One of our readers Suhaneh, submitted a trouble “USB Device Malfunction Error message coming even no USB device connected to system“.
This kind of trouble really sounded very strange. It gave me a very interesting topic to research upon. What I found as a solution was even more strange than the problem. On searching the causes for such errors I came across about problems when people are using their USB devices and they work well. Other moment the USB device will stop working and will give error:
“USB DEVICE MALFUNCTIONED”
There are several hardware, software, and drivers related reasons for behind this problem.
Let us look into the details one by one.
There can be more than one reasons for such things happening. Lets see one by one:
1. Really Crazy Sounding Fix : When I tell you this fix, you may think that I have gone crazy writing technical articles, but keep reading for the logic behind it. the solution is
” Turn off your computer, un-plug the power cord (or battery for a laptop) of your computer for about 30 minutes, plug the power cables back, restart the computer and the problem will be fixed “
Now the logic behind it : This is supposed to be a software as well as hardware problem. Windows keeps a table or cache of USB devices that were ever connected to it. This information is stored on some chip level memory on motherboard. When some entry goes wrong, or some stray behavior is there, it remains and is not flushed even on shutting down the computer. Removing the power altogether will cause the charges on mother-board to discharge completely and the entries are freshly created when you re-start next time. Thanks NT Compatible forum for this really interesting thread about this problem.
If this does not solve your problem, there may be problem due to reason 2 and/or 3 as mentioned below.
2. Missing or incompatible drivers : Make sure that you have motherboard chipset drivers installed and also the USB device’s drivers which you want to use.
3. Selective Suspend feature of USB : This feature will allow windows to control USB device power as needed. This setting also causes problem some times. See the fix by Microsoft Support here.