I have an old phone and I want to see if I can use adb in recovery mode on the device to mess around with the system, but when plugging the phone in after booting into recovery mode Windows immediately gives an error "the last usb device you connected to this computer malfunctioned and windows does not recognize it". I tried unplugging, plugging back in, the cable is fine, the phone works when booted normally and adb works fine and the computer recognises it. It just doesn't work in recovery mode.

It may be an issue with the usb driver in the recovery image but I don't know enough about Android so I have no good idea. I'm not sure if they shipped a phone that can't connect in recovery mode from the factory, but that would be weird. I like the stock recovery since it lets you backup and restore the /data partition to sd card.

I noticed when plugging it into a different port it sometimes shows up in device manager with an exclamation mark. For some reason it sometimes gets recognised but it automatically uses the driver "unknown usb device (device descriptor request failed)" so I assume there is some missing recovery mode driver for Windows. What driver am I supposed to use and where do I find it? I think it's a MediaTek made custom bootloader but I'm not sure.

I can't boot into fastboot mode, choosing fastboot on startup just freezes the phone forever until I pull out the battery or let the battery drain for hours. I can't remember fastboot ever working and I would also like to get that working like it should.

I am now getting the error "unknown usb device (device descriptor request failed)" even when just plugging it in being already booted.

  • What are you trying to do? If stock recovery has adb at all, then it is limited to abd sideload.
    – Robert
    Jun 5, 2023 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Concerning booting into fastboot mode, when the device is powered on and connected over adb, run "adb reboot bootloader" to enter into fastboot mode (that will turn off the phone and enter into fastboot) Run "fasboot devices" to verify that your devices is connected. You can leave fasboot by entering "fastboot reboot".

If your device isn't connecting over adb whiles it is powered on, try checking that USB debugging is enabled in settings.

Sorry, I couldn't ask for clarifications. If adb works when your phone is booted, then you should stick with that.

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