Cannot install New USB devices

A client asked me to take a look at their new Dell Dimension 3100 computer which was refusing to allow them to transfer their photographs from their camera.

The first thing I tried to do was plug in my generic USB flash drive which contains all of our software toolkit.

However, the PC asked me for a driver which I thought was pretty odd since XP should install flash keys automatically. After a few minutes it was obvious that any new USB device plugged in would not install correctly - it was not related to the device getting plugged in.

When a new USB device was plugged in, the ADD NEW HARDWARE wizard would appear asking if I wanted to search the internet for a driver. If you said yes, then it would go off for a moment and then fail.

After searching on the net, I found other people with the same issue.

The problem was that all the 'solutions' looked at the actual device getting plugged in and not the USB subsystem which I suspected was causing the problem. The issue was not helped with the fact that the PC was USB only - no PS/2 ports. When I tried to reinstall the USB device drivers, it disabled the mouse and keyboard. Not good!

After rolling back that schoolboy error via VNC and System Restore, I continued the search for a solution. So far, the only way I was able to get things installed was to say no to an Internet search and then ask to install the drivers manually from a location of my choosing - the c:\windows\inf folder. This would slowly install the drivers but add a second yellow unknown bang in device manager.

Not a perfect solution but one that got the clients devices working for now until I find a more elegent fix that does not involve reinstalling Windows. The device drivers might already need to be in the INF folder (in this case the Camera software had already been installed) but if you have this problem, it might be worth looking there.

If anybody finds a solution then I would be very interested in seeing it.



I have the exact same problem. All was running fine when i unplugged my usb hub, mouse etc to take the laptop upstairs, once i wanted to plug it back in, nada, nothing was recognized. no usb hubs work anymore, was working fine before. I keep getting the window that XP needs to install drivers, but it will not find anything at all. I finally was able to get my mouse to work using a logitech mouse software package. (it's a dell mouse) Still everything else fails. If anyone found a solutions, i am dying to hear it.

I too have the same issue . Already installed devices seem fine , but anything new will just not work . Very frustrating and I have not been able to find a fix and any of the suggestions that sound like my problem involve complex registry edits which I am not keen to do . Please help

With this problem, It seems you can't switch ports with the already installed devices. Devices on the back ports won't be recognised on the front etc. All ports are listed on the spec as usb2.0. Interested to hear others try this out...

Dude you saved me from going insane. Your solution worked for me on my new Kodak Z612. Thanks for sharing.

You're welcome. Just don't pee on my rug ;-)

Chris my boy i real glad my flash drive start to work after i selected the inf folder. I was gettin real annoyed with this thing. U real help me out there. I apprecite that.
Justin, Trinidad and Tobago

I had a similar problem with a USB flash drive, but your solution has worked perfectly for me. I guess the hardware wizard was looking in the wrong place for the drivers for some reason. Thanks.

I have had the same problem and a system restore was the only way to get things back to normal at least for a period of time. Must be something with a conflict within the USB hub controllers and drivers.

Your C:\inf fix worked and saved a lot of frustation - thanks

I too had the same problem with installing a Flash Drive and following the suggestions of selecting the windows/inf folder for driver resolution had limited success as the Flash device then appeared in Windows Explorer but was shown with a yellow error flag in Device manager and needed to re-installed everytime it was attached/plugged in.

After searching the internet for a resolution found the Microsoft KB892050 which looked a likely Hotfix. Applied hotfix and restarted Pc and still the same issue.

Then decided to re-apply SP2 ontop of what was an up to date XP Home system and 'Voila' problem solved albeit after having to initially let windows find the correct drivers and files automatically.

Hope this helps somebody with a similar problem.

navigate to C:\WINDOWS\Driver Cache\i386\ . Right click file and explore. find usbstor.sys, right click and extract to desktop. Insert memory stick and install!

Likewise...c:\WINDOWS\inf solved the same problem for me. Thanks!

Chris if I could kiss you I would!!!! I recently bought this same camera loaded the software but couldnt get the driver for the camera. I had been working on this for about a week and called Kodak 4 times!! They kept telling me to remove the software, clear the registry and re-install the software it never worked I followed what you did and darned if I finally got it. After looking on the internet I also saw numerous people having the same issue if Kodak would of told me this from the beginning it would of saved me alot of time and frustration. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

Steady now. Glad it worked for you!

