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  • Decoding a vague “Unknown Device” error

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Decoding a vague “Unknown Device” error

    This topic contains 23 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  geekdom 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

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    • #1879398 Reply

      Tracey Capen
      AskWoody MVP

      LANGALIST By Fred Langa When device problems arise, Windows often produces frustratingly vague error messages. That makes it difficult to know which d
      [See the full post at: Decoding a vague “Unknown Device” error]

    • #1879403 Reply

      anonymous

      I got a few chuckles out of this article, Fred. It reminded me of the time when I tried to work out what an obscure error code meant.
      It was some time ago and I can’t remember the specifics of hardware and software. I think it was an error code in an IBM MVS core dump, probably around 1983. Let’s say that the error code was 3124. Deep in the bowels of the operating system manuals, I found an explanation. “An error of type 3124 has occurred.”
      Totally accurate, but totally useless.

      • #1882536 Reply

        tonyl
        AskWoody Lounger

        I got a few chuckles out of this article, Fred. It reminded me of the time when I tried to work out what an obscure error code meant.
        It was some time ago and I can’t remember the specifics of hardware and software. I think it was an error code in an IBM MVS core dump, probably around 1983. Let’s say that the error code was 3124. Deep in the bowels of the operating system manuals, I found an explanation. “An error of type 3124 has occurred.”
        Totally accurate, but totally useless.

        You’re in good company, and it’s topical at the moment.

        Try googling “1202 error”.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        b
    • #1879418 Reply

      mn–
      AskWoody Lounger

      Oh and then there was that one server that output a single texts string, consistently:

      u knonnwi tnreur p

      In the end, turned out that this apparently wasn’t an error message per se, but consistent garbage output when that one motherboard error condition happened.

    • #1879506 Reply

      Rick Corbett
      AskWoody_MVP

      For this type of issue I’ve always found Nir Sofer’s free/portable USBDeview to be very helpful.

      The error gives the USB port in question and USBDeview –  if it doesn’t show the actual device name then should show the Vendor and Product ID details… which can then be checked at PCI Lookup for info about the manufacturer.

      usd-deview-venprod-id

      USBDeview is also invaluable when it comes to removing the list of ‘remembered’ devices without having to open the Registry Editor… particularly when you have registry corruption and garbled entries in the ‘Device Name’ column.

      Hope this helps…

      Attachments:
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1881352 Reply

        geekdom
        AskWoody Plus

        Use this little program with caution lest you remove necessary devices.

        Group G{ot backup} Win7Pro · x64 · SP1 · i3-3220 · TestBeta
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1888401 Reply

          geekdom
          AskWoody Plus

          The good news is that I unravelled some printer confusion and then reinstalled printer drivers, associated printer software, and reset printer preferences.

          Group G{ot backup} Win7Pro · x64 · SP1 · i3-3220 · TestBeta
      • #1883108 Reply

        anonymous

        ? says:

        thanks Rick C for spotlighting another great Nir tool! infinitely better than “set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1”, and “start devmgmt.msc”

    • #1880232 Reply

      ibe98765
      AskWoody Lounger

      Don’t forget that you can also customize the columns in the filename window.  One available column is “File extension”.  With this column showing, you can then sort your filenames by the extension.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1880462 Reply

      anonymous

      One thing Fred didn’t mention re the issue of not showing file extension by default is that some malware (spread by emails etc.) take advantage of this. A malicious file could, for example, be called safetextfile.txt.exe or even safetextfile.exe and given notepad’s icon. With no extension showing it wouldn’t be clear that you aren’t opening a simple text file.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1885745 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Rumor has long held that Steve Ballmer infected Bill Gates by sending him an email with an attachment called ILOVEYOU.VBS. If Gates had been able to see the “VBS” filename extension, he probably would’ve hesitated before clicking on it.

    • #1882424 Reply

      rc primak
      AskWoody_MVP

      Great responses in this thread so far!

      Let me add one more reason even home users might want to know file extensions. File Type Associations can get broken in Windows 10. (I got hit by two updates bugs, and an upgrade = Feature Update bug related to this issue.)

      Without knowing which file extensions are associated with which apps, it’s harder to track down an error condition where the Windows 10 settings panes are messed up due to a bad update or a partially failed upgrade.

      But I guess for casual Windows users, this would be a good time to visit your local PC tech (independent) or the Microsoft Store if there’s one nearby.

      -- rc primak

    • #1882440 Reply

      rc primak
      AskWoody_MVP

      I had a non-USB driver issue which resulted in a Unknown Device condition at startup. This one turned out to be in a sound driver conflict. The Device Manager and the Event Viewer showed that a Windows Driver had tried to overwrite an OEM driver in my “all-Intel” NUC PC.

      Well, this was when I downloaded the Intel Driver Update Assistant.

      It was not an Intel Driver. It was a Realtek driver for sound, with additional driver-related control software. Once I realized what MS Update had been doing, I vowed never again to let an upgrade or monthly CU pass without checking my OEM drivers for changes or updates from Intel. Even the Realtek Sound Driver Package.

      Realtek, along with NVidia, is notorious for putting out buggy or fragile drivers, which nearly every OS update or upgrade can break. Even in Linux or Mac OS.

      Sometimes you have to go to the source, using Device Manager and the Event Viewer as guides. Sometimes even this does not resolve the issue.

