Garmin nüvi 50LM GPS: Nothing a reboot won’t fix

My Garmin nüvi 50LM GPS device is my first such gadget and I absolutely love it. Not only it’s extremely accurate, but it’s easy to use and navigate with.

It also came with free ‘lifetime’ map updates. Not too shabby for under $150.

Everything was cool until it was time for me to update the maps.

I had to install a browser plugin that could not identify my device when connected to USB.

Downloaded the USB drivers, but no device was found. Tried Firefox, IE and Chrome; each one would install the plugin but the device’s presence was thinner than ether.

Then I had an epiphany, having browsed the Garmin web site for about 30 minutes, and decided to reboot the device. By that, I mean reset it to factory settings.

So one has to hold down the bottom right point of the screen, then power it up. When prompted to delete all settings, I answered ‘yes’.

As if by magic, my device was recognized upon connecting it to the USB port and the maps were soon downloaded and installed. I could not find a single reference to this method so I thought I’d share my findings after all.


  1. I have the same GPS unit – best one I’ve ever used. Never had the issue you did (no problems getting maps updated) but if you had this problem a few others undoubtedly have too, so this could be a big help. When I have a problem with a computer or electronic device I put a few words about the problem in Google and it almost always finds a relevant page where another user details a fix (as this page will now do).

  2. Ron – What are the odds? 😀

  3. “What are the odds?”

    I would say pretty good. Great minds think alike 🙂

  4. Florida Phil says

    I also have a Garmin Nuvi 50LM not recognized by Garmin Express. In fact, none of my 4 computers would see it either when I plugged it in. Your solution to erase the device (as painful as it is to lose all my saved destinations) was the fix. The Nuvi 50LM was instantly recognized and both map update and firmware updates were immediately initiated.

    Thank you for your post.

  5. Phil – I’m glad searching Google did what it’s supposed to do for a change 😀 You’re welcome, and enjoy the updated GPS.

  6. Awesome. That’s the fix. Thanks a bunch.

  7. Jamie – Glad you found the post useful and resolved the issue 🙂

  8. you could’ve skipped this. Mine doesn’t recognize it my 50LM either. However, when I go into “info” it shows that the version of maps is NT 2013.10 which means it updated the maps anyway! so why reboot and lose everything?

  9. rob – This post is from a year ago, I’m sure they made changes to the software since then.

  10. I’ve spent numerous hours trying to update mine. I’m about to try it on a Windows 8 Surface Pro 2. Could someone remind what the secret “touches” are. Like if you start the device while holding the upper left of the screen and the like.


  11. Easy Bins – Just for the Garmin, you press down on the bottom right corner of its screen, while rebooting the device, unconnected to the power. Not sure what you’re referring to with regards to the Surface Pro 2.

  12. Colin Hegarty says

    wish I had found this post a couple of hours ago, very helpful and worked a treat.

    thank you for your post

  13. Just got a used one off ebay, and this is EXACTLY what I needed. Still relevant 5 years later. Thanks if you ever see this.

  14. A Dude – I’m glad this article helped you! I still have the Garmin nüvi 50LM and it works perfectly, although I must admit that I use my phone and Google maps 🙂

  15. Same happened to me, reset to factory default – and everything was solved. Thanks!

Speak Your Mind