The blog of Windows Wally, a Windows Support Technician helping common people solve frustrating computer problems.

Troubleshooting USB Device Not Recognized In Windows 8.1

Reader Question:
“Hi Wally, I have a 1TB external USB hard drive connected to my computer. Lately it keeps disappearing from Windows and showing me USB device not recognized. Is my hard drive not working or is there a problem with my computer? I’m using Windows 8.1″  - Alexandra L., USA

Before addressing any computer issue, I always recommend scanning and repairing any underlying problems affecting your PC health and performance:

  • Step 1 : Download PC Repair & Optimizer Tool (WinThruster for Win 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP and 2000 – Microsoft Gold Certified).
  • Step 2 : Click “Start Scan” to find Windows registry issues that could be causing PC problems.
  • Step 3 : Click “Repair All” to fix all issues.

Setting up weekly (or daily) automatic scans will help prevent system problems and keep your PC running fast and trouble-free.

Wally’s Answer: Some users saw this and thought that it was a problem but its actually a feature not a bug. Windows 8.1 came with new power management features aimed at external storage devices. These features turn external devices off to save power when the device is inactivity for a while and shows the error saying “USB device not recognized“.

This feature is a little redundant because modern devices are already optimized to consume less energy. When the device is not active for a while, it enters a low-power state and disappears from Windows unless it shows some activity or if its reconnected.


External devices connected to the computer turn-off by themselves and show the error message “USB device not recognized”.


A power management feature built-into Windows 8.1 is putting the device to sleep due to inactivity.


Turning the computer off and on again can solve the problem temporarily but its better to change the power management options so you don’t have to do that every time. You can turn this feature off from by following these steps:

How To Turn Off The USB Selective Suspend Feature To Fix The “USB Device Not Recognized” Problem

  1. Press Windows Key + X > Click Power Options
    Unknown USB Device Error - Windows Key + X - Power Options -- Windows Wally
  2. Click Change plan settings. If you use Power Saver then you can try changing the settings for it as well.
    Unknown USB Device Error - Power Options - 1 -- Windows Wally
  3. Click Change advanced power settings
    Unknown USB Device Error - Power Options - 2 -- Windows Wally
  4. Find USB settings > click + to expand it.
  5. Click + next to USB selective suspend setting and Disable it.
    Unknown USB Device Error - Power Options - 3 -- Windows Wally

I hope reading this helped you solve the problem.

I Hope You Liked This Blog Article! If You Need Additional Support on This Issue Then Please Don’t Hesitate To Contact Me On Facebook.

Is Your PC Healthy?

I always recommend to my readers to regularly use a trusted registry cleaner and optimizer such as WinThruster or CCleaner. Many problems that you encounter can be attributed to a corrupt and bloated registry.

Happy Computing! :)

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About the Author

Windows Wally is a helpful guy. It’s just in his nature. It’s why he started a blog in the first place. He heard over and over how hard it was to find simple, plain-English solutions to Windows troubleshooting problems on the Internet. Enter: Windows Wally. Ask away, and he will answer.