One problem that we sometimes have with flash drives (or other USB peripherals) is getting Windows to recognize them. This is especially a problem with Windows 98SE, but also a problem with later Windows versions if the flash drive requires a driver to be installed.
For some reason, manufacturers just can not seem to standardize on when and how to install drivers for USB peripherals.
Sometimes, the instructions say to connect the USB item and then to put in the CD when Windows finds the USB item and asks for a driver.
Other times, the ones that are far more frustrating, occur when the manufacturer decided that we need to install the driver software before hooking up the USB peripheral. Printer and scanner manufacturers seem to like this option, as did some of the flash drive manufacturers like PNY.
The problem occurs when the manufacturer wanted you to install the software or driver first, but you put in the flash drive (or other USB item) without installing the driver/software.
When that happens, Windows recognizes that it has found a piece of equipment and that it doesn’t know what to do with it. Unplugging the USB item isn’t enough — because Windows won’t find it again on the next time you connect it (it knows that you have it and doesn’t know what to do with it!).
So, how do you get out of this hole?
Using the flash drive as the example, you would:
- Plug in your flash drive, then go to Control Panel, System, Device Manager.
- YOu should find the flash drive listed under USB Devices.
- Without taking the flash drive out of your computer, use the Device Manager function to “Remove” the drive from Windows.
- When that is finished, take the flash drive out of your computer.
- Now, plug in the flash drive and Windows should recognize it again.
- If you originally had to load drivers from a manufacturer’s CD for the flash drive, you’ll have to load them again. You might have to do that if you’re runing Win98 or WinMe or Win2000.
One other tip: If you have to install drivers, Windows seems to install the USB drivers only for that particular device connected to that particular USB port connector. If you disconnect and connect to a different USB port, you’ll probably have to load the drivers again. So, if you’re going to disconnect a USB device, make a note of which USB port it is using.