Top 6 Ways to Fix Unknown USB Device Error in Windows 11

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Windows 11 lets you plug in and use a wide range of USB devices without any additional configuration. However, your plug-and-play experience can easily be ruined when Windows throws you an “Unknown USB device (device descriptor request failed)” error.

Several factors like faulty USB devices, faulty ports and outdated drivers can cause this error. When it is difficult to identify the exact cause, there is no need to worry. We have compiled the troubleshooting tips to help you fix unknown USB device error on Windows 11.

1. Reconnect the USB device to another port

If you are seeing this error with all of your devices, there may be a problem with a particular USB port. Try plugging your device into another port.

Likewise, if you’re connecting something like an external hard drive, it’s worth checking to see if the USB cable is cut or damaged.

2. Scan for hardware changes using Device Manager

You can use Device Manager in Windows to force your PC to scan for hardware changes and detect new USB hardware you’ve plugged in. If this is just a minor issue, Windows should successfully recognize your device and you will no longer see the “Unknown USB device (device descriptor request failed)” error.

Step 1: Press Windows Key + X and select Device Manager from the list.

2nd step: Click the Scan for hardware changes icon at the top.

Wait for Windows to identify connected devices. If all goes well, the error will be resolved.

3. Run Windows Troubleshooter

By running the hardware troubleshooter, you can enable Windows to detect and fix any hardware-related issues that may have caused such errors.

Step 1: Open the Start menu, type orderedand click Run as administrator.

2nd step: In the console, type the following command and press Enter.

msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic

Step 3: In the Hardware and Peripherals window, tap Next to allow Windows to check for any issues.

If Automatic Repair appears, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the troubleshooting process. After that restart your PC and check if the error is resolved.

4. Reinstall the USB device driver

Faulty or corrupted USB drivers can also cause the “Unknown USB device (device descriptor request failed)” error on Windows. To fix this issue, you can try reinstalling the drivers for that specific USB device by following the steps below.

Step 1: Click the search icon on the taskbar, type Device Managerand press Enter.

2nd step: Double-click “Universal Serial Bus Controllers” to expand it.

Step 3: Right-click on “Unknown USB device (device descriptor request failed)” and select Uninstall device.

Once removed, restart your PC to allow Windows to install these drivers again. Try reconnecting your USB device to see if the error is resolved.

5. Update USB Root Hub Driver

If the above method does not work, you will need to update the drivers powering your PC’s USB ports. It is possible that the error occurs only because these drivers are outdated.

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to launch the Run dialog box. In the Open field, type devmgmt.msc and press Enter.

2nd step: Double-click Universal Serial Bus Controllers to expand it.

Step 3: Right-click USB Root Hub and select Update Driver from the list.

Follow the onscreen instructions to update the drivers. If your PC has multiple USB ports, you will see multiple entries for USB Root Hub. In this case, you will need to update the drivers for each of these ports.

6. Disable USB Selective Suspend

USB Selective Suspend is a nifty Windows feature that tends to suspend your inactive USB devices to reduce power consumption. To avoid this, you need to disable the USB Selective Suspend feature by following the steps below.

Step 1: Press Windows + S to open the Search menu. Type change power plan in the search field and click on the first result that appears.


2nd step: Click Change advanced power settings.

Step 3: In the Power Options window, double-click USB settings to expand it.

Step 4: Expand the USB Selective Suspend settings menu and click Enabled.

Step 5: Use the drop-down menu next to On battery and Plugged in to disable USB selective suspend.

Step 6: Click Apply followed by OK.

Try reconnecting your USB device to see if Windows can detect it.

Explore the unknown

It can be frustrating when Windows fails to recognize your USB devices and gives you the error “Unknown USB device (device descriptor request failed)”. In most cases, reconnecting the USB device to another port works. Otherwise, you may need to try other solutions from the list. Let us know which of the solutions above worked for you in the comments below.

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