Tip

Respond to 'USB Device Malfunctioned' error -- part 2

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Do you ever get the "USB device malfunction" message on your fully-patched Windows XP SP2 box? Sometimes, the 'Unknown Device' error still reappears under the "Universal Serial Bus controllers" category even after you've tried disabling the system as I suggested in my previous tip (

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See part 1 of this tip).

This is when it's time to use Registry Editor. You will need to use the modern Registry Editor, regedt32.exe, because you must give yourself rights to delete a key. (The usual caveats apply -- if you make a mistake, serious consequences may arise.)

  1. In regedt32 go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CCS\Enum\USB.
  2. Look in each folder labeled Vid_Xxxx. There should be subfolders containing information about one of your USB devices in each.
  3. Right click on the Vid_Xxxx folder that contains a folder labeled 'Unknown Device' in it and click Properties.
  4. Check Allow Full Control, then right click on the same Vid_Xxxx folder and delete it.
  5. Reboot and plug the device in.

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This was first published in February 2005

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