Hey, I found your blog the same way you found various "solutions" - by searching. I had a similar problem when I wanted to use the integrated USB hub in my Dell monitor. I wanted to free up a usb port by connecting my mouse and keyboard to the monitor. Then I would only have one cable running to the PC for both mouse and keyboard. I connected the USB cable from the monitor to my PC and the hardware wizard would find the hardware but could not install it. I tried adding a different, separate USB hub with the same results. I tried so many solutions like registry mods, physically removing and uninstalling the USB devices in device manager, uninstalling various software I thought was causing the problem. I had to use an old serial mouse while troubleshooting. Removing the USB devices in device manger disabled the USB mouse. I tried pointing the hardware wizard to c:\windows\inf but it still would not find a suitable driver. I tried deleting the infcache.1 file in c:\windows\inf. I even removed all the files in c:\windows\Driver Cache\i386. I tried restoring from the XP disk, but nothing worked. Finally, I restored the usb related inf files from the XP disk. usb.inf was the missing piece of the puzzle that fixed my problem. It has all the entries for usb hubs. Now it works. I owe thanks to you for putting me on the right path. -Bill

Such a simple fix. Thank you so much. I was going nuts trying to re-install my driver. =)

Hello Everyone, I have been driving myself crazy trying to fix an issue that is either exactly like the one posted or similar. I have a Centon 4GB datastick sport that I cannot use in my computer. Centon's website says that: "The drivers for the USB Mass Storage devices like the DataStick, SpinDrive and the USB MP3 Player are already built-in to Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. No additional driver is needed. For Windows 2000, it is recommended that you update to Service Pack 4. For Windows XP, it is recommended that you update to at least Service Pack 1, if not Service Pack 2. A driver is only needed for Windows 98. Those drivers are posted on the Centon Drivers page. [Note: Windows 95 drivers are no longer supported.] Again, the driver for the DataStick is already built-in to Windows ME, as well as Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Some computers may not fully install USB Hardware List drivers. To fix this you will have to extract the usb.inf file from the .cab files on the Windows CD. For additional assistance with this, please contact your computer manufacturer." When I plug my datastick into my computer Windows XP recognizes it and it shows up in My Computer as a drive letter and all. When I click on it to open it; however, it asks me to insert a disk like it doesn't even recognize what type of removeable media it is. Because Centon says that Windows XP drivers are built-in no updated driver is available. I have seen other posts saying that adjusting power settings, etc. fixed their problem but my computer is an HP with a locked down BIOS and I wasn't able to try all the things they suggested. I saw these postings and decided to try extracting all the USB drivers from the XP CD to my compuer (i.e. overwriting them with the ones from the CD) but I don't know how to do it. There is nothing on my CD that I can tell directly relates to the USB drivers only, etc. Any help would be appreciated.

Hello, I am having a similar problem (if not exact) to the issues described in this post. I recently purchased a Centron 4GB datastick sport. When I received it and plugged it into my computer Windows XP recognized it and installed it and told me it was ready for use. I went into My Computer and it showed up with a drive letter assigned. Then I double-clicked the drive and a received a message asking me to insert a disk into the drive?? So I figured I would update the drivers, but when I went to Centon's website I found this message: "The drivers for the USB Mass Storage devices like the DataStick, SpinDrive and the USB MP3 Player are already built-in to Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. No additional driver is needed. For Windows 2000, it is recommended that you update to Service Pack 4. For Windows XP, it is recommended that you update to at least Service Pack 1, if not Service Pack 2. A driver is only needed for Windows 98. Those drivers are posted on the Centon Drivers page. [Note: Windows 95 drivers are no longer supported.] Again, the driver for the DataStick is already built-in to Windows ME, as well as Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Some computers may not fully install USB Hardware List drivers. To fix this you will have to extract the usb.inf file from the .cab files on the Windows CD. For additional assistance with this, please contact your computer manufacturer." So I starting searching and found some people with similar problems suggesting power fixes, etc. but nothing worked. Then I tried to find the usb.inf file they were talking about on the Windows XP CD. Maybe I am missing something but I didn't see a usb.inf file in any of the .cab files. I then found this page and saw that someone overwrote ALL of their USB drivers/files on their computer with the ones on the Windows XP CD. How do I do this? I couldn't even find where the usb.inf file was located on the CD. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Hello Chris, I am having trouble connecting my Kodak Z612 digital camera to my Sony Vaio system with Windows XP. I notice you mentioned going to the c:\windows\inf folder, and re-installing drivers. I cannot find that folder on my system. When I plug he camera in, it recognizes the camera under "other devices" in the device driver manager as the correct make and model. However, I cannot find the driver. Here is some background: * I bought the camera second hand without the CD. * I have downloaded the Easyshare software from Kodak (several times), and even tried installing just the "camera connection software." Each time I get the same result as above. * Kodak support tells me I should choose the "Digital still camera" (DSC) option from the list of available drivers on the "don't search, I will choose the driver to install...." window. However, the DSC is not listed. * Kodak tells me that the driver is a generic one available from Microsoft. * Microsoft tells me I need to go to Kodak to get the driver (catch-22?). * By the way, kodak refuses to send me a CD to see if the driver is on it, but I suspect it is not on there anyway, if it was not part of the Easyshare download. Is it a lower level driver than the one Easyshare provides, which is why I can't get at it? I have searched in vain on the Microsoft website and elsewhere for a "digital still camera" driver to no avail. In some discussions, there was a mention of a dsc.inf file. COuld this be what I need? Best regards, John Seal

The c:\windows\inf folder is hidden.

