If you have several external devices that run through your USB ports, you may have come across an “Unknown Device” error before. This error will show up in your Device Manager (right click on the My Computer icon, choose Properties, Hardware tab, Device Manager button). If you’ve ever wondered what could be causing this error, you may want to check out these troubleshooting techniques.
One problem could be that the USB device you’re using requires its own power supply. This can also happen with USB adapters. If your device came with its own AC power brick, try plugging that in. Another cause of the unknown error could be that some of the ports are connected incorrectly. Check your ports and make sure they run from the standard red, white, green and black order. Also, make sure that no more than four wires are being used per port.
A more common problem is that the device you are using is defective. This can throw off the whole setup of the USB functionality. If possible, try using the device on another computer to see if it really is broken or if it’s really one of your ports. The last thing you can check on is the drivers. Are all the necessary drivers for the device installed? Some products require a drive installation before you can even plug in the device. Some devices also require some basic USB files from your original Windows CD before it will work properly. Just make sure you follow the directions correctly and have your Windows CD on hand just in case.
Hopefully one of these troubleshooting tips will help you figure out your USB problem!