Here is the situation------

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by bgoodman4, Mar 27, 2009.

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  1. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Before I do anything I would like to ask you folks if my thinking is correct.....

    The situation is as follows...

    Recently I was having problems with my USB ports. The problems were 1: difficulty ejecting drives, 2: intermittent inability of the PC to recognize a previously recognized drive, 3: inability to copy from 1 external device to a 2nd external device, 4:inability to do system restore from an image (the process would start and ask for a reboot, then PC would boot normally). I tried many different things to fix the problems but with no success. I have the PC at Sony and the tech tells me the USB ports are fine and that he recommends a reformat and reinstall opf the OS and a reinstall of all applications etc.

    Here is how things stand at the moment.

    A 2nd drive (1 terabyte) has been installed and the OS has been loaded to it. I assume the tech has made this drive the C drive. The old drive has not been touched. I would like to get the OS back on to the old drive as its a 200 gig drive and I want to use the terabyte drive as an image storage space.

    How I plan on going about it.

    First load my imaging program and image the fresh install. Restore to this drive using an image from before my USB port issues began. If all goes well reformat the old drive and rename it to C, install using the successful image. If this is successful reformat the new drive (now called E) and use it as noted above.

    I think this is a sound plan but would like your comments before I begin. One specific question I have is,,,,,am I correct that simply renaming the drives will work to make the C drive the primary drive or is there more to it than that?

    I am about to head out to pick up the PC and hope to get to this over the weekend. I will check back here before I do anything.

    Thanks in advance.

    PS: am I making a mistake by messing with this? Does it make more sense to leave things as they are, possibly using the 200 gig drive for say weekly backup images and an external drive for daily backup images. I have 2 1 Terabyte drives that I had previously purchased for data and image storage so its really not critical that I backup to one of the internal drives, I just thought it would be faster to do so and the internal Terabyte drive was only $120 (Canadian $) so I figured why not. I also think it might be an idea to keep the primary drive as the Terabyte drive so that when I do upgrade to a new PC I can plug it into the new system and have a dual boot system,,,,or maybe even a triple boot system. I have wanted to get into Linux for a while ----- mind you, now that I think of it, maybe I should use the 200 gig drive for Linux and the new drive (partitioned) for Windows......This idea is attractive.......what do you folks think?

    The more I think of this the more I like it. Partition the new drive so that C is 300 gig, use 700 gig for storage etc (regularly replicating the 300 gig image to an external device as well as backing up any stored data from the 700 gig partition), and Linux on the old 200 gig drive. Ya, I think I like it......

    ........I look forward to your comments........
     
  2. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    WELL!!!!!!,,,,, picked up the PC and the USB ports problem is still present,,,,,I guess it was not a software problem after all. Am waiting to hear back from the tech at Sony. No doubt I will be told to bring the PC back.

    To be continued.
     
  3. RAD

    RAD Registered Member

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    I know it sounds silly, but I had an intermittent USB port that I fixed by just sliding the connecor in and out vigorously a few times. I guess there was some oxide or dirt on the connecor pins and I abraded it off. It is simple enough to be worth a try,

    Good luck.
     
  4. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Definitely worth a try. But it would be a good idea to do this with the machine switched off. You don't want the PC to keep trying to make the drive active and then pull it out before it's finished.
     
  5. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    :thumb: Very good point.

    Another thing(s) to try. Disconnect all USB devices. Go into device manager and uninstall all USB Root Hubs found under Universal Serial Bus Controllers. Restart the PC. Then plug-in each USB device one at a time. Allow each one to finish installing before plugging in the next. Also, always try to plug the same device into the same port. Windows will see the same USB device as a new install\needed driver if it is plugged into a different port.

    If none of the given suggestions work, there are a couple others you can try but we`ll go one at a time.
     
  6. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions folks, I will give them a try. An additional symptom is the light for the card readers being on even though there is no card to read. This has also been an intermittent problem but I have not noticed if its always on when the intermittent USB port issue is occurring. I spoke to the Sony tech and he suggested unplugging the card readers from the motherboard and seeing if that helps. It would be nice if thats all it took. I will be giving this a shot tomorrow (Saturday) and if it fails I will try the suggestions provided above and then will report back. Thanks again.
     
  7. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    I thought that you got it fixed with the new USB drivers using the recommended Driver Checker program !?! o_O
     
  8. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    Hmm. Sounds like your on the right track trying to isolate the issue.
    Check for hardware issues.
    Check for driver issues. (Are there any updates for the devices drivers from the manufacturer.)

    Did you mention that to the tech who took your computer for service and did he write that on the paperwork.

    Was it ever operating properly? If yes, When was the first time it started to act up? What day, week or month?
    You can use that to check for install conflicts from other software or updates.
    Was there a power outage? When power comes back on there is a spike.