Therefore, to un-hide it you need to click on Tools in Windows Explorer then select Folder Options. On the View tab, locate the Hidden Files and Folders option and ensure Show Hidden Files and Folders radio button is active.

Then try to install the device again.

Chris, Thank you, thank you. I followed your suggestion. I was able then to install the device, and the camera is now recognized! the C:\windows\inf directory seems to be a key for much of this hardware connectivity, wish I had found it before. As you said in your first post, at one point, I had to uninstall all the drivers with question marks, and painfully go through every one again individually to re-install it. But by using this folder, it really speeded things up. The Sony Viao I purchased 2 years ago did not include Windows CDs, so until now I was at a loss as to where to get this information. So once again, thank you for all your advice, it has been invaluable. There don't seem to be too many people around who know this level of the hardware/software interfaces of Windows computers. Regards, John

I had the same problem. I recently bought a new camera and couldn't get it to install on my laptop, even though my old camera still works fine when connected to the same usb port. I thought I would just buy a memory card reader for the laptop, since I couldn't connect the camera, but I could not get the memory card reader to install. I even have a usb mouse that I can't get to install. It works with the port replicator that was previously installed, but when I unplug it from the port replicator and plug it directly into the laptop, in the same usb port that the replicator was plugged into, it will not work. I finally got tired of messing with the old laptop and bought a newer one. I have had a hard time trying to get my files off of the old computer, since it doesn't have a cdrw, floppy, or any removable rewritable media. I was not able to transfer files with a direct ethernet cable, or a wireless ad-hoc network, so I went and bought a usb flash drive. Then it wouldn't install wither. I also couldn't find anything in the device drivers to uninstall for it, so that I could uninstall and then reinstall the flash drive. After a system restore and telling the add hardware wizard to look in C:\windows\inf folder the usb flash drive now works. I can now transfer all of my important files and reinstall windows on the old laptop. Thank you very much.

You are a lifesaver I spent the whole of yesterday afternoon trying to install a Nikon camera - neither the camera shop or my system helpdesk could solve the problem , the later suggesting I needed to complete a complete re-install . This clearly a windows 'bug'- what sense does it make that usb devices need to be plugged into the same usb port to work (as I found out by trial and error).Thankyou again.

Let me add one more to the long list of "thank you" messages. All of my hardware -- scanner, external floppy, external Zip, printer, etc. -- all came back online after C:/Windows/inf was changed from "hidden" status. My backup laptop can now go back into mothballs for another year.

I've battled with this issue for a couple of hours on a clients machine. No new USB devices could be installed at all. Existing USB devices worked fine - news device would even be identified correctly - eg. Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 - yet no suitable driver could be found. Not on Windows Update - not in the INF directory - not on the Windows XP disk. Re-installing the USB host drivers did nothing; they were working anyway, as they could identify devices successfully. A short google and I stumbled across your blog. Unfortunately, simply pointing to the INF directory didn't solve the problem. It did however point me in the right direction. To solve the issue I copied the entire contents of the INF directory off a working machine. Fortunately I had the convenience of a network connecting the two machines - otherwise you could use a CD to achieve the same goal; 1) I created a directory on the trouble machine called INFB under c:\Windows 2) Copied another WinXP SP2 machines entire C:\WINDOWS\INF contents into the INFB folder. 3) Rebooted into Safe Mode with command line using the F8 key on startup 4) renamed the INF directory to INF.old 5) renamed the INFB directory to INF 6) Reboot 7) Plug and play USB returns! Hope this helps someone else out there - cheers Matty

Thanks Matt, every post helps! Chris

Hi, Got a similar problem here- no keyboard or mouse. I'm interested to hear you say VNC and System Restore. I understand System Restore (pressing F8 on startup) but how can you navigate this without a keyboard? I'm probably missing out on what VNC means as that clearly needs to be "done" first- can you help me here? Thanks, b814sn1

Matty i am in the same situation as you are in. A clients machine not installing usb devices properly. When a new usb device is plugged in the new hardware screen constantly flashes. Even after removing the usb device it still continues to flash. I see this is more than likely the same problem as yours. So i will try your solution soon. Can you please help me out though as i can see it will work for the like of usb flash drives or mice/keyboards but will it solve the problem with like big printers connecting via usb that may need the drivers installed manually because this is where my problem started. Failing all this it will have to be a clean install of windows which id rather not do as it is a customers machine. Machine is dell dimension 5000

Yes, fortunately we often install VNC on machines for remote support purposes so he was able to connect in from another machine. You could try installing VNC version on a remote PC or if the machine is XP Professional you may be able to Remotely Enable Remote Desktop.

