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How to Fix Unknown USB Device – Device Descriptor Request Failed

Problematic USB devices in Windows can be a real puzzle sometimes. Several reasons can cause a USB device to not be recognized and shown as an unknown USB device. Windows will show an error code with a message. One such error message is Device Descriptor Request Failed, and it shows error code 43.

Device Descriptor Request Failed

We covered device manager error codes in an earlier article, but here we focus on solving the code 43 error specifically.

What does the Device Descriptor Request Failed error mean?

For USB devices, this error generally means a failure to initialize the USB device. Configuration conflicts or a wrong setting can be responsible. Often the trigger for the error is not even clear. One moment a USB device functions and the next it does not!

In one of my cases, the code 43 error occurred with a USB headset that I had plugged into a USB 3.0 hub. After putting the PC to sleep and waking it up, the headset was not working. But in this case, it was not even the headset that was the problem, it was the USB hub that was not recognized and shown as an unknown USB device!

Checking the error details

The first thing to do with any device error in Windows is to open the Device Manager and check the details. Right-clicking the device and clicking properties shows the General tab with the Device status.

USB device ocde 43 error

All this does is confirm the error, code 43, with a more specific “A request for the USB device descriptor failed”.

In normal cases, I also check the device ID to see which device is actually causing the error. You can select the Details tab in the device properties to see the various device properties. In this case, I select the Hardware Ids property.

USB device descriptor failure

But unlike a normal situation, the hardware ID does not show the unique identification information. Windows was not able to get the proper details, and as a result, the device could not be configured properly.

More useful information can be retrieved from the Events tab in the device properties.

USB device events

Here we can see more details about the device and the actions Windows took in getting the device to work. Click the various events for more information. Using this information, it should be possible to figure out what device is causing the error.

In most cases, the problematic device is already clear. It is not working, is it? But if you are dealing with a USB hub or USB port, then the actual USB device that is not working may not be the culprit.

Fixing the Device Descriptor Request Failed error

So, if the device was working before, how come it does not now? And how do we fix it?

Luckily, in the case of USB devices, this code 43 error can often be fixed easily!

Uninstall the device from the Device Manager

Since the problem is a software or configuration error, it can help to simply have Windows re-detect and reinstall the device. In the Device Manager, right-click the device and select the Uninstall device option.

Uninstall unknown USB device

Then click the Uninstall button to confirm uninstalling the USB device.

Confirm unknown USB device uninstall

This will remove the device from the Device Manager.

Next, use the Scan for hardware changes option in the Action menu of the Device Manager to detect the device again. The device will be added again and shown under the Universal Serial Bus controller category.

Alternatively, you can restart your PC. Windows will automatically scan for hardware changes and reinstall the device on restart.

Did not fix it? Read on.

Unplug the USB device

In my case, with the USB hub and external USB headset, the uninstall option did not work.

So, the next thing to do is to unplug the device completely, wait for it to disappear in the Device Manager, and then plug it in again. Make sure you give Windows enough time to actually remove the device. In a default configuration, Windows will show a taskbar notification when a device is removed.

To clarify, if you are using an external USB hub, like in my case, also unplug that as well.

If the USB device has an external power supply, unplug that as well. Unplugging just the USB hub did not fix the issue for me. Unplugging both the USB cable and the external USB hub power did solve it for me. After that, plugging the headset worked flawlessly.

External power supplies will typically be found on things like external USB hubs, older external hard disks, and other devices that require more power than the standard USB port can provide.

Restart Windows

This is a step that unfortunately is part of many Windows troubleshooting guides. But like with any software, a restart can do wonders! Rebooting the PC will ensure Windows reinitializes the software, including all device drivers.

Update or install USB device drivers

Many USB devices use the default USB drivers included with Windows. Especially in Windows 10 and Windows 11, a lot of drivers are included.

You can see the Driver File Details in the Device Manager as well. Right-click the device, and select Properties. Then click the Driver Details button in the General tab.

drivers provided by Microsoft

The Driver File Details window will show the Provider. In the example, Microsoft Corporation.

If the provider is not Microsoft, the device uses an external, manufacturer-provided driver. In these cases, it can help to install the latest driver to ensure the device is working properly.

You can use the Update driver option in the Device Manager popup menu to update the driver automatically. Alternatively, locate the driver manually, or use our DriverFinder program, to install the latest version.