    Lots of fun stuff.
     
  9. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Yes, I had thought so but as noted the problem has always been intermittent. After using Driver Checker things were fine for a day or two and them the problems began again. This is why I was sure that it was a hardware issue, I had tried everything short of a system revert or clean install. When the tech told me all hardware appeared to be fine and that the reformat/reinstall would fix the problem, that he felt there was some corrupt something or other I thought that was the end of the issue. You can imagine my surprise when I fired the PC up and almost immediately ran into the same problems again. When I called the tech he was really surprised, he said he had tested all USB ports as well as the card readers and they were all fine. He did say that he noticed problems with my CD and DVD drives though. He said the mechanisms were not functioning properly but that this was a mechanical issue and that it probably did not pay to replace them (I have an external CD/DVD reader burner which I can use and to replace the devices would have run apx $500 which made no sense on a PC thats 3 or 4 years old).

    So here I am, still trying to figure out whats going on.
     
  10. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Drivers were checked and updated....and the PC worked fine for a bit after that. I did tell they tech this.

    It was operating properly for years. Then I began having problems ejecting drives so I began using Unlocker. Then one evening as I was downloading music (from a for pay site, not one of the file sharing sites) I had a problem with the download and could not see my drive. This was corrected by a reboot. A short time latter I tried to copy from one external drive to a 2nd (I keep my music collection on an external drive and back it up on a 2nd one) and was not able to. I thought perhaps it was a drive issue but when I plugged the 2 drives into my laptop everything was fine.

    Clearly this is not a software issue since there is a new drive with a brand spanking new XP OS install and I am still having issues. This is good news because it means my images are OK to use when I get the issue resolved (or rather if I get the issue resolved).

    AS to power outages I have the PC plugged into a backup battery/surge protector so I suspect/think thats not the cause of the problem. If there was an outage/spike I am not aware of it as the PC is on (or rather was on) 24/7 so I guess its possible that something happened when I was not around (which wo0uld also include an update etc).

    And so the adventure continues.

    I will report more when I try disconnecting the card readers and maybe I will try disconnecting the CD & DVD drives as well (if I can figure out how to do it. I have never opened a PC up before so it should be interesting).
     
  11. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    From your description seems more like a low power problem. Do you use a hub to connect your drives?

    Panagiotis
     
  12. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    I would guess that is a possibility. But I run a MERC Stealth keyboard with 2 USB 2.0 ports, similar to\same as a hub. If I plug in a flash drive that needs more power then it can provide I get an error message from XP stating there is not enough and the device may not function correctly. It will also show up in Device manager as an unknown\driver not loaded device.
     
  13. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    So basically it was working fine untill you downloaded something. From that point on you have been having trouble with it.

    Was it top 100 Music or an indi band? Cryptkeeper 5, maybe?

    Could be a coincidence for the bugginess or maybe some type of infector.

    Of course that would be just speculation that there is an infection.

    There are some nasty infections that create a hidden partition at the end of the drive. Which doesn't get wiped with say DBAN or Killdisk. Also a partition in a partition.

    Hex editor from a bootable media like BartPE can help do disk diagnostics.
    Check for multiple MBR's, data at the end of the partition where their shouldn't be any.
    2 partitions when you should only have 1, 3 partitions when you should have 2.

    Another way to test, remove all hard drives from the machine.
    Boot from LiveCD or BartPE. Do you still have the issue?
    A LiveCD will load a fresh driver with no possible install from a HDD.
    If you have to, install drivers from apt-get or wget.
    But try and test without the HDD's in the machine.
     
  14. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I do use a hub but the problem is also present when there is no hub. I also thought about low power issues but if this is the case its internal to the PC since the problem occurs when plugging into the PCs own USB ports.
     
  15. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    A couple of comments ------- There is a brand new drive as the C drive and a brand new OS install. Nothing yet loaded other than the OS and firmware (from Sony). The original drive is still present (as a D drive) but unless the virus was able to migrate from the old drive to the new on its own I don't see how it can be a virus.

    As to the music download,,,,no, not Cryptkeeper 5 or any similar band, I am way too old for that. Besides, I have been downloading music from this (commercial) site for over a year with no problem ( http://www.soundike.com/ ). Of course this does not mean the music files on the site could not have been infected somehow.

    In addition, the ejection problems predate the issue but I cannot recall if the problems began immediately after the download problem or not. It certainly was after but how long after I cannot say. If it were a virus would I not be having a problem all the time? Given that its intermittent I would think a virus is not likely.

    I am going be trying to unplug the card reader and perhaps a few other devices today and will report back when thats done.

    PS: not sure what you are talking about booting without drives in PC. I have an Acronis True Image rescue disk, would this be sufficient? Also, never having even opened a PC removing the drives might prove to be a problem.
     
