How to Fix 'USB Device is Not Recognized' Issue in Windows 8

In some rare cases, Windows 8 can fail to detect certain USB devices when connected. The most possible reason for this issue can be conflicts between other USB devices that users might have connected to the computer. In order to resolve this issue, users should try removing other connected USB devices, restarting the computer, and then reconnecting only the target USB device to the computer, without connecting the other devices at all.

If the above method doesn't resolve the problem, the issue might be old or incorrect USB drivers. Although drivers for almost all types of USB ports are present in Windows 8 driver database, there might still be some ports that the operating system fails to detect. When this is the case, administrators are recommended to update old driver with the latest version of USB driver to resolve the issue.

In order to make things easier for the administrators, Windows 8 automatically searches for and downloads the latest USB drivers from the Internet. However the process of driver search and download must be initiated by the administrator manually.

Like other driver and software update processes, the update process of USB drive also requires elevated privileges. This means that in order to update the USB driver, administrator account must be used to log on to Windows 8 computer.

How to Update USB Drivers

In order to update USB drivers in Windows 8, simply follow the below steps:

  1. Log on to Windows 8 computer with the administrator account.
  2. Make sure that the computer is connected with an active Internet connection.
  3. Click Desktop tile from the Start screen to go to the desktop window.
  4. Once on the desktop screen, hover mouse to the bottom right corner of the window.
  5. From the displayed options, click Settings.
  6. On the Settings pane, click Control Panel.
  7. On the opened Control Panel window, click Hardware and Sound.
  8. On Hardware and Sound window, click Device Manager under Devices and Printers category from the right pane.
  9. On Device Manager window, expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers category.
  10. Once expanded, right-click the USB controller that is to be updated.
  11. From the context menu that appears, click Update Driver Software to update the driver of the selected USB controller.
  12. On the displayed box, click Search automatically for updated driver software to make the Windows to search for the updated driver from the Internet.
  13. Wait till the selected driver gets updated from the Internet and on the next page, click Close.
  14. Close Device Manager window, when done.

For a detailed video walkthrough, check out the Tom's Hardware Tutorial Video above.

The above content was adapted from our Tom's Hardware Tutorials Forum.

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Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • omnimodis78
    Wow, an "update your drivers" recommendation. What a joke.
  • kcops
    Wow, an "update your drivers" recommendation. What a joke.
    They must not know their readers very well. I'm pretty sure most of us would know how to do this. The problem comes in when that doesn't find the driver... This happened to me when i was building a Windows Home Server 2011 and windows couldn't find drivers for my usb 3.0 ports. I eventually figured it out but it was a couple of weeks before I found correct drivers and articles like this only helps the very unexperienced.
  • mariusmotea
    To be more helpful than this article "USB Device is Not Recognized" apears when one of DATA+ or DATA- wires are discontinued.
  • bloodroses75
    Again, why do they say Windows 8 in the title (like the last article that was the same way) when this is common in the other versions of Windows as well?
  • antilycus
    Or you can now understand why more people are downgrading to Win7 Pro, moving to apple, moving to linux and saying goodbye to the old microsoft as they stay FAR away from the new Microsoft.
  • blackened144
    Again, why do they say Windows 8 in the title (like the last article that was the same way) when this is common in the other versions of Windows as well?
    I havent had time to figured out exactly why this is happening yet, but after I last installed Windows 7 about a week ago, the drivers for my Rock Candy 360 controller would not install. Windows 7 detected it, reported it was the Rock Candy, found a driver online or had it in Windows, but then wouldnt install it. I have used this controller on Windows 7 for the last year or 2 and never had to do more than plug it in for it to work. I ended up having to manually modify the .inf to include the hardware ID for the controller for it to actually install the driver and get it working. This was the first time I used a new install disc for Windows 7 with SP1 and updates through Feb rather than the disc I have from when Windows 7 launched. Im assuming that something from the install disc is different, but Im not sure if its worth taking the time to figure out or if I should just download a new install image.
  • vpoko
    Or you can now understand why more people are downgrading to Win7 Pro, moving to apple, moving to linux and saying goodbye to the old microsoft as they stay FAR away from the new Microsoft.
    Do you actually have any figures on what you're claiming, or is this just what you're imagining must be happening?
  • thundervore
    This is not a Windows 8 article. This can happen in Windows 7 or even Vista. How is it an atricle showing someone how to update their USB drivers even become worthy of becoming an article in 2014!!Also Step 12 is a complete joke. For example in my company we have desktops that the USB 3 ports will not work unless you downgrade the drivers from the latest ones posted through Microsoft to the old version hosted on HPs support website. So having Windows search for the drivers automatically is not always the best solution.
  • Christopher Shaffer
    I've noticed this was an issue in Win8, but 8.1 seems to happen less often. However, it only seems to affect my USB 2.0 ports. Anything I plug into a 3.0 works fine.It should also be noted that a number of external drives (as in NOT thumb drives, but actual SSD/HDD externals) use a special USB 3.0 module internally that requires a driver from the manufacturer's site.WD Passport drives and I think some of the Seagate Backup Plus drives are like this.
  • JonJongx
    My Linux is working better on my computer then Windows has ever worked on it . Besides from installing a printer driver on Linux I have not had to install any other drivers at all on it. I think Windows 8 was a mistake for Microsoft just like Vista . Did you have a bad experience with Linux banmaster ?