[Fixed] Unknown USB Device (Device Descriptor Request Failed)

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So you have a USB flash drive that you haven’t used for a while, and one day you plug it into your computer only to get series of error message telling you things like “Unknown USB Device (device descriptor request failed)”, or some other message that practically means that you can’t access your drive anymore.

This can be very frustrating, but what causes anyway? Several things can cause the unknown USB device error message to pop up, but the most common causes can be any one of the following:

    Corrupted USB device

    A problem with the motherboard

    Your drivers are damaged or outdated

    An error in the hardware and software components of the drive, etc.

If your USB drive has a problem, it definitely needs fixing and lucky there are quick ways to fix it without going through too much hassle. And you’ll find out how to do this in a few minutes … keep reading.

1Quick Fixes to Unknown USB Devices in Windows

The first step to take if you get an “Unknown USB Device” error message is to try either of the fixes below.

1. Try the Device on a Different USB Port

You should plug the USB drive into a different USB port because the first port you plugged it in is probably damaged.

2. Connect the Device to Another Computer

If the first step doesn’t work, then plug the drive into a USB port on a different computer. It’s best if you’re sure the port you’re using to test the drive is in good condition and actually works fine.

2Advanced Fixes to Unknown USB Devices in Windows

If unfortunately the quick fixes above don’t change anything, then you need to take some measures to repair the drive.

Tip: Before fixing the drive, it is suggested to recover data from it.

Step 1: Recover Data from the Unknown USB Device with AnyRecover

AnyRecover is a data recovery software built with a unique data recovery algorithm and can recover files in 6 different ways. It can recover different types of files in any storage media and handle any kind of data loss.


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Features of iMyFone AnyRecover:        

A comprehensive recovery tool for all data loss cases: hardware failures, computer viruses, software corruption, and others.

Recover lost, deleted files, formatted or corrupt file for any storage media, be it PC/laptop, hard drive, USB flash drive, SSD, or other external devices.

3 scan options available for buried or hidden files: quick scan, deep scan and raw scan.

No expert skills required, you can easily get back all your lost files.

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How to Use AnyRecover to Recover Lost Files from Unknown USB Device?

Step 1. Download and install the software. After launching the program, select the “External Device Recovery” mode.

external device recovery

Step 2. Connect the external device to your computer via a USB cable.

connect to computer

Step 3. Select the location of the lost file and file type to narrow down the detection range, click “Scan” to find results.

select external file type

Step 4. Look through the scan results and select the target files, you can double click to preview the files before clicking “Recover” to start the recovery progress.

preview and recover

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Step 2: Fix the Unknown USB Devices

Fix 1: Use Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

Open "Control Panel" and search for "Troubleshooter".

Click on "Troubleshooting, select Configure a Device under “Hardware and Sound”.

If there is any problem found, click “Apply this fix” to fix it.

If a hardware problem was causing the unknown USB device error messages, then that should stop and the USB device should work normally now. But if not, then you have to move on to other solutions.

Fix 2: Uninstall USB Drivers in Device Manager

Step 1. Open Device Manager.

Step 2. Find the Universal Serial Bus Controllers and locate the faculty USB drivers (they should have a yellow sign and tagged “Unknown USB Device”).

Step 3. Right-click on the drivers and select “Uninstall”.

uninstall usb drivers

Step 4. Restart your computer for the devices to reinstall automatically.

If the problem is from a faculty or corrupted USB driver, then this should fix it, but if it doesn't fix the problem, then try the next solution.

Fix 3: Update the USB Driver

USB Drivers allow a computer to properly interact with its USB ports, it establishes a secure connection between a computer and devices like printers, mouse, flash drives, etc. via the USB port. An outdated USB driver can be the cause of error messages like unknown USB device and you can update your driver by simply following the steps below:

Step 1. Click Start/Control Panel.

Step 2. Click the “Hardware” tab, and then “Device Manager”.

Step 3. Click “Universal Serial Bus controllers”.

Step 4. Click to highlight and select the USB component to be updated.

Step 5. Right click on the highlighted selection and choose “Update Drivers” from the dropdown menu.

update drivers

Step 6. Follow the instructions from the Hardware Update Wizard to update USB drivers.

If you’re not comfortable with manually updating your drivers, you can download a software that will automatically update the USB drivers.

Fix 4: Change the USB Selective Suspend Settings

Open the advanced "Power Options” for your selected power plan. This is located in the Windows Control Panel.

Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable”.

preview and recover

Select “High performance” and click on “Change plan settings”.

change plan settings

Click on the “Change advanced power settings” tab.

Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable”.

Find the “USB settings” and expand it.

Also expand the “USB selective suspend setting”.

Disable both On battery and Plugged in settings.

Click the “Apply” button and restart your computer.

disable on battery and plugged in


Though USB error messages like “Unknown USB Device” and “Device Descriptor Request Failed” can be very annoying and frustrating, all you need is a little patience and information on how to fix the problem. The steps above will guide you through the process of fixing the problem that’s prompting the error messages and you’ll have your device working well again without data loss with the help of iMyFone AnyRecover.

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By  Alva Doris , to External Device Recovery

Posted on Nov 04, 2019  ( Updated: Dec 16, 2019 )

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