  16. PROROOTECT

    PROROOTECT Registered Member

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    @ bgoodman4,

    If you never open your PC:

    @ open your PC, please;

    @ clean with a brush and a vac ( especially the fans ), without touching any electronic part;

    @ at the end: re-location of all ground contactors.



    Post results, please:thumb:
     
  17. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    I would continue with the current diagnostic procedures. If they don't pan out then move on to other things.

    As for the HDD's, it's a simple procedure to unplug the power cord from the drive.
     
  18. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thanks, PC is clean as it was just at Sony for trouble shooting of the problem.

    Thanks but......

    ------ Well, opened the PC and the world did not end. Was able to find the correct cable to unplug the card readers and guess what......rebooted the PC, plugged the 2 external devices into the back USB ports, and son of a gun it appears to be working.

    Decided to test by plugging the devices into the front ports which are the ones I usually use for this as the back ones are used for devices that are never removed.

    Plugged the first device (drive A) in and bang, its up and running. Plugged the 2nd device (drive B) in and nada. Drive not seen at all, and PC would not respond at all. Was able to move the mouse but clicking did nothing. Hit control>alt>delete and all icons and the task bar disappeared.

    Unplugged (B) and PC immediately became responsive, icons and task bar reappeared. Plugged it back in and PC non responsive again. Unplugged it from the front port and plugged it into a back port and everything is good again.

    Ejected both drives, moved (A) to the other port on the front, took (B) and plugged it into the port that A was plugged into before, and USB Device Not Recognized message pops up. Unmounted the (A) from the front, plugged (B) back in to the back. Its working fine. Unplugged (A) from the front and plugged it back in to the same port, both drives appear to be connected now.

    Ejected both drives and plugged (A) in to the same port it was just in. It connect just fine. Unplug (B) from the back and plug it back in and USB Device Not Recognized message pops up. It appears to be the case that the order that the drives are plugged in is important. (A) seems to be messing things up if its plugged in first.

    Unmounted (A) from the front and plugged drive (C) into the front port that (A) was just in. Plugged (B) into the back again and both drives are fine.

    Dismounted both drives and plugged them both into the front and both appear to be working fine.

    Is it possible/likely that there is some sort of problem with (A)? Well, I guess its possible but given the intermittent nature of the problem its difficult to tell if any particular event is really meaningful.

    I guess progress has been made since before unplugging the card readers I was having problems with all of the ports front and back but only with devices that were being plugged into a port. All the devices that are continuously plugged in were working fine. These would be my printer, the scanner, and my wireless mouse. I also have a hub plugged in to the back but plugging devices into the hub caused problems. Also progress has been made since some potential sources of the problem have been eliminated such as a virus or some such. And it does not at this point appear to be an issue with the ports themselves.

    On the other hand I think I am a bit worse of since preciously I never had the PC become unresponsive when plugging a device into any port, so seems like 2 steps forward and 1 back.

    I guess thats progress of a sort.

    Does this sound like a power issue or is it more likely that when 2 devices are plugged into the front (make that 3 possibly including the card readers) an intermittent conflict occurs that cause problems with all subsequently plugged in devices regardless of where its being plugged in to? Or is the likely culprit drive (A). I guess this last is a bit premature to decide as it was only tested once with drive (A) not part of the equation.

    I guess the next step is to try replacing drive (A) on a continuous basis and see if the problems appear again. Clearly if the do not then (A) was at fault.

    I should mention that one drive (the one I keep referring to as A) is powered, the 2nd (B) and the 3rd (C) are not.

    EDIT: I just checked and as part of the test when I first plugged drives (A) and (B) into the back of the PC and both were recognized I did a sync of some files. I thought the sync had been successful but upon checking I find it was not. I then tried the same thing with the 2 drives on my laptop and the sync was successful. ----- Very odd.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009
  19. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    bgoodman4, one possibility is that there is some transient electrical signal in the USB cables that is still hanging around after you plug/unplug that ends up causing erratic behavior. Could be a fault in the cable itself, or just transient signal that needs some time (30 seconds?) to dissipate.

    edit: your description of the light for the card readers staying on would seem to point in this direction.

    I don't have a good reference handy about this at the moment, but I've seen many reputable postings about this. People often find that replacing one or more of their USB cables solves the problem. When USB cables are folded/bent they can become damaged, too. Googling for "faulty usb cable" gives lots of reading.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009
  20. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Interesting idea but I have been using the drives with my laptop with not a single problem. The same drives, the same cables with the same drives, the only thing different is the PC.

