Windows 8 – USB Drivers Signature Issue

On Monday, I was trying to place a presentation on a USB drive on my Windows 8 machine, and after a several attempts (different ports and drives) I discover that the USB drivers in Device Manager all had issues.  I had no idea what had happened, as no matter what I did, they would not come back.

The following message was on each of them:

Windows cannot verify the digital signature for the drivers required for this device. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source. (Code 52)

I know the USB ports were working, as I have used them to transfer, restore data and apps.   In the end, I end up reinstalling Windows 8 and all of the applications, and I thought someone could benefit from my challenges, so I journal the process, the outcome, and a couple of best practices  I think I will follow. moving forward

The Troubleshooting Process

I uncovered the issue above mentioned, I began the investigation mode… I tried:

  1. Check if it is  hardware or software issue:    I changed the hard disk ( I always travel with a couple just in case) and booted into a Windows 7 install. The USB drives worked perfectly..  So no hardware issue found.  Reinstalled the Windows 8 drive, ad continued.
  2. Uninstall each of the drivers, and restart the computer –   Nothing happened, same error message displayed.
  3. Got the manufacturer’s Win7 drivers, and reinstalled, without success
  4. Performed a system restore point, back to about 1 week before, but that did not seem to work either.

Looked for a way to do a System Repair on Windows 8, but found that that tool/utility has been modified.  Although  it has been easier to use and setup, you need to have a source handy, and “some drivers may or may not be removed”, so I decided not to go this route…

Someone mentioned that would be best if, moving forward,  I use Custom Refresh Image, as I had not created a custom recovery image yet.

No good news were found:   Decided to re-installing the Windows 8 OS and applications, an effort that essentially took about 60 minutes from beginning to end, in a very busy day. I still have no idea what happened that made my USB drivers uncertified and unusable.

(PS – I end up providing my presentation to the coordinator on an SD card, which had not been affected by the USB shortage.


Lesson Learned / Best Practice to follow:

Two key ones:  

  • One thing I‘ve done for many years now,  is that I keep my data partition separately from my OS one.   This has saved my behind a number of times, as it is easy to reinstall the OS and simply mounting the data partition and voila!  we are back in business.  It is also much easier to backup.  This practice paid-off once more..
  • After completing the installation and configuration of the OS, and your desired applications,  create a Custom Recovery Image to restore Windows 8 to a desired state.   This tutorial from Windows Eight Forums will show you how step by step..
    I have tested the recovery procedure, and it works flawlessly which is nice.  I now have a current state of by c: \ drive stored as an img file that I can use at any time to restore the machine to that state.

Would love to hear what other best practices you may have to share

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