New USB printer recognized as Unknown Device under USB Controllers RRS feed

  • Question

  • The system is Win XP SP3 and a user plugged in a new USB printer before loading the drivers for it and the printer was recognized and installed as an 'Unknown Device' under the Universal Serial Bus controllers section of Device Manager. I cannot get the correct driver to install for this printer because during the driver install when it prompts to connect the printer to the USB it will immediately recognize it again as 'Unknown Device' and add it under USB controllers and then the printer driver install does not see the new device and then it cannot continue to install the correct driver. It also does not allow for the Update Driver function to install the correct driver either.

    How can I permanently delete the 'Unknown Device' association with this printer so that the correct printer driver installation process can detect the printer as a new device and install the correct driver? Without the correct driver it also does not install the DOT4 USB printing support so I cannot even add it as an LPT device and then change the port because there are no USB virtual or DOT4 ports available on the computer.

    Thursday, June 30, 2011 1:19 PM

All replies

  • Quick and easy answer: System Restore to before he plugged the printer in.  That's the sort of thing SR is good for.

    Thursday, June 30, 2011 2:01 PM
  • This system had just been reloaded and unfortunately a lot of software was installed after the printer was connected so it is not practical to do a system restore and then have to re-install all of the software again.


    Thursday, June 30, 2011 2:27 PM
  • 1) In Device Manager > View > Show Hidden Devices

    2)Regedit >

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment\

    add the following if it isnt there add it


    Type : REG_SZ

    Value : 1


    Close device manager and reopen it and delete the device if its listed.


    Should then be able to reinstall it.


    Alternatively you could just use a different USB port, windows will technically treat it as a new device.

    Thursday, June 30, 2011 3:58 PM
  • I tried adding the above mentioned key and it did not improve anything. The device is still listed under USB Controllers as 'Unknown Device' after deleting it and scanning for new hardware. Changing to a different USB port has no effect either, it still is recognized the same way.


    Wednesday, July 6, 2011 3:28 PM
  • This is the kind of 'magic fairy dust' problem that Windows is famous for. (esp. XP).  As I said in my first post, it's a pity you can't do an SR, because that usually 'blows the magic fairy dust away'.

    Gee, we are very technical here in the XP forum!

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011 4:00 PM
  • Hi,

    Try the following:

    * Unplug the USB cable from the PC

    * Install the Software Disc that came with the printer

    * When prompted to plug in the printer, ensure the printer is powered on, then plug the cable into a different USB port (e.g. if it was in the back of the PC then try the front)

    Sometimes when you plug the device into a different root hub, the driver install process begins all over again

    If that fails, will the installer proceed by clicking next without the printer plugged in? If so proceed with the printer unplugged, after the software is installed, reboot the system and plug the printer back in again once the OS has loaded back up.

    I have found this to be the case with Brother printers on Windows XP


    Hope it works out for you.


    Wednesday, July 6, 2011 5:52 PM
  • I have tried all of these options multiple times and no matter what this printer is recognized as 'Unknown Device' under the USB devices. I guess no one from Microsoft monitors these forums any more?


    Thursday, July 28, 2011 5:53 AM
  • Hi lorin70,

    If you are a Technet subscriber, you get managed forums, where they are obliged to give you an answer if the community can't come up with it.

    It's been almost a month since you posted the OQ, so I guess no-one has any better ideas.  Don't shoot me down, but what about giving him a different model/make printer?

    If you found this post helpful, please give it a "Helpful" vote. If it answered your question, remember to mark it as an "Answer".
    Thursday, July 28, 2011 5:59 AM
  • after reading the post , i belive that you have almost done everything .

    1:Possible that the smps is not giving enough power to the usb printer (smps--powersupplu in your computer)

    2: cable may be faulty

    3; Printer hardware may have issue , try connection on a different pc.

    Check and let me know .

    Windows Server System Administrator
    Thursday, August 4, 2011 1:08 PM
  • I have two out of three pc's with the same issue. It is a Windows problem for sure. The third pc is a pretty clean install of XP SP3, I plugged in the printer when the driver wizard prompted and it completed the install properly. The other two pc's, a laptop and desktop have the problem. One detects it as unknown device and driver wizard fails to see it, the other never shows as unknown device, but shows virtual usb printing support and fails to install driver. I've removed everything in Windows and registry pertaining to Brother printers and still fails. I have the same problem with a Canon printer too. Only way to fix this I believe is a clean install of Windows and start all over. What do you think Microsoft?
    Saturday, July 14, 2012 1:09 PM
  • Did you ever get this resolved?  I am having the same issues with 2 different printers on 2 different machines.  Both printers are HP laserjet 4250
    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 1:24 AM
  • This was never resolved. Ultimately it was necessary to replace the printer with a new one of a different model. I am sure that the problem was with some obscure registry setting that needed to be deleted but no one was ever able to identify exactly what the problem was.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:37 AM
  • did you try connecting to different USB port ? , Always try the back side of the CPU (to eliminate the current/voltage issue with USB)

    The front port of the CPU has lower voltage .

    Windows Server System Administrator

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 5:10 AM
  • WJDavis5, you genius you!

    I saw two "Unknown Devices" and deleted them both, even the one that was popping up when I'd plug in my Wasp WPL-305e.  As soon as I deleted them, there was much screen refreshing, and then the Wasp showed up.  Done.



    Friday, August 29, 2014 4:48 PM
  • I know this is very very old, but I had the same problem with Windows 7 and was really hard to find a solution.

    After searching for many hours I finally found it, here is where I got the solution

    A Fixit form Microsoft solved it with no need from System Restore

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015 9:32 PM
  • you can use a piece of software called "USB DEVIEW" to completely remove theese drivers
    Monday, February 26, 2018 9:30 AM