You Guys ROCK!!!! Enough Said.

Hi guys. I am now having this problem whith usb sticks on my laptop at home, no idea why. I tried what you said but when I ask the install wizard to look in the c:/windows/inf folder (i have un-hidden the folder) it says there are "no driver files in this location". anyone any clue? im unable to do any uni work over the hoildays now and its a big problem!

Bloodyyyyyyyyyy Fantastic. Had 2 years of USB related issues and this little Windows/inf solution just Rocks. My laptop now feels like it belongs to me and I am incharge :) Great site

i had this problem, I had it look for drivers in C:/Windows/ServicePackFiles I discoverd the I386 folder for SP2 in here, windows by default looks at the original i386 i dont know why this happened to me, but all my usb works now

Had to use Matty's copying of the INF file for it to work. ONly issue was that I was copying from an XP Professional to an XP Home. I didn't actually go through the process of chaning the INFB file name...rather i just targeted that folder when going to install. Worked like a charm. Thanks!! Tom

You're Officially my Hero now. It's my birthday today AND I found a solution for my USB problem. What else can I wish for? :-) Thanks Chris! The INF suggestion works great.

You could wish for a big cake!

%systemroot%\inf has been removed from the DevicePath Registry Key. It should be the first value, just paste it in followed by a ; infront of the path that's allready there.

Hi I have an issue with a friend's computer. Now she is using an extremely old computer that used to have Windows 98 installed. Before she was given the computer, the previous owner did a upgrade to Windows XP. Her computer runs not too fast, but not slow either. To my knowledge, she has never used the usb port for anything. The only times were when her cousin plugged it in to charge her iPod. Not to put music on or anything else so I doubt it was actually detected in the first place. Now recently she purchased a logitech usb microphone, and when she plugs it in, the Add hardware wizard appears and nothing works. But here's the interesting thing I've never encountered before. There is no Windows directory! I discovered that instead its C:\SicoWin and she has no system or system32 folder either. Now I found the inf folder you spoke of and tried re-directing to it, but it still fails. Eventually I gave her my iPod as a present and she has the same problems when plugging it in. A short time after her sister purchased a Samsung GoGear flash mp3 player and reaches the same results upon plugging it in. Could the issue have something to do with that upgrade? Could the computer be too old? Her computer is running Windows XP Home Service Pack 2 with the latest updates from Microsoft Update. Please help... Thanks!

Whenever I went to plug in a new memory stick or camera my computer wouldn't install it. I sorted it by going to this site and downloading the USBSTOR.inf. I copied this into my inf folder and all my devices now work.

I also had the same problem with 2 different cameras here at work. I replaced the USBSTOR.INF file with one from my machine. Restarted the computer, had the user log back in. Inserted the camera cable thinking it was resolved and it still would not allow me access to the memory card inside the camera (no window popped up to allow me access like it does on other systems). I decided to go into the device manager and saw that there was a new entry in the USB section called USB Mass Media (or something to that effect) I verified that it was the one I was looking for by disconnecting the camera and it disappeared from the list. So I plugged it back in, waited a minute for the computer to do it's thing and then right clicked on it and uninstalled the driver. I unplugged the camera and waited a minute for it to do it's thing again and then plugged the camera back into the USB slot. BINGO! It found the camera and the window that asks you what do you want to do popped up again and I was able to open up the folder with all the pictures. Thanks to all that have participated in this discussion and I appreciate it VERY much. The user was getting irate about not being able to look at the various pictures they had taken of company functions and the products that we have available (we're a marketing firm). HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY TO YA'LL! BigD in Texas

Hello, I've been trying all what's written in this forum and nothing worked for me. I replaced inf folders, I replaced USBSTOR.INF.... and nothing. I've got a Microsoft transceiver v3.0 for bluetooth which messed up my usb. Since I first used it nothing is recognised when plugged in the usb. Any advices? Where should I look for my problem?

Ok, here I am again.

If you got a Microsoft transceiver v3.0 for bluetooth you'll get a lot of headaches.

