Identify Unknown Devices on Windows 10 and 11 PCs

Identify Unknown Devices Il unknown device problem it has always been one of the more difficult ones to solve on Windows PCs, even if it occurs much less frequently in the latest versions.

This error occurs when the Windows system cannot recognize what kind of hardware device has been connected to the computer. For example, such a problem can occur if you connect a USB stick and it is not recognized. The consequence of this error is the impossibility of being able to load the driver, ie the software, to manage it and to be able to use it.

In the following guide we will show you how identify unknown devices on Windows 10 and 11 PCsso you can resume using the device or peripheral not recognized by the driver system integrated in Windows.

READ ALSO: Solutions to errors on USB ports and flash drives that are not recognized or impossible to use

1) Use Windows Update

The first method to identify unknown devices is to use Windows Update, so as to immediately receive the missing driver directly from Microsoft servers. To proceed we open the Start menu, search for Windows Update and let’s open up Windows Update settings (o Check for updates).

In the new window we look for new Windows updates and, if there are downloadable drivers, we proceed without delay, so as to immediately identify unknown devices. Alternatively we right click on the Start menu, we open the menu Device managementright-click on the unknown device, press on Update driverswe select the item Automatically search for drivers and then press on Check for updated drivers in Windows Update.

To learn more, we can read our guide on how Troubleshoot Windows Update if it doesn’t download or find updates.

2) Use troubleshooter

Another very effective method to solve a hardware problem of an unknown device is to use it windows troubleshooter.

To proceed we open the Start menu, search for Problem resolutions and let’s open up Settings Troubleshooting. From this menu we can immediately view the solution to driver problems and try to solve them automatically; alternatively we can also open the menu Other troubleshooting tools and try one of the tools present (such as for example Printer, Bluetooth e Network carddepending on the type of device).

3) Use an automatic driver program

Those in a hurry and lacking the experience to identify drivers themselves can identify unknown devices on Windows 10 and 11 PCs using a free, automatic program like Driver Booster.

Launching this program will scan the system, looking for missing drivers and drivers for unknown devices: the program will offer the download and immediate installation of the missing drivers, without user intervention (who only has to restart the PC after the driver installation is complete).

To learn more, we can read our guide on how Update Windows PC Drivers Automatically.

4) Identify and download drivers manually

If none of the previous methods work, you just have to act the “old way”, ie identifying the hardware ID of the unknown device and looking for the drivers on some reliable online site.

To proceed, press the right button on the Start menu, open the menu Device managementright click on the unknown device (with yellow triangle), press on the menu Propertywe select the tab Detailschoose the item from the drop-down list ID Hardware and copy the identification code on the screen (something like acpi\ven_1002&dev_33a0).

After obtaining this code we can search for it directly on Google or on the following sites:

  • DriverPack
  • Driver Indentifier

On the first site, just press the button Download ZIP to download the driver immediately, while on the second site we will have to download the driver at the bottom of the page (if there are more drivers, choose the one from the motherboard or laptop manufacturer).

To learn more, we can read our guide on how to download the right drivers in case of unknown device.


With the methods seen above we will certainly be able to identify unknown devices on Windows 10 and 11 PCsusing Windows Update and the tools integrated into the system to immediately find the right drivers and restore any problems to old peripherals or devices connected to the computer at that precise moment.

If the integrated methods do not work we can always use Driver Booster to find new drivers automatically or start searching for drivers manually, retrieving the hardware ID and searching directly on Google or on one of the sites listed above.

To learn more we can read the guides on how see the list of drivers installed on the PC and about how download updated drivers to install safely.


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