    One of the things that I find puzzling is that the order that I plug the devices in seems to make a difference. If I plug the powered drive in first I tend to have a problem with connecting the un-powered drive. However if I plug the un-powered drive in first and then the powered one I often can get them both to be recognized. But even when they are both recognized I do not seem to be able to have the 2 drives communicate with each other properly. An example of this is the sync I tried to do. When trying to do a sync with the desktop a single file was identified as different between the contents of the folders in question (and its sub-folders). I was able to copy that file from the powered drive to the un-powered one. At least the sync program indicated that the copy process was successful. However when I connected the 2 drives to the laptop and ran the sync program there were 26 files identified as different.

    I think I mentioned above that I can copy from an external drive to the C drive and from the C drive to the 2nd external, but have a problem going from drive 1 to drive 2 directly. This would imply that somewhere along the path the signal is traveling when trying to copy from one external device to another there is a problem, a problem that is not present when going between external and internal drives. The trick is figuring out exactly where that might be (at least I think thats what needs to be done).
     
  21. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

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    From my verbal nmap I discovered your diagnostic skills are good.

    Powered vs. un-powered...wonder if there is a signal difference that causes the strange behaviour for recognition? The powered drive isn't drawing a current through usb. Maybe this causes the usb controller to act funky.
    Front and back usb can be routed through the motherboard differently.

    At least you found a working combo.
     
  22. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    Searching has a good point, that the USB connectors on the outside of the computer case vs. those on the back that are directly wired onto the motherboard go to different USB connectors on the motherboard, could be different mfg / possibly different drivers even. Or maybe conflict issues between the two.

    If it's on the outside of the case, you could conceivably have a problem with the cable or header that plugs into the mobo.

    Can you remind us whether you are testing with both case and back types, and are you distinguishing which port in your testing?
     
  23. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    This is a very interesting observation. Today I tried multiple drives in various ports and if the powered drive is plugged into a port on the back of the PC there does not seem to be any problems what-so-ever. I am able to sync external drives, and there is no problem loading or ejecting jump drives or portable drives either to the front ports or to a hub plugged into a rear port. So yes, after the testing I can say that it does appear that I have found a working combo and your comment gives me some idea of why the problem may be occurring if I plug the powered drive into the front of the PC.

    I will also have to try plugging a different powered drive into a front port and see if the problem occurs. It may be that this particular drive is causing problems with the front ports, which would be interesting, or it may be, as you suggest, that the USB controller for the front ports is acting funky with drives that are powered. If this latter is the case it would be a good thing for me to be aware of.

    There is something else I will have to try. In a post earlier in this thread it was suggested that I try changing the cables connecting the drives and I must admit I did not do this since I have had no problems with any of the drives on my laptop. I wonder if the newer laptop may be able to handle things that the older desktop cannot. If there is a somewhat corrupted USB controller associated with the front ports on the desktop this would explain this. Still, it may be a messed up cable that is just good enough to work on the laptop and not work on the funky front ports of the older Desktop. I would be surprised if this turned out to be the case but in hindsight it may well be the case. This will teach me to try all suggestions made (that are within my comfort level) in the future, especially if it turns out that the cable was in fact the cause of the problem.

    One question -----

    When you refer to the USB controller is this a hardware device or is it software? If it is software then I don't think this could be the problem since there has been a new install of the OS. Of course if its hardware, and there could be 2 different controllers on the mother board one for the back ports and one for the front ports, then this would be a reasonable explanation of the problem and why its not occurring with the laptop.

    Any way I feel its clear that significant progress has been made here and I will try working with the PC and see if the problem resurfaces in spite of the currently working combo. If it does not I will post again below and ask for comments on the opening post for this thread.

    Thanks a million to all who contributed to trouble shooting this issue in both this thread and the original one regarding my troubles ejecting drives. If it were not for your help I probably would be at the point where I would be junking the PC and getting a new one. Not only have you folks taught me a lot, but it would appear that you have also saved me the expense of a new PC at a time I was not thinking of getting one.
     
  24. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Given your comments I may take the PC back to Sony and have these cables and headers tested. Obviously if it turns out that another powered drive plugged into the front does not cause a problem then I would have a good explanation for why the Sony tech was not able to find anything wrong. I do not know if he tried connecting a powered or un-powered drive to the front ports, I will have give him a call and ask.

    Would each port be connected to the MB individually or would all of the front and back ports be connected as groups? From looking at the inside of the tower I do not see any cables or wires coming from the ports, just metal housings that appear to be connected directly to a board so I cannot tell if they are individually connected or somehow grouped together.
     
  25. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Hummmm - just a thought. The way things were set up I always would plug the powered drive into a front port and I had a powered hub plugged into a back port. When there was a problem it would not matter if I was plugging a 2nd USB device into a front port or into the powered hub. Would this undermine all of the above ideas regarding different cables, connections, and controllers or is it possible that a problem with the front port when the powered drive was plugged in (and on) could cause a problem with all ports. From the comments made above I would think this should not happen.
     
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