Note: even if the driver is provided by Microsoft, it may be helpful to check for device-specific drivers from the manufacturer. Default Windows drivers do not always offer full support for all device features.

Preventing the device descriptor request failed problem

The device descriptor request failed error is often the result of a non-specific scenario. That means it can happen without a typical reason. In my case, the problem sometimes happens when the PC comes back from sleep mode, but not always.

It is recommended to let Windows power management power down devices to save power. For USB devices, this can be configured in the Device Manager. Select the Power Management tab in the Properties window (if the tab does not show, power management is not available for that device).

Make sure the checkbox for Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power is checked.

Device power management

If, however, the problems always seem to be related to a change in power (sleep mode, longer time of no use of the device), then it is worthwhile to change this setting and actually disable the power control.

Other than that, we recommend keeping your device drivers up-to-date with DriverFinder to prevent device issues, maximize device performance, and hopefully prevent device descriptor request failed errors!

Windows USB-C Driver

To get the benefits of a USB device with a type-C connector, the USB-C driver for all USB-C devices should be installed on your Windows PC. Download and install the USB-C drivers for the controller and the connected USB-C device to get things to work.

What is USB-C?

USB-C is a huge improvement over older USB standards both in terms of practical use as well as in performance.

USB-C refers to the type-C connector, where older USB versions use the type-A and type-B connectors. The biggest advantage of the type-C connector is that you cannot plug it wrong, it is a reversible connector.

USB-C connector typesUSB-C is downward compatible with USB 2.0, but for full support, USB version 3.2 is needed. USB 4.0 takes things a step further with increased data transfer speeds and Thunderbolt 3 compatibility.

Other USB-C benefits:

  • Transfer speeds for USB-C devices can vary from 5 Gbit/s to 20 Gbit/s depending on the USB version.
  • 100 Watts of power (20V, 5A) with two-way charging.
  • DisplayPort over USB for ports supporting the USB-C Alt Mode. Allows for connecting video sources and display devices.

The USB-C connector type was created by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). USB-IF is a group of companies creating computer hardware and software (including Apple, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and many others). The USB-IF group is also responsible for issuing USB vendor IDs that are used to uniquely identify hardware devices.

For USB-C ports and devices to work, a USB controller is required to be functional. It is often referred to as a Host Controller Interface (HCI), or these days an eXtensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI). Modern Intel and AMD chipsets have onboard USB controllers. But there are also other vendors of USB controllers (Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Cypress Semiconductors, and others).

It is important to be aware that not all USB-C type ports support all possible USB-C type features. DisplayPort and Thunderbolt for example are not implemented by all USB controllers. And if they are, installing the right driver for your USB-C type controller is critical for things to work properly.

Where do I find USB-C?

Most modern computers and devices are using a USB-C type port. You can recognize it by the connector type as outlined above. Be aware that Thunderbolt ports look the same and might not implement the USB-C functionality.

USB-C cable

If your computer does not support USB-C devices, it can be added using a docking station, or internal extension card (desktop computers). There are many manufacturers that offer solutions for this.

Popular external devices that are connected to a computer using a USB-C type connection are game controllers, portable storage (SSD, flash drive), smartphones, and tablets. But even keyboards, mice, and printers can be connected through a USB-C connection.

Update USB-C Drivers in Windows

There are a few different ways in which USB-C drivers can be updated on Windows. In the latest Windows versions, the USB-C drivers should be installed automatically.

But if things are not working the USB-C type drivers might need to be manually updated, or use a program to update the USB-C drivers.

Make sure to update the USB controller drivers as well as any USB device-specific drivers.

Manually update a USB-C driver using the Device Manager

  1. Open the Run box by pressing and holding the Windows logo key Windows Logo key and then pressing the R key at the same time.
  2. In the Open box, type devmgmt.msc, and then click the OK button or press the Enter key.Run Device Manager
  3. In the Device Manager window, click Universal Serial Bus controllers to show all USB devices.
  4. Right-click the eXtensible Host Controller device, and in the popup menu, click Update driver.Update USB-C driverNote: The example shows the Intel® controller, but it can display other manufacturers like AMD, NVidia, or ASMedia as well.
  5. The next step is to select where to search for drivers. Select Search automatically for updated driver software to use the Microsoft Windows Update server to search for USB-C driver updates.
    If you have a downloaded copy of the USB-C driver for your computer or controller, select the second option: Browse my computer for driver software.
    Windows Search for USB-C driver
  6. After selecting an option, follow the on-screen instructions to search for an updated driver.
  7. Click Close when done.
  8. If necessary, also update the drivers for the USB devices that are not recognized by Windows. Apart from the USB controllers themselves, some USB-C devices require additional drivers to function.
    Unknown USB-C device

Automatically searching for a USB-C driver

If the solution from the previous step did not work, you can try using a program like DriverFinder instead.

