Fix Yellow Exclamation Mark on USB Devices in Windows

USB devices work great in Windows but when they stop working, they make you really frustrated and angry. And yesterday it finally happened to me too. I plugged in my WiFi USB dongle into the USB port of my desktop PC and nothing happened. The USB device was not being recognized by Windows at all. First I opened the networking settings from the Windows Control Panel and later I ended up looking at the Device Manager. In the Device Manager, the WiFi USB dongle was listed but it had a yellow exclamation mark on it – meaning it is either not working or not working properly. Clearly this is due to some driver mess made by some third party software, but fortunately it can be fixed easily. The solution works invariably in Windows 7, Windows 8.x and Windows 10.

  1. Plug in the USB device you are having problems using in Windows PC to any of the USB ports.
  2. Open the device manager by pressing the hotkey Win+R, typing in devmgmt.msc and pressing Enter.
  3. Find your device with the yellow exclamation icon over it, right-click on it and choose Uninstall. The device will disappear from the list in the device manager.Fix Yellow Exclamation USB Devices
  4. Do not unplug the USB device. Click on the Scan for hardware changes icon in the device manager. This will detect your USB device once again and re-install it for you. Hopefully, your device should start working at this moment.Fix Yellow Exclamation USB Devices

If the device still shows the yellow exclamation mark over it in the Device Manager, then download USBDeview from Nirsoft website. Unplug your USB device first, then launch USBDeview with administrator privileges. Locate your USB device, right-click on it and select Uninstall selected devices.

Fix Yellow Exclamation USB Devices

Reboot your PC and try using your USB device once again. If this does not fix the problem, then perhaps the USB devices drivers are messed up. Now the only sure way of fixing things is to refresh Windows or perform a System Restore rollback.