Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you a
Computer / IT professional?
Join Tek-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Tek-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here


USB Printer not detected

USB Printer not detected

USB Printer not detected


I've been trying to install a USB printer on to a Windows XP PC. Sounds easy, and indeed, it is something I have done hundreds of time (I'm an engineer and this is a customers PC). Software & driver installs fine, but when it prompted for the printer to be connected, the Windows 'bubble' said it was an unrecognised device. Since then, it won't detect it at all. The device manager shows no unknown hardware, or errors.

I've uninstalled and reinstalled the software frequent times. It's a HP printer and they provide a thorough uninstall utility (it's called scrubber) to handle this very problem. You can see it removing all files and registry entries, but it makes no difference.

Interesting point though, is that since the first time the software was run, it skips the detecting printer section, implying it's already there. There's an option to "add additional device", but this acts like normal and can't detect a device. I'm very confused!

I've removed and reinstalled the USB ports, tested them with other devices (all ok), deleted registry entries manually in Safe Mode, and so on. Still no luck. Printer has been tested ok on another PC.

HP have come up with an unusual suggestion that I haven't had chance to try, but I can't comprehend why it would help: they suggest that if the PC has USB 2.0 ports, to connect the printer through a USB 1.1 hub; however, if the PC has USB 1.1, install a USB 2.0 port.

The printer is a USB 2.0 device, but even if the PC is only 1.1, I'd expect it to install and work, albeit perhaps with warnings. Any opinions, suggestions, etc? :)

Just for information, the printer is a HP OfficeJet K550. The PC is a Fujitsu of fairly decent specification (haven't checked for details yet) certainly far more than the HP minimum requirements.

Cheers,  Jon

RE: USB Printer not detected

Hi Jon,

You're right about a USB 2 device plugged into a USB 1 port. It will still work. XP will even tell you what you have done (2.0 device into a 1.0 port). XP will check for 2.0 ports, and if there aren't any, it lets you know and usually allows the device to still operate.

It's slick to install a printer with the CD Auto Play, because then you can install, at the same time, the ink monitor, tool box, upgrade, and maybe a user manual. Have you tried going to Control Panel/Printers and Scanners and install your printer from there? You may have already loaded all of the extras successfully; you just need to get the printer onto the system.

Try going to Control Panel/Printers and Scanners, and if your printer is shown, right-click on it and go into Properties. Now click 'Print Test Page.' If the test page is printed, then you probably don't have a USB problem; it's something else.



Blow the dust from your computer outside, it's mostly skin dust. A clean computer is a cool computer.

RE: USB Printer not detected


I meant to write 'Printers and Faxes' under 'Control Panel.' Not 'Printers and Scanners.'



Take your computer outdoors when blowing out the dust; it's mostly skin dust. A clean computer is a cool computer.

RE: USB Printer not detected

Hi Kemisco,

Cheers for the reply, but no, there is definitely no printer in the usual folder. Well, except for a network printer, which does work proving there isn't anything wrong with the Windows spooler system.

I know what you mean about the auto-installs. Normally I avoid them, but this being a customers PC they want all the bells and whistles! That said, I did uninstall it and attempt to add it via control panel.

The core problem is that Windows doesn't react to the new hardware on any obvious level. No unknown devices, not even a flutter of disk activity, which you often get as you plug in a USB device.

I've had similar problems before, because Windows uses a virtual printer port for USB (DOT4 etc), it won't recognise the printer state if there is any sort of corruption. But a clean install solves that almost every time.

RE: USB Printer not detected

Empty all the temp files and caches on the computer. I had this problem once - the install was reading part of the "setup" file on the CD. It was also reading part of a "setup" file in the cache! Talk about conflict.

RE: USB Printer not detected

I think I have done, but I'll have another look. It certainly makes sense, so cheers! Windows can hide temp files in all sorts of places.

RE: USB Printer not detected

If the printer is not being detected correctly check both ends of the USB cable to ensure they are firmly attached.  Do not have the cable connected to a USB hub or other device. If possible, try using an alternate USB cable that has been tested with another device and is known to work correctly.  Ensure the USB cable is connected to a port on the BACK of the computer if possible as some ports on the front of the computer do not neccessarily supply the amount of power that is needed for printers.

Check the Device Manager listing to ensure the printer is showing up.  To do this power the printer on and right click the My Computer icon on your computer then left click Properties.  Select the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button.  Are there any listings displayed with a question mark or exclamation mark?  Is USB Printing Support listed under the Universal Serial Bus Controllers section?  You may need to click the plus sign beside this listing to expand the category tree.

If the printer is listed with an exclamation mark or question mark, right click the printer and click Remove, then select Action from the top of the window and select Scan For Hardware Changes.  This should 'find' the printer again and the drivers should be reloaded successfully.

If the printer is listed correctly, try selecting the printer properties (browse to the printer window, right click the printer and select Printing Preferences) and clickc the Ports tab.  Ensure the port that is selected is USBPRN01.

I hope this helps!

RE: USB Printer not detected

Hi PCblondie,

Thank you for taking the time to reply, but if you read my original message, you'll see that I checked the device manager, USB ports, tested the printer on another PC (with the same cable), and tested other USB devices on this one. I'm afraid it isn't that simple!

I'm away from work at the moment, so one of my colleagues has hopefully solved this by now. If not, I still need to verify the temp files suggested by Micker377. That's about the only idea I've got at the moment! Unless you give HP any credit, who say use a 1.1 hub, but I think that's rubbish.

RE: USB Printer not detected

HP has a weird way of installing printers.  on some printers you have to install the software BEFORE you even plug the printer in.  then once you install from the CD you have to shut down the PC, plug the printer in, bot back up and finish the install process.

before you do all of this you MUST clean any hints of the previous install from the registry and devices folders.

i like HP printers but they have never been user friendly to install.