I've been trying for two days to sort out my problem with my transceiver.
In the end I got to try all these steps which didn't work:
- installing the driver
- reinstalling it
- I found out that a mondll.dll is causing the problem and I looked in the system for it. Never found it. Not on the Internet as well.
It seemed to be a file from the driver which you couldn't get from nowhere, although mondll.dll doesn't exist in any system file from any computer (C:/WINDOWS/system32). But, this wasn't the problem anyway.
- I tried your way by replace the inf. file in order to get the installation of the device from there. Didn't work for me.
- I looked in Driver Cache when installed. Nothing happened.
The error message was always the same. code1.

And then, he said:

Try this as well.;en-us;810509

Download that tool.
Unzip it.
Click Start > Run > then type in CMD and hit OK.
When the black box pops open it should say
C:\Documents and settings\yourusername\
If it does then you need to type "cd local settings"
Then it will say
C:\Documents and settings\yourusername\local settings
Then type "cd temp"
Then it will say
C:\Documents and settings\yourusername\local settings\temp
Then type in pnpreg -l
(that "l" is an L).
It should run that downloaded file and set some of the permission correctly.

With this, all your USB problems will be solved forever.

Thank you Aitrusskyy, wherever you are.

PS: you can find him on:

Helppppppppp Read all the above - tried a few but getting a sore head. My problem is that I have two external Hard drives both were working, one through the USB on the p.c and the other through the USB on the first External - I went to change one of them to a bigger unit now both wont work. Device Manager : USB device - This device is not configured correctly. (Code 1) To reinstall the drivers for this device, click Reinstall Driver. Tried that -searches for driver in system 32 and then gives the following error : The Data is invalid. Is it something to do with the USB or the hard drives? Thanks Mac

+1 On the INF. Trying to get to the root of the issue, Mine was a windows 2K machine that was upgraded to SP1. I wondering if SP2 changed where to look for the drivers? Or maybe something in the registery that 2K didn't like

I really need help...I've been working on this all night. I don't have a working mouse so I'm using just the keyboard. NO new USB is working. My dad got a Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 7000. I just need it to work so I can copy all my files and reinstall XP home. I've tried almost everything here.. can someone PLEASE help me out? I'm going crazy..been working on this for 10 hours and I'm very frustrated. I've tried the inf, I've looked for the I386, can't find it. I've tried the pnpgreg and it didn't work said it couldnt find it when I got to the last step. I haven't tried the coping the inf file from another computer, but I will be. Any other ideas? :(

Not on this. But if you just need a mouse to help you move your files to reinstall. Check out Mousekeys, you can then have a rudimentry mouse using the keyboard. Follow the "Keyboard actions" which will take you through enabling it when you don't have a mouse.
Keyboard shortcuts that are useful when you don't have a mouse.

CTRL+ESC - Bring up the start menu. (then use the arrow keys and enter)
TAB - To cycle through the options in dialog boxes and windows.
SHIFT + TAB - The same as TAB but cycle backwards.
CTRL + A - Select all
CTRL + C - Copy
CTRL + V - Paste
CTRL + X - Cut
ALT + SPACE - Bring up Window options (maximise, minimise, close etc)
ALT+F4 - Close window

Good luck!

Thanks, though I have been using the keyboard for everything for 3 days now LOL. I've become a pro at it *sigh*. I'll check out the mouse keys though thanks!

Thank you Chris - I was beginning to despair that I would never find a solution to the problem of no NEW USB devices working. I tried the C:/WINDOWS/inf folder advice and now have a fully functioning laptop once more. So many people are having similar problems and this is the first time any of the advice given has worked for me. I'm sorry to read it isn't a cure-all for everyone and hope the definitive answer will eventually be found. It seem the 'anomaly' started in 2006 and it would be interesting to know why. Penny :)

I run into the same problem with unable install new USB storage devices. After checking, I realized that usbstor.inf is missing from my machine, how did it happen I have no idea. After copying usbstor.inf from my colleague's computer and putting it back to c:\windows\inf, everthing works great. Thanks!!!

Hi, Original post in 2006, and people still thanking you by the end of 2008. Let me add my thanks to the list. :) Baris

my printer stopped working and i tried to re install it but it said that the usb.inf file was missing

This fix worked for me when all of the previous ones did not -> [going to this site and downloading the USBSTOR.inf. I copied this into my inf folder]

The file did not exist in my windows/inf folder (XP SP2). I made a new text file and copied the info into it and then my USB devices installed automatically when they would not before.

Thank you so much! I've had my new computer almost a year now with this problem and it was the only one in the office of over 200 computers that did this. Based on some of the comments in response to your article I was able to find that apparently there was no usbstor.inf file under the C:\Windows\inf folder. I was able to copy this file from my bacup computer. Once I restarted, I was able to go through the installation process and now my USB disk works! So even though your article is from 2006, this fix still works like a charm on my XP system!

