Peripheral

How to Diagnose the “USB Device Not Recognized” Error in Windows

Windows is designed to be almost universal in its support of PC accessories, particularly USB-based add-ons like external hard drives, flash drives, game controllers, webcams, microphones, and other peripherals. Most things work out-of-the-box thanks to pre-loaded drivers, but occasionally a gadget will still give you the dreaded “USB device not recognized” error.

There are a lot of different ways that this problem can manifest, and unfortunately Windows still isn’t very good at actually telling users how to solve it. Here are the most common issues and—in at least some cases—how to fix them.

You Might Be Missing Drivers for the Device

Starting with Windows Vista, the operating system loads thousands of generic and specific drivers at the time of its installation, and adds new drivers for detected hardware periodically through Windows Update. So if the gadget you’re plugging in to your computer is simple enough, or it comes from a major manufacturer like Logitech, it should work right away or after a quick, semi-automatic download.

If it doesn’t, it might mean that your device isn’t covered by Microsoft’s generic built-in drivers or the larger database of drivers on the Windows Update servers. That means you’ll need to download the necessary drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

Most drivers should install just like any other Windows program. If that doesn’t work, though, read on.

Your Computer Might Be Using Incorrect or Outdated Drivers

As handy as Windows’ automatic driver detection is, it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it matches the wrong driver with the device, or the device hardware has been updated by the manufacturer to the point where the original driver is no longer applicable. If the installed drivers or ones downloaded from the manufacturer’s site on the web aren’t working, you’ll need to manually select the device and driver using Device Manager.

Open the Start menu and type “Device Manager”. Select the…

Inside Microsoft’s strategy for the Xbox One X reveal

Microsoft unveiled its Xbox One X video game console on Sunday ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The console debuts worldwide on November 7 for $499.

You can use the same peripherals for the game console as those for the Xbox One and Xbox One S. And it will be able to play original Xbox console games. Microsoft showed off games such as Electronic Arts’ Anthem, 4A’s Metro Exodus, and State of Decay 2. But it didn’t show any Gears of War or Halo titles.

Microsoft’s team went over every detail of the press event for months. And we got a chance to ask one of the company’s leaders why it made certain choices as it prepares for yet another round of the console wars.

I caught up on Monday with Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer at Microsoft’s Xbox, in an interview at the company’s showcase at Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

Above: Xbox One X debuts November 7.

Image Credit: Microsoft

GamesBeat: I was curious what your thoughts are on the marketing side, how this compared to your strategy for the Xbox One introduction. You have a certain amount of time. What do you say about this new console?

Mike Nichols: How many of these have you seen from us? All of them? 16 or so? [laughs] We decided this time to focus on two things this year. One was the introduction of the console. The second was—we didn’t want to show a lot of games everybody knows. We decided to show a more eclectic collection of different types of games. We wanted to show a lot of them.

When we were in all the rehearsals, we were thinking, “Well, we’re always around 90 minutes. Do we want to do that again?” But there weren’t any games we wanted to pull.

They’re very valuable. They have a role. I’m personally a fan of a lot of those big popular game franchises. But we ended up focusing elsewhere.

Above: Kareem Choudary unveils the Xbox One X at E3 2017 .

Image Credit: Microsoft

GamesBeat: What’s enough to get people to buy the box? There weren’t as many existing franchises that you could have talked about. You could have shown Halo for 30 seconds, something like that, or Gears of War.

Nichols: We focused mostly on things shipping in the next 12 months, so everyone had a sense of those. We’re definitely working on stuff for Halo, as you might imagine. We’re working on stuff for Gears of War. We have a whole bunch of things up our sleeves, but they’re a bit further out. It was a matter of timing. We think it’s okay to give some of the franchises time to breathe.

Giving people something a bit unexpected—everybody expected we would talk about Project Scorpio, and we did. Every time we come into the briefing, it’s expected that we’ll tell you about Halo, Gears, this, that. It becomes a little rote.

GamesBeat: You would have lost the time for all these smaller games, too.

Nichols: Again, even then, everybody knows Halo 5 is on Xbox One. Everybody knows Gears of War 4 is on Xbox One. It was more like, let’s show some other stuff we think is interesting.

GamesBeat: I remember some more technical things you guys got into. Did you want to get all of that out of the way before you talked about games the machine can play?

Nichols: I felt like it was important to frame things up for everyone, so the show is easy to follow. There was so much anticipation about the hardware announcement in particular. We wanted to come out and say, “Here’s the hardware announcement. The rest of this is about games that are playable across all the different members of the Xbox One family.” The original, the S, and the X.

Frankly, there’s so much engineering that’s gone into the thing. We’re proud of that. That engineering will result in far better experiences. The visual ID itself—I’m biased, but I think it’s beautiful. But the real magic of it is on the inside, and the experience that enables. That’s where we ended up focusing. Let’s talk a bit about the innards and the design decisions we made, and then let’s show what this thing can do up on the big 4K LED screen. It seems like people liked both elements of the presentation, at least based on the early read. Hearing a bit about the hardware decisions and then spending the next 90-plus minutes on games.

GamesBeat: What about VR? Was that decided in some way, whether you wanted to talk about VR or not?

Nichols: Our focus as a company on VR is far more on Windows than it is on Xbox One. We have some headsets launching that we’re very proud of, coming later this year for Windows. It’s called Windows Mixed Reality. We have all the Studios teams working on several titles for those headsets. We’re working with third parties on content for those headsets. But our primary focus is on Windows and PC for mixed reality, for lots of reasons. We decided to focus this show far more on Xbox One and the introduction of this particular console.

Above: Xbox One X has all the same ports as the original or…

Adding Character To The C64

The venerable Commodore 64, is there anything it can’t do? Like many 1980s computer platforms, direct access to memory and peripherals makes hacking easy and fun. In particular, you’ll find serial & parallel ports are ripe for experimentation, but the Commodore has its expansion/cartridge port, too, and [Frank Buss] decided to hook it up to a two-line character LCD.

Using the expansion port for this duty is a little unconventional. Unlike the parallel port, the expansion port doesn’t have a stable output, as such. The port contains the data lines of the 6510…

Is Intel’s Management Engine Broken?

Betteridge’s Law of Headlines states, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” This law remains unassailable. However, recent claims have called into question a black box hidden deep inside every Intel chipset produced in the last decade.

Yesterday, on the Semiaccurate blog, [Charlie Demerjian] announced a remote exploit for the Intel Management Engine (ME). This exploit covers every Intel platform with Active Management Technology (AMT) shipped since 2008. This is a small percentage of all systems running Intel chipsets, and even then the remote exploit will only work if AMT is enabled. [Demerjian] also announced the existence of a local exploit.

Intel’s ME and AMT Explained

Beginning in 2005, Intel began including Active Management Technology in Ethernet controllers. This system is effectively a firewall and a tool used for provisioning laptops and desktops in a corporate environment. In 2008, a new coprocessor — the Management Engine — was added. This management engine is a processor connected to every peripheral in a system. The ME has complete access to all of a computer’s memory, network connections, and every peripheral connected to a computer. The ME runs when the computer is hibernating and can intercept TCP/IP traffic. Management Engine can be used to boot a computer over a network, install a new OS, and can disable a PC if it fails to check into a server at some predetermined interval. From a security standpoint, if you own the Management Engine, you own the computer and all data contained within.

The Management Engine and Active Management Technolgy has become a focus of security researchers. The researcher who finds an exploit allowing an attacker access to the ME will become the greatest researcher of the decade. When this exploit is discovered, a billion dollars in Intel stock will evaporate. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the Managment Engine is a closely guarded secret, it’s based on a strange architecture, and…