How to Fix the “A Device Attached to the System Is Not Functioning” Error on Windows

It’s frustrating when Windows fails to communicate with connected devices and ends up showing the “a device attached to the system is not functioning” error. While the cause of this error could easily range from a faulty connection to malfunctioning drivers, fortunately, troubleshooting the error is not too difficult.

If you are also experiencing the same error, below are some troubleshooting tips you can employ.

1. Reconnect the Device

Before proceeding to the advanced solutions on this list, it’s vital to rule out any issues caused by a loose or improper connection.

To start off, make sure your device is securely plugged in. If it is, unplug it and re-plug it back in again; there’s a chance that the error is a one-off glitch that solves itself after a second time.

If you are connecting your device via a cable, inspect the wire for signs of damage and try using another cable.

2. Use a Different USB Port

It’s possible the USB port in question is broken, which is why your device isn’t functioning. You can try connecting your device to another USB port to see if that makes a difference. If your device is plugged into a USB hub, try connecting it directly to the PC instead.

If switching to another USB port gets rid of the error, it’s likely that your previous USB port is malfunctioning. Thankfully, there are ample ways to fix a dead USB port on a Windows computer.

3. Run SFC and DISM Scans

Corrupted or missing system files can also give rise to these kinds of errors on Windows. To check for this, you can employ Windows’ built-in diagnostic tools to fix any problematic system files.

The System File Checker (SFC) scan can automatically detect and replace any damaged system files with their cached versions. Here’s how to run it.

  1. Press Win + X and select Terminal (Admin) from the list.
  2. Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt shows up.
  3. In the console, paste the following command and press Enter.

sfc /scannow

After running the SFC scan, you can run the DISM (or Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scan by entering the following command:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

DISM will automatically detect any common problems with the system image. Once the scan is finished, DISM will connect to Windows Update online to download and replace any damaged files. After that, restart your PC and check if the issue is still there.

4. Update the Device Drivers

Outdated or malfunctioning device drivers can also lead to the “A device attached to the system is not functioning” error on Windows. You can try updating the device drivers to see if that helps.

Follow these steps to update device drivers on Windows:

  1. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box. Type devmgmt.msc in the Open field and press Enter.
  2. Right-click on the problematic device and select Update driver.
  3. Select Search automatically for drivers to let Windows find and install the best drivers.

Alternatively, you can use a driver updater for Windows to ease the process. This comes with the advantage of updating all your drivers in one go, meaning it might fix issues you didn’t even know you had.

If updating the driver does not help, it could be a case of device drivers being corrupted. In that case, check our guide on how to fix corrupt drivers on Windows for more instructions on how to fix this.

5. Check the USB Drive for Bad Sectors

If you’re facing this particular error while using a USB external storage device, you can scan your device with the Check Disk utility. This tool will scan and repair your storage device for file system errors and bad sectors.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer.
  2. Use the left pane to navigate to This PC.
  3. Right-click on your storage device and select Properties.
  4. Switch to the Tools tab and click the Check button in the Error checking section.

  5. Select Scan drive to initiate the process.

This process may take some time, depending on the size of your storage device. Once finished, reconnect your storage device and try using it again.

If the issue remains, you can consider formatting the USB drive instead. However, before you do that, make sure you back up all your important data since the formatting process will erase everything on your drive.

Once everything is backed up, follow the steps in our guide on how to format a USB drive, and why you’d want to. After formatting your device, try connecting it to your PC again to see if it functions properly.

6. Troubleshoot the Issue With a Clean Boot

At times, third-party programs and services running on your PC can interfere with peripheral devices and prevent them from functioning. One way to rule out this possibility is to boot Windows in a clean boot state where it loads with a minimal set of drivers and programs.

This is really useful for troubleshooting because it lets you quickly and easily check if a third-party tool or service is causing the issue. If you perform a clean boot and the issue goes away, it means that the culprit behind your error is one of the services that got disabled.

If you’d like to learn more about the topic, check out our guide on how to perform a clean boot on Windows and follow the steps listed there.

Troubleshooting Connected Devices on Windows

Your Windows PC lets you connect and use a wide range of devices without any additional configuration. However, Windows may occasionally bother you with errors such as “a device attached to the system is not functioning.” Hopefully, the solutions provided above have helped fix the error, and you’re at peace now.

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