I was able to resolve the same problem by downloading usbstor.inf from and installing the file in c:\windows\inf Propably only works if usbstor.inf is missing, which was the case on my system (no idea why it disappeared)

Lifesaver! I recently bought a MS Wireless Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 kit, to replace the older wireless natural keyboard/mouse combo that was starting to show it's age (could it be that I'm a developer and pounded it to death the past year or so? ;-) ). But every time I tried to install the wireless transceiver, a USB device, it would ask me for a driver and then fail to find one. The CD provided didn't have the driver. This was very perplexing since the transceiver is just a HID (hooman interface device) in wireless sheep's clothing. Doing the c:/windows/inf trick didn't work. But a later comment about usb.inf being missing caused me to check and sure enuf, that file was missing on my Win XP SP2 box. Very strange since I never deleted it...who knows where it went? I copied the usb.inf file from another XP box on my network, and voila, the new mouse and keyboard transceiver booted up just fine. So many thanks for the thread and the tips. Got my new hardware to run fine. After spending days Googleing for a similar problem (nothing on the Desktop 7000 transceiver driver issue), finally I found this page by searching only for the mouse. You would think that Microsoft would have posted something about this issue? Oh....I guess that would presume a level of competence that they have not shown in decades. But I must say, Windoze sucks big time when it comes to such things. Why in the world the critical usb.inf file went AWOL is beyond me. As a techie, I would have never deleted it. Funny thing....I had plugged the transceiver into my laptop to see if the hardware worked. The mouse and keyboard came up instantly. What is amusing about that is that Windoze XP was crashing constantly on my laptop a year or so ago, which was unacceptable since I need it when I'm on the road, so I sh*tcanned Windows (after preserving a bootable image as a VMWare virtual machine first) and replaced it with Ubuntu Linux. No stoopid usb.inf problems on Ubuntu Linux. It just worked when plugged in. How amusing is that? The world would be a better place if more clueless users, constantly afflicted with trojans, viruses and spyware targeted at Windoze, converted to Ubuntu! 'nuff said. Thanks!

Hi Dear, Copy the old driver files from the un-updated version of xp to the fully updated version. The files and locations are below:- (Storage volumes\\Generic volume) C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\volsnap.sys (USB Mass Storage Device) C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\usbstor.sys Please let me know if it worked.. on my email id. Anand.. talent_anand {at} yahoo {dot} com

Thanks C:\windows\inf info worked great.

*bow down* thank you SOOO much, this fix worked just fine, just pointing it at the INF folder seemed to work!

I resolved this problem too. I also think I have an explanation. C:\WINDOWS\inf\USBSTOR.INF is really a cabinet file, but the lower-case named version isn't. If you install WinRAR, copy USBSTOR.INF to your desktop from C:\WINDOWS\inf, rename that USBSTOR.INF to USBSTOR.CAB, open it in WinRAR, extract usbstor.inf to the desktop, then copy usbstor.inf into C:\WINDOWS\inf, it will fix the problem. I just unplugged and replugged in my USB device without rebooting. I don't like downloading system files from websites as some of the other posters mentioned. At the very least, you should try to restore it from the Windows XP installation disc. Just make sure to check if it is a cabinet file or not. If there is gibberish in the file, then it is a cabinet file. It should be human readable text. Also, note that the XP Installation CD may call the file USBSTOR.IN_ ...but, in my opinion, they should have really named it because it is a cabinet file. As I've already said, when extracted, the contents should be usbstor.inf which of course belongs in C:\WINDOWS\inf. I'm guessing the reason this affects so many people is that this was a bug in one of the service packs. It is because it looks like the file is there, but it is really a cabinet file and not the real file. Also, there is a distinction between the lower case version and the upper case version. That's another clue. So, that's how MS QA probably missed this bug. One more thing. I applied all updates for each service pack in order before upgrading to the next service pack. I get strange results sometimes if I just jump to the latest service pack. I'm hoping this is not a side effect of my traditional installation procedure.

Hundreds of thank you since 2006... Yet another BIG THANK YOU 2009 :) The c:\windows\inf put me in the right direction. And this last reply fixed my problem: C:\WINDOWS\inf\USBSTOR.INF is really a cabinet file, but the lower-case named version isn't. If you install WinRAR, copy USBSTOR.INF to your desktop from C:\WINDOWS\inf, rename that USBSTOR.INF to USBSTOR.CAB, open it in WinRAR, extract usbstor.inf to the desktop, then copy usbstor.inf into C:\WINDOWS\inf, it will fix the problem. I just unplugged and replugged in my USB device without rebooting. Nabil L. Rabat, Morocco

After spending half day googling for this problem, you just saved my life. What I did was I extracted USBSTOR.INF from i386 folder to temp folder. Then restarted in command prompt mode and replaced c:\windows\inf\usbstor.inf with the one in temp folder. It works like magic. THANK YOU, CHRIS!!!!

