Upload failing ... sometimes

I'm using an UNO clone(needed the CH340 driver installed) and its mostly been working fine.
but every now and then, for no apparent reason that I can figure, it refuses to upload.
I check MS Device Manager and make certain that the IDE port setting is correct.
I've tried using 3 different USB ports (making certain the IDE knows which port to look for)
and sometimes it works fine and uploads as expected.
but other times I get this error :

Arduino: 1.8.12 (Windows 10), Board: "Arduino Uno"

Sketch uses 20940 bytes (64%) of program storage space. Maximum is 32256 bytes.
Global variables use 1354 bytes (66%) of dynamic memory, leaving 694 bytes for local variables. Maximum is 2048 bytes.

avrdude: stk500_paged_load(): (a) protocol error, expect=0x10, resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_cmd(): programmer is out of sync
avr_read(): error reading address 0x0000
read operation not supported for memory "flash"
avrdude: failed to read all of flash memory, rc=-2
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x00

This report would have more information with
"Show verbose output during compilation"
option enabled in File -> Preferences.

and I have no idea what to do with it.
what is this?

i discovered that unplugging my Samsung phone from the adjacent USB port helps but doesn't clear it up completely.
earlier, I was using a 5ft cord and had problems all the time. the frequency of this issue dropped when I changed to a 1ft USB cord but it persists.
Now I unplug my phone and it mostly works.

I don't know the answer to your question but 2 things come to mind, one is that USB is not 100% reliable generally, not just with Arduino but with anything and the other is that a 5 foot long cable, if a low quality, cheap one might be a problem, so try a different cable.

That unplugging another device helps hints a the USB board not being able to supply enough power, but I stress hints.

I certainly sometimes have problems uploading; the usual messing about such as unplugging and plugging back in etc generally fixes it. I just curse and accept it.

Any chance the port is USB3 and not USB2? That seems to cause problems as well.