Why is no usb device found by my computer?
January 11, 2020 11:46 AM   Subscribe

The devices work on my laptop, but not the desktop.

Every time I plug in a device to my computer. Whether it's an mp3 player or a scanner, I hear the little sound from the computer which says it knows a usb was plugged in, but that's all. NOTHING shows up on the computer. Not even a "device undetected" or a usb sign on the task window.

My printer worked fine when I plugged it in, but it has it's own power supply. I don't know if that's the issue. After all the computer is plugged into the wall so the power of the USB shouldn't be a factor right?
posted by fantasticness to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
- I'm assuming you have a Windows machine? What version of Windows do you use, if so?
- Have the devices ever worked on this computer? Can you list the specific make/models of these devices?
- Do any of the devices require driver software? If so, are the drivers installed?
- Are you plugging the things in directly to the computer, or through a USB hub or similar? Try plugging them in directly if not.
- Have you tried plugging them into a different port on the computer?
- Have you tried different cables for the devices?
posted by Aleyn at 12:31 PM on January 11, 2020

I would google something along the lines of nothing happens when I plug in USB device "Windows 10" or whatever operating system you use in quotes and see what you find. Without knowing your operating system or the steps you've taken already, it's a bit difficult to advise you without a constant back-and-forth. I would be checking each USB port, different cables, etc. first to make sure there's no obvious hardware probllem, and then figuring out if there's a software issue that needs to be fixed, like a driver issue, settings issue, etc.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:03 PM on January 11, 2020

I'm assuming you're talking Windows here.

There are two sound effects for hotplugging a device on Windows 7/8/10, a sort of happy three-note one for a device being connected and a sad two-note one for removing it.

If you get the happy sound when you plug the device in, then Windows is seeing the device, your USB cable is working, the power supply is fine. If you don't (eventually) get a message saying it can't find the driver for the device, then it has some driver available that it thinks is right for that device.

What else are you expecting to happen that isn't happening? Most devices don't do anything automatically when you plug them in. When you say nothing shows up, where are you looking and what are you expecting to see?

You can look in Device Manager to see the devices that Windows can see and what it thinks they are. There will be a warning symbol on any device that Windows thinks there's a problem with.
posted by automatronic at 4:18 PM on January 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Does this happen on all of your desktop's USB ports? Desktops often have pairs of USB controllers, in case one fries.
posted by dws at 6:37 PM on January 11, 2020

Just to make sure, when you say "task window" do you mean the file explorer? If not, can you look in the file explorer and see if the devices show up there? (I'd give specific instructions but haven't used the newer versions of Windows.) Windows can be set to not automatically take actions when devices are plugged in, but if that's the case they should still show up if you look for them.
posted by trig at 8:52 PM on January 11, 2020

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