Things will always start to go slightly wrong with complex systems. It’s just a simple fact of life-related to the nature of entropy. Complex systems are constantly rattled by various forces in the world. And the end result is that without some maintenance they’ll start to fall apart. One often sees this principle in action when looking at a computer.

Computers are amazingly efficient devices. If anything, it’s almost mind-boggling that they’re as stable as they are these days. But remarkably stable for the circumstances is a very different thing from being stable as a rule. And most computers will have elements suddenly stop working. Thankfully this is often far easier to fix than one might imagine. In fact, one simple trick is often all it takes to fix things on Windows-based systems.

One begins by going into the Windows device manager. There are a few different ways for one to get into this management program. But the easiest method to do so is to simply right-click the start menu. From here one would simply pick Device Manager from the context menu. In this example, one might do best to consider a worst-case scenario. Imagine what might happen if no USB devices were working at all. They might still show a light when plugged in. But they won’t actually do anything. And one might also get an error message reading device not found. A device is not found windows error usually means that the system is detecting something trying to communicate with it but can’t figure out the correct method to do so.

As such, when one loads up the device manager after seeing a device not found Windows error than he’ll typically also see one or more items with a yellow triangle and exclamation mark. It’ll usually read something along the line of “Unknown Device”. One should double click that label before proceeding further. This will bring up another dialog box. It should have a label somewhere reading Device Status. After that, it will probably say something about the problems being reported.

From here one would click the Driver tab. And then a user would click the Uninstall button. This will remove the drivers which control the USB device. This is basically a lower-level system that handles communication between external and internal hardware.

Next, one will have to install working drivers. One should go back to the main Device Manager window. From here the user needs to pick Action, and then Scan for Hardware Changes. It will detect the fact that there are no longer any drivers for the device. And it’ll then prompt the user to install drivers. If there are any local drivers the system might decide to use them. But it’s also quite possible that the system might want to do a search in the operating systems online database. From here it might want to download new drivers. But these are typically quite small. It might range from the KB range to double-digit MB. But it will seldom be much larger unless it’s bundled with a larger update.

One shouldn’t need to repeat this process very often. But there are instances where it might continue to happen. If that is the case then it’s best to look for spyware or malware. These will usually show up in the control panel’s app manager as programs one doesn’t remember installing. They sometimes try to update the system on their own. And in doing so it’s not uncommon for them to overwrite device drivers. Uninstalling those problematic programs is usually enough to stop the problem from occurring again.