USB Devices Not Recognized in Windows 7: Fixes

Several users have reported that various USB devices (including digital cameras, hard drives, the PlayStation Portable [PSP] and others) are not recognized by Windows 7. In some cases, devices show a “Please Wait” message, but never interact properly with the computer. In other cases, hard drives appear as empty when they actually contain data, or other functionality is missing.

There are a number of potential fixes for this issue:

Switch USB ports A surprisingly effective fix is to simply switch the USB port to which your device is attached. For instance, if your computer has both front and back USB ports, try switching from the front to the back or vice versa. Otherwise, just connect the device to a different port from the one to which it is currently attached.

Disconnect and reconnect Although this fix is almost too obvious to mention, many users overlook it. Simply disconnect the USB device for a few seconds, then reconnect it, ensuring a secure, snug fit.

Uninstall third-party USB programs Go to the Control Panel and select “Add/Remove Programs.” Remove all third-party device drivers in the device manager, then restart your computer. Try reconnecting the problematic devices and check for resolution of the issue. If you need to re-add any third-party drivers, you can obtain them from the manufacturers’ websites.

Update drivers Make sure you have the latest drivers for each device. These can usually be obtained from the manufacturer website. As mentioned in the previous fix, you may want to try deleting all currently installed drivers before installing the fresh, new versions.

Delete the INFCACHE If you are running Windows Vista, you may want to try deleting the INFCACHE.1 file, which stores device-to-driver association information. To do this, open a Windows Explorer window and type c:\windows\inf then press return, and locate the file “INFCACHE.1,” then follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on INFCACHE.1 and select “Properties”
  2. Click on the “Security” tab, then click “Edit.”
  3. Click “Add,” then type the name you would like to give to the user group.
  4. Set the new group to “Full Control” then click OK.
  5. You can now delete the file INFCACHE.1

You should now restart your computer and check for proper operation of the device. You may need to re-download the device(s) driver from the manufacturer website.

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