Is it just me that cant find the c:\windows\inf folder? Im running SP3 and am desperate to sort this problem :(

Chris I cannot thank you enough. After hours of searching for a solution as to why my Gericom 250 GB USB External Drive was not detected on my XP Home machine I stumbled onto your blog. For some reason not all the folders were set to show hidden files and it seems that the Gericom drive (Seagate) works above the lowest system level and doesn't kick-in unless all the relevent files are unhidden which Microsoft "don't recommend". I haven't tried this with Vista yet but it may explain why the device was not recognized. Thanks again Tony White

You're welcome and good luck with Vista!

My usbprint.inf file was missing. I just replaced it from another pc and it worked fine. Thanks for the advice.

Its a hidden folder, go to Tools, Folder options, View and untick hide protected operating system files and put a dot in show hidden files and folders.

thank you so much Chris! I've been searching for a solution to this problem since June of 2007. I was about to give up and buy a new computer because it is impossible to do anything with out a USB device. I have no idea what caused new USB devices to be unrecognizable but it would help if you ever find the reason or the source of this issue to post it here so we can all learn not to do it to our next pc. I dont know if it is caused by the xp service pack as it was suggested by a person on your blog but it is crazy if microsoft's update is causing this. Also, if you ever find a solid solution to this please post it. one last thing, I did the windows\inf thing you mentioned above but even after the install is copmleted, the window "found new device" still pops up. I pressed cancel and tested my device, it works but is that normal? Did I miss a step? Anyhow, just wanted to simply say THANK YOU! Here you are 3 years later still saving people from going nuts over this issue. Cheers, Shannon from Los Angeles

Did you everf do a line by line comparison of the two INF directories to wee what was different?

Thank you! I've been trying to install a new wireless keyboard & mice combo set with a USB receiver almost a month now. In the process I realized that I can't install any new USB device. I've updated all my USB devices many time in different order, I've tried to fix my registry and I've run all kinds of diagnostics I could find. Today I googled to this url, and reading the conversation I finally realized, that the usb.inf was missing from %SystemRoot%\inf. So I downloaded a new usg.inf from and saved it to my inf -folder. After that I could install my new keyboard and every other USB device I could find! So simple solution! Now I must find something else to do in the evenings... Spacedisk

Thanks Matt, this one saved me from reinstalling windows!

Hi ! Thanks for your post !!! After several hours of trials, I notice also that usb.inf was missing... I copied it from another XP machine and my USB concentrator works again!!! -Gilles

OMG, just PERFECT! Not sure what happened, but my XP SP3 Dell laptop would not recognize / install a generic USB (flexible) keyboard and after doing MUCH searching online, I came here and found that there was NO usb.inf file in my Windows\inf directory.

Upon reading a preceding post and going here;

" There is a copy of USB.inf in this attachment link, just download and unzip it and copy it to the INF folder if you need it. "

Downloaded, unzipped usb.inf file and copied it to my Windows\INF directory, Voila~! Keyboard installed right away using the Found New Hardware Wizard. Still not sure where usb.inf went to, but now all is well. Thanks everyone~! :-)

i too have had this problem for over a year. but my usbstor.inf file seems to be intact. the file is there, in lower case letters, and is a readable file in english. however, i am still not seeing a correction. can't connect my phone, my flip video, my bluetooth, or mp3 player. any other ideas?

Hey, I just dad to do a system restore and now when I plug in my data stick sport 4gb thumbstick the message comes up that says ths device has malfunctioned and windows does not recognize it. I tried following the tips on the page, but got to a SP3 cabinet file instead of SP2. Like some of the other people said when I tried searching for drivers it didn't find anything. My other external hard drive still works and I was wondering if the thumbstick might have crashed

thank you thank you thank you thank you! I was on day 2 of trying Safe Mode and messing with UpperFilter and LowerFilter in USB-related Class entries in the registry and searching on the error messages: "Cannot install this hardware" "the wizard cannot find the necessary software" ..all to no avail. All I was trying to do was connect a USB2.0 Hub Controller to my system (which was being recognized as exactly that) but the hardware installation wizard couldn't install the driver which was supposed to be already supplied by Windows XP (SP3 in my case). The problem was for some reason the files usb.inf and usb.pnf had vanished from my WINDOWS/INF directory. Copied them over from another XP SP3 system and ... SUCCESS! Three days ago everything was fine .. I was using a USB hub. Yesterday .. ?? .. it just quit. Today .. I'm back in business. I only found this because I gave up on searching for the error messages and searched only on "usb hub" "cannot install". Thanks a million!

hey just a thought read all the posts regarding usb problems, my wife bought a centon datastick-sport to download photos, got message etc , I remembered we had similar problem with ipod and usb ( the solution was to disconnect the hp deskjet d2545 which is a pos and power hog) tried that for the data stick voila problem solved

Somehow the USB.INF file had vanished too from the windows/inf directory. Tried to get it working for several days. I just put the USB.INF file back, from an other PC, and 'Voila' is works!!! Thanks!! Great Post!

