Windows unable to recognize a connected device is the most common issue for USB devices. After plugging a USB device in your Windows computer, you may get an error that reads ‘Device Descriptor Request Failed’.
Now, you have inserted the USB device in your Windows PC, but the operating system is unable to identify the device.
The ‘Device Descriptor Request Failed’ error usually happens when you try to plug a pen drive or external hard drive to your computer.
The ‘Device Descriptor Request Failed’ error is also called the unknown USB device error. When you face this error, you cannot open files, share data or remove contents from the connected USB device.
To fix this, let’s look at various reasons why ‘Device Descriptor Request Failed’ error occurs in Windows. Then, you’ll be able to select the perfect solution on how to fix unknown USB device error on your Windows PC.
Unknown USB Device Error on Windows 10 – Explained!
There’s no such thing as an ‘unknown USB device’, it’s just how Windows names a USB device that is unrecognizable. The Device Descriptor Request Failed error on Windows is basically a hardware glitch.
In almost every instance, the Device Descriptor Request Failed error occurs in Windows 10 when there’s something wrong with –
- USB ports on your Windows PC
- or the USB device itself
Besides these hardware components, the unknown USB device error can also arise from software issues on Windows 10.
What Does “Device Descriptor Request Failed” Mean?
Here’s a simple breakdown of the “Device Descriptor Request Failed” error. You can look at this problem in two ways.
Hardware-wise, a fault in the device or its components can’t be fixed that easily. If my USB device is malfunctioning, I can either replace it or repair it from authorized personnel.
To be on a safe side, one can recover the data from the external drive or memory stick. This can help you avoid data loss while repairing the device.
On the other hand, an outdated driver or a newly-installed app on Windows can also take part in triggering the “Device Descriptor Request Failed” error.
After a USB device is connected to Windows, the OS sends a request to the connected device for obtaining its description.
Technically, when the device is unresponsive to this request, you face the unknown USB device error. Thus, the error message reads – Unknown USB Device: Device Descriptor Request Failed.
How to Fix “Device Descriptor Request Failed” Error in Windows 10
Now, let’s try out some solutions to fix “Device Descriptor Request Failed” error in Windows 10, in the quickest and most-effective manner.
1. Disconnect the Power Cable
An instant fix to the unknown USB device error is simply removing the power supply. If you’re using a Windows desktop PC, then follow these steps –
- Connect the USB device
- Unplug the power cable from your PC
- Restart Windows
- Remove the USB device and insert it again
- Now, plug in the power supply cable
Check if you’re still facing the “Device Descriptor Request Failed” error. If your problem gets solved here, then it must be a minor glitch that caused the unknown USB device error on your Windows system.
2. Use the Windows Hardware & Device Troubleshooter
If the “Device Descriptor Request Failed” error persists, let’s go for an automatic fix. The default Troubleshooter program in Windows computers can possibly fix this error.
- Press the Windows key and tap the R key
- In the Run dialog box, type “control panel”
- Hit the Enter key
- In the Control Panel window, type “troubleshooter” in the search box
- Click on “Troubleshooting” link
- Select the ‘Configure’ option (below Hardware & Sound)
- Follow the instructions
- When the program detects the problem, click on Apply this fix
Windows Hardware and Device Troubleshooter usually detects the USB issues and fixes them internally and automatically.
3. Remove the Inactive, Unknown USB Drivers
If the problem stems from a software issue, then check your system adapters first. For USB devices, the Universal Serial Bus controllers should work properly.
You can open the Device Manager window to look at the USB ports. If a port shows status as “Unknown USB Device” – uninstall it.
- Open the Start menu
- Search for ‘device manager’
- Alternately, type “devmgmt.msc” in Run dialog and hit the Enter key
- Now, expand the list for – USB Controllers
- Here, right-click on a USB driver
- Click on ‘Uninstall’ from the drop-down menu
- Restart your PC
You can follow the same process and uninstall all USB drivers on your Windows computer. When you reboot the PC, updated versions of all USB drivers are reinstalled automatically.
4. Update Your Current USB Driver
An outdated driver can trigger the unknown USB device error in Windows 10. You can update the driver manually or use driver updater tools.
- To update USB driver,
- Open the Run dialog (Windows + R)
- Type “devmgmt.msc”
- Click on OK
- Expand the list for “Universal Serial Bus controllers”
- Right-click on the current USB driver
- Click on ‘Update Driver software’ from the menu
- Follow the onscreen instructions –
- Choose – Search for updated driver software automatically
Restart your computer and reconnect the USB device to see if the error persists.
5. Turn off Fast Startup
In few cases, the “Device Descriptor Request Failed” error occurs when you connect a device during the Windows startup. The unknown USB device error is probably arising from the Fast Startup feature in Windows 10.
You can disable Fast Startup in Windows 10 and see if this fixes the USB issue for your PC.
Pro Tips on Fixing “Device Descriptor Request Failed” Error in Windows
By now, you can surely get the “Device Descriptor Request Failed” error fixed with the above solutions. You should also keep some tips in mind while fixing the unknown USB device error in Windows.
1. Create a System Restore point
Corrupted USB devices & controllers can also cause this error. So, when you fix the issue, corrupted files from the USB device can enter your PC and cause harm.
2. Change the USB Selective Suspend Settings
If the error occurs due to problems with the external device (hard drive) or a malfunctioning USB port, try connecting the device to a different port or a different PC.
If this doesn’t help, you can selectively modify the USB settings on a Windows computer.
- Open the Control Panel program
- Go to Power Options
- Click on ‘Show additional plans’
- Select – Change settings that are currently unavailable
- Here, choose “High Performance”
- Now, click on ‘Change plan settings’
- Go to – Change advanced power settings
- Click on the link – Change settings that are currently unavailable
- Navigate to the USB settings list
- Expand this list and go to USB selective suspend setting
- Here, uncheck “On battery” and “Plugged in” options
- Click on Apply and OK
- Restart your Windows
This surely resolves the Device Descriptor Request Failed error for Windows 10 users with high-performance needs.
Let us know how you got the unknown USB device fixed on your Windows PC.