USB Device Not Recognized – Fix

Yet another path to madness courtesy of Microsoft. I’ve been hating Vista for most of the week for suddenly not playing nice with any of my commonly used USB devices. I encountered the now infamous “USB Device Not Recognized” message.

Picture a morning that starts off like any other morning at the office. I come in… get the computer running… get some coffee… and settle in to get some work done. This is how my workday starts, usually. Wednesda I was going through this routine and was about an hour into actual work when a helpful Windows alert balloon appeared in the corner of my screen to notify me that the USB device I had been using (my mouse in this case) was now no longer recognized. In fact, none of my USB ports worked anymore What had happened? Static discharge? Mischievous fairies? Paranormal activity? A moment earlier everything was sunny skies and unicorns. Long story short, I don’t know.

I went through the normal troubleshooting exercises – check the device manager, reboot, Window’s update – all in various combination. Nothing. I resorted to searching MSDN forums next. What a time sink. Finally, weary from reading the details of what worked and didn’t work for myriad configurations of PCs, I decided to try the least involved, most general, AND seemingly improbable solution. What do you know? It worked.

So what fixed it? Unplug all USB devices, power down the computer, unplug it (or remove the battery if it is a laptop, as in my case), do something else for 30 minutes, return to the PC, plug in the USB device, and power the machine on again. Voila! I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t witness it for myself.

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