USB devices are, generally, plug & play. There are exceptions of course e.g. printers may still need additional drivers and/or software to be installed but USB mass storage devices do not have this problem.
You can connect a USB disk or hard drive to any USB port on your computer, and you will hear the new hardware chime on Windows 10. Drivers for it will be installed almost immediately and the device will be accessible in File Explorer.
USB Storage Device Has a Driver Problem
A USB mass storage device is plug & play but a driver is still involved. It’s just installed automatically by Windows 10 and users don’t notice it. In some cases though, the driver fails to install, or the installation is interrupted. Windows 10 generally doesn’t attempt to install the driver again.
If you see the USB Mass Storage Device has a driver problem error when you connect a USB drive to your system, try the following fixes.
1. Change USB port
One of the main reasons a USB driver may fail to install, or why you may see the USB Mass Storage Device has a driver problem error is because of a loose USB port. Ports tend to come loose with time or if you’re not careful when you move your system.
- Remove the USB storage device and connect it to a different port.
- If you’re using a USB hub to connect the device, remove the hub and connect the device directly to your system.
2. Reinstall USB device
A USB mass storage device that hasn’t installed properly may need to be uninstalled and then reinstalled to work.
- Open Device Manager.
- Expand Other Devices.
- Right-click the USB mass storage device that is listed.
- Select Uninstall device from the context menu.
- Once uninstalled, connect the USB mass storage device to your system.
- Windows 10 will install drivers for it.
3. Edit the Windows registry
If the mass storage device doesn’t install correctly after being uninstalled, there is likely a problem with the registry.
- Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
regeditin the run box and tap Enter.
- Go to the following key.
- Double click the Start value under USBSTOR.
- Enter 3 in value data box and click OK.
- Restart the system and connect the USB device again.
4. Check power settings
USB devices and ports are often powered down if they aren’t in use. This shouldn’t happen when a device is in use but there is no set time-out period for inactivity which is why they may be powering down.
- Open Device Manager.
- Expand Universal serial bus controllers.
- Right-click the USB Root Hub device and select Properties.
- Go to the Power Management tab.
- Uncheck the “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power’ option.
- Click OK.
- Restart the system and connect the storage device.
A USB mass storage device is a generic term used for any storage device that can connect via a USB port. If your device needs to be powered externally, make sure you’re connecting it to a port that can supply the right amount of power. Change the connecting cable and make sure your USB ports are clean, and rust-free.