in the past, when my Windows 8 laptop started returning the “USB device not recognized” error and none of the solutions I have used in the past worked. Before we get to this, let’s take a look at what else you can try in order to fix the problem when Windows 8 doesn’t recognize USB devices.

1. Try updating the driver that is causing you problems

To see a list of the devices installed on your Windows 8 device, right click on “This PC” and select “Manage”. From the menu on the left-hand side, choose “Device Manager” and scroll down to your USB devices. The driver that is not recognized will have a yellow sign next to it. Right click the driver and select the update option. Here is a very helpful video from Tom’s Hardware showing you the entire process.

2. Scan for hardware changes

If the update utility doesn’t offer you a solution, from Device Manager you can right click the problematic driver and instead of selecting update, go for the “Scan for hardware changes” option. If the wizard does find something, follow the troubleshooter and it might find a solution to the issue (albeit rarely).

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3. Uninstall and re-install the driver


From the same menu as before, you have the option to uninstall the USB driver that is not recognized by Windows 8. After the uninstall is complete, unplug all USB devices and reboot your computer. When your system has booted up, plug in your USB devices and Windows 8 should start re-installing the USB drives and hopefully this time around, everything should work.

4. Reset your BIOS

In computers, resetting the BIOS can be done either by removing the battery from the motherboard or via a dedicated Clear CMOS switch. In laptops however, the process is somewhat different. In both cases, you should remove the power cord before you begin, so that no power in entering into the system. For laptops, be sure to also remove the battery.

Now, with all power sources removed, press the power button repeatedly, and hold it pressed for 3-5 seconds. Do this  few time and it will reset the motherboard so when you start your laptop, it should have retested the USB controller and all should be well.

If none of these methods work for you, then you could be dealing with a faulty device of USB controller. Try a different USB cable / device or visit your computer technician and ask for a diagnosis.

Read AlsoFix: Can’t Eject USB Drives in Windows 8.1

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