Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) is a disorder frequently found among the old people and is associated with deterioration in cognitive performance, parkinsonism, motor and mood impairments. White matter hyperintensities (WMH) as well as lacunes, microbleeds and subcortical brain atrophy are part of the spectrum of image findings, related to SVD. Accurate segmentation of WMHs is important for prognosis and diagnosis of multiple neurological disorders such as MS and SVD. Almost all of the published (semi-)automated WMH detection models employ multiple complex hand-crafted features, which require in-depth domain knowledge. In this paper we propose to apply a single-layer network unsupervised feature learning (USFL) method to avoid hand-crafted features, but rather to automatically learn a more efficient set of features. Experimental results show that a computer aided detection system with a USFL system outperforms a hand-crafted approach. Moreover, since the two feature sets have complementary properties, a hybrid system that makes use of both hand-crafted and unsupervised learned features, shows a significant performance boost compared to each system separately, getting close to the performance of an independent human expert.