DriverFinder will scan all your computer hardware and identify the devices. After that, the program will automatically find the right drivers for your PC hardware and Windows version.

DriverFinder Start ScanSimply download and install the program, activate it, and run a scan to download all required drivers.

The benefit of DriverFinder is that it will detect all hardware, so you do not need to manually search for third-party drivers if Windows has no native support for devices.

How to Fix USB Drive Not Showing Up in Windows 10

Is your USB drive not showing in Windows 10? Here’s a quick step-by-step fix… with pics!

usb-drive-not-shownExternal storage devices like USB Flash drives and external hard disk (HDD) or SSD drives are quite handy and popular. They’re  commonly used for backups, or as simple storage devices. Normally, when you plug a USB device, its corresponding drive simply shows up in File Manager. So what do you do if the USB drive is not showing up on your Windows 10 computer?

#1 – Check the USB Device.

The first thing to do is to check if the USB device itself is okay.

You can do this by connecting the USB drive to a different computer. If it is correctly recognized there, then you know the USB drive itself is fine and that the problem is with your Windows 10 system.

If the device is an external hard disk (or SSD), or ZIP drive, also check if the cable is defective by exchanging it with a different cable if possible. This is a less frequent cause, but not something to be ignored.

Also make sure to connect the USB device directly to a USB port on the Windows 10 PC, not through an extension cable or USB hub. Long cables, extra connections, or insufficient power can also be a cause for problems with USB drives (this is especially true for the older USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 ports and devices).

#2 – Check Your PC.

Unless you made changes, there is normally no reason to assume anything is wrong with your computer. However, for older PC’s it can be helpful to turn the PC off, remove the USB devices, and completely unplug the PC.

While troubleshooting the issue with the USB drive, leave other USB devices disconnected (unless you really need them, like a mouse or keyboard).

If you did make changes to your computer, like putting additional hardware, upgrading its firmware, or changing its BIOS settings, then try reverting these changes and testing the USB drive again to ensure that these changes have not caused the issue.

#3 – Check Windows 10 Settings.

If your USB driver is still not showing in Windows 10, then it’s time to to get into the Device Manager.

Right-click the Windows Start button, and in the popup menu, select Device Manager.

Start Device Manager

In Device Manager, click the Action menu, and then click Scan for hardware changes.

Scan for Hardware Changes

Once complete, check if the USB drive is showing up in Windows Explorer. If not, try the next step.

In Device Manager, open up the Disk drives list, right-click the USB drive, and then click Uninstall device.

Uninstall Device

Next, restart your PC. When Windows 10 restarts, it will automatically re-detect the USB device and install the available driver for it. This step can solve configuration issues with the USB drive, so it will show up again.

If your USB drive is still now showing up, try updating the driver for the USB device.

download-usb-drivers

This  can be done from the Device Manager. Simply right-click the USB drive in the list of Disk drives, and in the popup menu, click Update Driver.

Next, click the option Search automatically for drivers, and wait for the driver update to complete.

Update Driver

Be aware that this step only checks for updated USB device drivers. In most cases the correct operation of USB devices depends on the USB controller, which is a system device. So it is best to check for updated chipset drivers as well.

A simple way to do that is to download a driver tool like DriverFinder and scan your PC for all hardware devices and find the latest drivers.

#4 – Check Windows 10 Disks and Drives.

If the USB device is working properly, but the drive is now showing up in Windows Explorer, it is possible that the drive has no drive letter assignment.

Right-click the Windows Start menu, and then click Disk Management.

Start Disk Management

Once the Disk Management window opens, you will see all disks present in the PC.

Windows 10 Disk Management

Find the disk that represents the USB drive and check that it has a drive letter assigned to it. In the screenshot above, Disk 2 is the USB device and it has the drive letter G assigned to it.