RE: USB Printer not detected

I'd say that's true for almost all HPs printers. And you're right about having to clean the previous install, but that is why HP provide 'scrubber', which does exactly that. However, it doesn't make any difference!

RE: USB Printer not detected

I had a problem with an HP that wouldn't get detected.  Turned out to be the USB cable, which had a short end that didn't quite make connection.  Replaced with one that had over 1/4" and it was detected.

2006 Microsoft Most Valueable Professional (MVP)
2006 Dell Certified System Professional (CSP)

RE: USB Printer not detected

Wonderful, flippin' HP. I have a Officejet 7110 multi function device.

First time I installed it, no problem. All the software installed fine.  (Can't remeber why but) I need to reinstall the device. Did the uninstall thing. Deleted the HP folders, etc. Then attempted to re-install the device. Nothing happened. Was very frustrating. Eneded up manually removing all HP entries from the registry, then used my fav tool to clean the registry and hard drive. That seem to work.

I now generally go thru the system registry manualy after deleting software/drivers/etc to make sure they really are removed and to help eliminate such problems.

RE: USB Printer not detected

It looks like it's been a few days, was you issue ever resolved?  If so, share the wealth!  I'm having a similar problem with and HP all in one, only mine shows up everywhere and the scanner works.  My issue is the virtual printer port was not installed.  This unfortunatly wasn't just an HP problem, I had this issue with the last printer I had.  Oddly my last printer was happy using "USB003 Local Port"  The HP is not so happy.  Anyway, I'm hoping to glean some info off of you in the hopes that at something will help.

RE: USB Printer not detected

A contact at HP has found me a document detailing a possible solution. Unfortunately, this printer is on a customers site some distance away, so it's difficult to just get on and try these things. Very frustrating!

I will post you the link to the same information tomorrow, then at least you can try it while I still might not get to it  for a few days. Watch this space...

RE: USB Printer not detected

AAAAAHHHHH, I found it!  I have no idea if this is your problem or not, but since it is very similar, actually almost the same I will tell you what I found.  I was missing the registery key for the usb print monitor.  Meaning, even if I tried to intall the printer manually I still couldn't install the printer on a usb port.  So for anyone stumbling onto this page, try looking at your registery.  

Start/Run/Regedit/HKEY local machine/system/controlset001(002 or 003, and current controlset, check them all!!!)/control/print/monitors.  

Please be very careful in the registery, if you deleted something, it isn't in the recycle bin!  There should be a key(folder) named USB Monitor, mine was missing!  This key has a string value that points to usbmon.dll, which is what recognizes usb printers, and installs the "virtual printer port for USB"!  I'm so excited I can't stand it.....sorry, I've put a lot of time into this, I can't believe I finally fixed it.  So if you are missing this key I would suggest finding a computer running you version of windows, going to the same registery key and exporting it to a floppy, thumbdrive, whatever.  Then install it on your system.  Najemikon, if you haven't fixed your problem yet I hope this helps.

RE: USB Printer not detected

I can understand you being excited! Unfortunately I've had to just pass on the details to our customer. It could be some time before I hear back if this works, but it's very very promising.

It makes sense. I'm sure if our printer was an all-in-one like yours, the scanner would be working despite the printer. So I'm marking your post anyway; we know it works, because it helped you! If I don't get back to this thread for a while, thanks anyway for the potential fix which is more than I have now... ;)

RE: USB Printer not detected

1) get a USB 2 card. Cheap, and solves a lot.
2) I have had similar problems with other usb devices. Dollars to doughnuts your port is attached to a hub. This can be the deal breaker, as the hub often does not supply the power necessary for the connection or to run the equipment (Printers have their own power chord..none the less...)

Try to connect the printer directly to the USB port (just disconnect everything else.

Might just work.

RE: USB Printer not detected

i cant seem to find the usb monitor folder in the regedit but i dont know how to go about adding it or where to find it at any suggestions funk45?

RE: USB Printer not detected

I did some looking in the reg on a working machine and I think you'll actually have to have it in all three (or however many ControlSets you have). For each ControlSet go to the place that funk has described /control/print/monitors and add a new key and call it 'USB Monitor'. Then click on the folder that comes up and add a new String value. Give it a name of 'Driver' and give it a value of 'usbmon.dll'. That's basically what funk said. Remember, you'll probably have to do it to *all* ControlSets. Hope this helps.

RE: USB Printer not detected

Hey Derick, sorry about not being as clear as I should have been, but I was on cloud nine when I wrote that....Anyway, my suggestion would be to follow the path I mentioned on a working computer, be careful, as I mentioned you can't undo a deleted key!  Highlight the folder USB Monitor and then click the "Registry" tab at the top of the window, select "export registry file".  Save it and transfere it to your computer, then double click the file.  You will be asked if you want to import (or add, install, whatever...I don't remember the exact verbage) the Registy value.  Of course you do, then go into your registry and make sure the  key is there.  As Vector mentioned you will need to export and copy keys for all of the control sets you have.  There could be some differences between the computer you have and the computer you are copying.  You can create your own key, and match the values as Vector explained.   If you are still a bit wary about doing this I'll throw out my working, spam free email, so I respectfully request no one subscribes me to tons of porn sites.  


We can swap phone #'s, registry files, whatever it takes to get you up and running.  I know how frustrating this problem can be.  If you try calling Dell, HP, Gateway, and their answer will always be re-install, my dad did that without asking me a day after I figured this out(different component, still missing reg value).  So feel free to contact me, I know there is zero documentation for this fix on the Internet.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Tek-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Tek-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Tek-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Tek-Tips and talk with other members!

Close Box

Join Tek-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical computer professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Tek-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close