      This was not an older Windows 7 PC, BTW. It was Intel 6th Gen Skylake based, ca. 2015.  Windows 10 Pro from the very beginning. The Skylake NUC firmware or chipset microcode was also buggy, but that’s a different saga…

      (The blasted thing still won’t just shut down on the first try — dual-boot Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS and Windows 10 Pro 1809.  The second shutdown command usually works. Also, for some reason Windows Defender Offline (WDO) never completes on this PC. But all kinds of  upgrades and Windows CU reboots do work just fine. Go figure… )

      -- rc primak

      • #1882444 Reply

        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        Try stopping device driver updates using the following REG file:

        Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
        
        ; Update & Security - Windows Update - Automatic Driver Updates - DISABLE
        
        [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]
        "ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate"=dword:00000001
        
        

        If you ever want to revert the behaviour, use this:

        Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
        
        ; Update & Security - Windows Update - Automatic Driver Updates - ENABLE (default)
        
        [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]
        "ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate"=-
        
        

        This will delete just the entry/value pair created by the first REG file.

        Hope this helps…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1882477 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          Thanks, Rick!

          I’ll bookmark that advice. For now, the Intel Driver Support and Update Tool does the trick for me. Easier than going into the Windows Registry all the time.

          Easier still would be if MS Update didn’t keep throwing the whole kitchen sink down the chute every month. I have MS Update set to “Never offer drivers”. Fat lot of good that setting does! Even wushowhide doesn’t pick out the components of a CU. So, no warning, no defense.

          None of this will fix a hardware microcode flaw, however. That remains a mystery…

          -- rc primak

          • #1882616 Reply

            Rick Corbett
            AskWoody_MVP

            The first REG file I provided is the equivalent of the Windows Update setting of “Never offer drivers” so you may already have it set. I would check if I was you. However, if Windows Update is ignoring the setting then that’s a problem. From reading around it seems that it’s been a problem for Win 10 since 2016.

            There’s 2 more registry settings that I know of that affect how Windows Update works with drivers but I’m loathe to provide more details as it looks like MS have been fiddling with the values, i.e. what worked for 1709 stopped working for later versions. This is going off-topic as well so, if it’s still a problem, perhaps create new topic?

            Hope this helps…

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1882983 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      I am assuming here that CUs include driver updates.
      Does the reg setting keep the CU from installing driver updates?

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1884113 Reply

        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        @wavy – to be honest I didn’t know exactly so I did a test.

        A clean install of Windows 10 1903 on a Dell Latitude E7440 without the REG file merged shows 10 hardware drivers installed by Windows Update:

        reg-tweak-not-merged

        Next I did an identical clean install again and this time merged the REG file from USB before I allowed the laptop to go online.

        Settings showed that the policy was in place:

        reg-tweak-merged-message

        I kept updating until there were no updates left to install then checked WU history:

        reg-tweak-merged

        (I didn’t make a note of the previous 10 driver installs so I can’t tell which driver wasn’t installed this time.)

        So, I have an apology to make. This REG tweak no longer works with 1903… and I have absolutely no idea at which version it stopped working. 🙁

        I’m going to do another clean install with the other 2 REG tweaks I know of that affect driver updates within Windows Update.

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        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1884552 Reply

      Rick Corbett
      AskWoody_MVP

      I did another clean install and tried another REG setting that should prevent drivers from being installed via Windows Update.

      The REG file is as follows:

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
      
      ; Update & Security - Windows Update - Automatic device driver updates (Turn OFF)
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DriverSearching]
      "SearchOrderConfig"=dword:00000000
      

      You can read a little more about the setting in this “Windows Update Configured to never install drivers” Detected by Troubleshooter article.

      This registry tweak no longer works with 1903 either (and I’m back up to 10 hardware drivers installed by Windows Update… but not the Broadcom USH driver, which is still absent from Device Manager).

      I’m not going to bother with the third registry tweak I have as it only prevents the download of hardware metadata, i.e. if you have – for example – an HP printer then the OS identifies it and downloads a model-specific icon to display in ‘Device and Printers’.

      I’ve gone through *every* setting in Settings and it looks like there’s no longer any way to manually prevent hardware drivers from being included with Windows Update either.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1884754 Reply

        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks thats good to know errr actually bad to know, well bad but good to be forwarned. Maybe time to look into one of those driver recovery programs…. I think I have one bookmarked somewhere..

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1885176 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Rick –

        This is a GREAT one to post on the main blog page….

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1885209 Reply

          Rick Corbett
          AskWoody_MVP

          @woody – I don’t have the rights to create a topic on the main blog page. Just nick the content yourself… I don’t mind. 🙂

          It would be great if someone else could verify my findings. I’ve tried to be as descriptive as possible of each step I’ve carried out.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1884740 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      Rick thanks for the effort, seems like windows does what ever windows wants to do.
      I do manual updates security first and then CU a bit later. I did a quick look thru Device Manager and found no driver newer than 2017. I have the option set in settings to not do driver updates. I am using W10 1803 Pro 64 bit. I have a couple of reggie settings to stop windows from updating on its own. I always make sure the 2 relevant services are set to disabled. Generalizing from (or to) my results would be a leap. I did a manual update with June 26, 2019—KB4509478 (OS Build 17134.860) a couple of weeks ago.

      I am building a new computer this week (end??) and think I will just use the latest Media creation tool and let Windows update run its course for a week

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1884840 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      OOps just realized how far off topic we have wandered. In for a penny in for a pound..
      Does any one know of a driver update from June updates for an intel based computer???
      I will go back and double check what I have.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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