To find your USB drive, check for a disk that is listed as “Removable” (although it can also be listed as “Basic“), and compare the size to that of your USB drive. If you are not sure, compare the Disk Management screen with the USB drive that’s not connected.

If there is no drive letter assignment, simply right-click the partition (the block next to the disk with the blue bar at the top), and in the popup menu, click Change Drive Letter and Paths.

Next, click the Add button.

Next, change the drive letter (or leave it as is to get a default assignment), and then click OK .

Even if there is already a drive letter assigned to the USB drive, it is still useful to try and change it. The reason for this is that it is possible that there are drives using the same drive letter assignment. Even if another USB device with the same drive letter assignment is not present at the moment, the configuration could still cause conflicts.

To change the drive letter to a higher character, click the Change button rather than the Add button. After that, the steps are the same; i.e., change the drive letter and click the OK button.

Note: If the partition for the USB disk shows as a black bar, rather than a dark blue bar and is listed as Unallocated, that means the drive formatting is not recognized. This means that the disk needs to be formatted before it can be used. If there should be data on the USB drive, a data recovery tool needs to be used for retrieval of the files.

If the USB disk is still not showing up in Windows Explorer, a final step is to try the Windows 10 Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter. Just type “troubleshoot” in the Search box in the Windows Task Bar to start the Troubleshooter.

Unscrambling USB Device Error Messages

usb-driverA USB drive is lightweight and portable which is why more people prefer it over other means of moving and storing info. Lots of devices these days are equipped with a USB connection for easy communication with other gadgets and computers. Most cameras and mobile phones along with printers today provide support for USBs.

However, these USB compatible gadgets, while handy, can occasionally prove problematic owing to device drivers that are flawed. Such issues are for the most part easy to repair but it is more complicated if the USB port or devices are involved. Usually the problem here is coming from within the USB drivers.

Communication between computers and other devices like USBs is possible using drivers. Corrupt or improperly installed device drivers can cause computers to not detect the presence of the device and even misread its commands which leads to errors. Expect to see a message of unknown device error if your computer fails to recognize a device. Either you get the error as USB device not recognized or as Unknown Device. The problem can be tied to improper driver installation or an obsolete or ruined driver.

Issues With Installing Drivers

After initial hook up a device to a computer a message will pop up at the bottom corner of the screen. You will be brought to the installation wizard upon clicking on the popup window. There are times when installation is not so smooth and errors appear which causes files to be added incorrectly. It can be encountered even long after devices were put in owing to original drivers being damaged.

Trojans and viruses are just two of many malicious software that can destroy or zap away device drivers. Viruses work by changing the registry keys of a computer which in turn leads to driver files that are damaged. While registry scans are a reliable solution you are still better off updating the drivers regularly.

An Antiquated Device Driver

Consider uninstalling all the drivers related to your USB gadget if loading the latest device driver programs still does not let you use the USB you have. In Windows go to Add and Remove Programs and then click on whichever icon is representative of your particular device. Insert the accompanying disc of your device to reinstall all the drivers you just uninstalled.

Once the disc is inserted you will see the installation wizard and it will help you install the drivers. If you lost the disc then you can go to a third party or manufacturer website to search for the drivers you require. Have the model number and the code handy when searching for drivers over the Net.

The solutions mentioned here are all manual and usually not called for. PC drivers update utilities are really all that that are needed to ensure up to date drivers and take care of device driver issues.

Check if Your PC is USB 2 Enabled

Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 was released in 2001, and it allowed for higher speeds than its predecessor (USB 1). Through USB 2.0, a wider range of external devices can be used on your computer. It also enables these devices to perform faster.

For a USB 2.0 driver to be installed on your PC, your system MUST be USB 2.0 enabled. If not, you cannot use a USB 2.0 driver.

How to Check if Your PC is UBS 2.0 Enabled

  1. From the Windows Start menu, click Control Panel.
  2. Click System->Hardware->Device Manager.
  3. Scroll down to the Universal Serial Bus controllers folder and click the ‘+’ sign to see its contents.

If your Device Manager shows an ENHANCED USB Host Controller, the system has High Speed USB (USB 2.0) capability. All other types are USB 1.1.

If your system is only USB 1.1 enabled, you must purchase a PCI card that has USB 2.0 ports.

Recommended: Update Your USB Drivers with DriverFinder

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