Hello, I had the same issue and fixed by doing this : 1° Copy from another windows XP installation the usb*.inf files to windows/inf folder 2° Went to hardware manager and delete the unknow usb device 3° Plug the usb device back and when ask for driver select install from specific folder and choose windows/inf folder The issue is due to missing usb.inf and other inf files that windows uses to recognize usb device, this can occur after virus problem... Ciao and good luck. Manuel

Here is still one more "many thanks" for the suggestion to point a sick USB device at the Win/INF folder. My Logitech USB mouse had stopped working for no apparent reason. None of my 3 spares from other makers would work either, I was baffled. Finally found this tip and it fixed it immediately, Yay ! Not only that, I also used it to fix an APC battery backup supply that was never recognized properly. I have a clean Device Manager for the first time in years. Don't know what caused it, perhaps a new M$oft patch, who knows what, and don't care either. Charlie Boulder, COLO

PLZ guys a little help from you, would be perfect. I get this error: "Cannor Install this hardware" then "C-Media USB Headphone set" I tried to find C:\WINDOWS\inf, still same error - Replacing all the INF files from a 2 working pc's, no help - Downloading all the USB inf's from this site, and replace, no luck The heaphone works great on the other 2 pc's but not mine, it wont install it. What should i do? is there a usb audio inf that is missing or what. Im stuck guys

Hi guys, don't know how old this topic is, but i had the same issue. I recently changed my computers case and basically some of the leads that connect the power, audio jacks, USB and LED's on the fron of the machine were different to the ones I had on my old case. So basically at first it was working absolutely fine, not a problem, I plugged my HSDPA mobile net dongle in and the first time it said not recognised, failed to install etc. After that it worked fine, just had a little episode I guess, but after that I plugged my sony ericsson ccr-60 in and thats when the troubles started, so heres the fix I came up with. Before plugging the USB device in, open the device manager and drop the tree where your USB hubs are listed, in there whatever is plugged into port 1 for instance will change to the name of the device in it. I did this, Windows failed to recognize my device but the device manager continued to refresh and within seconds the devices names were listed and allowed me access to them Hope this helps, I can tell there has been some uproar over it lol.

perfect this worked for me thanks

Matt! That is it! Looked in C:\Windows\inf: it was almost empty. Copied in the inf directory from another Windows XP SP3 machine. Problem solved (after removing and reinserting every USB device including hubs. Thanks a million Jeremy

Thanks guys,

My mum had this problem on her NEC laptop after installing software provided with a Samsung mobile phone.

After following everything in this tread this is the one that worked (as submitted 7 July 08);en-us;810509

Thanks to all of those who submitted solutions, certainly saves a lot of headaches.


Thank you, thank you, thank you. Works with SP3 as well - and you may want to "hide" the new INF folder in the folder's properties.

THANKS GUYS! :-) Problem: Microsoft USB Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 fails to install in Windows XP. Solution: Copy usb.pnf and usb.inf ( C:\WINDOWS\inf ) from a working Windows XP install(1) to your C:\WINDOWS\inf directory. (1) I created a virtual machine with a fresh Windows XP install and copied the respective files from there.

On my XP (SP3) i started getting the problem that standard USB devices popped up the "new hardware found" dialog and then failed to install correctly. Pointing the wizard to c:\windows\inf did not make a difference either. It was driving me insane. After reading post here i checked and i was missing the usb.inf file in c:\windows\inf (did not even bother to go into safe mode). I just copied it from another xp sp3 machine and suddenly life was good again. Thank you to everyone whose comments helped me out. Cheers Bok UK

If there are no missing file files in the c:\windows\inf directory and you don't want to do the c:\windows\inf fix for every device you connect you can edit this registry setting which is usually corrupted by some badly written installation program : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Registry key: DevicePath and write this value if it doesn't exist: %SystemRoot%\Inf Use ; if you have other entries and you want to keep them, like: %SystemRoot%\Inf;c:\logitechmouse;c:\hp-printer; For more information look at this microsoft article "" at the "Existing Windows Installations" section. Every new windows installation has only the above key. If you don't know how to backup - edit windows registry don't try to do anything of the above solutions.