USB ports wonky

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by bgoodman4, Feb 24, 2009.

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  1. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Suddenly the USB ports on my PC have gone wonky. At first I thought one of my external drives was failing so I tried connecting a 2nd one and same thing (message that the drive was not recognized) occured. I tried a bunch of different drives and some could connect but I was not able to copy files from one to the other, in some case I could not eject, if I turned the PC off and then unconnected the drives I might or might not be able to get the drive that had just been recognized to connect again. Sometimes I would be able to eject a particular drive and others not. It is definitely not a drives issue as I connected the drives to my laptop and all but one worked without issue. The drive that failed is the drive that I use to do my backup images on (bummer). I had noticed during the past day or 2 that this drive, which is on line 24/7, appeared to be active when it should not have been (the light on the front of the drive would flicker). Since I only use this drive for imaging, and the images are done over night, it was odd to see the drive active at other times. I thought perhaps I had just never noticed it before.

    A couple questions beyond the obvious "what do I do now".

    -- can one drive failing mess up the PCs ability to reliably connect and work with other drives using other USB ports?

    -- is there any possibility of getting the failed drive to work again, or to access the data stored on it? This is not critical since the data is only drive images and I do have other, albeit somewhat older drive images I can use and all my really critical files are backed up to a remote server (just started doing this a few weeks ago and boy am I glad I am doing this) besides apart from the USB issue it appears that the PC is working fine.

    Here are the things I tried,

    Went to device manager and located the failed drive. There was a message that there were no drivers loaded for it. I did not check the other non-responsive drives though. When I connected the failed drive to my laptop I got the "new hardware found" message, then a message that "the new hardware is ready to use" and then the "failed to recognize hardware" message again. I assume this indicates the drive is seriously ill.

    Used GoBack to revert to an earlier state.

    Restored my registry files to a week ago using a reg backup done just before my last cleaning.

    Tried running Tuneup utilities 1 click tune-up.

    Attempted to do a system restore and discovered that there are no restore points.

    I don't know if this could be important but I did have a problem downloading a music file this evening. I got a message that the file format was not recognized. I tried to cancel the download but the app would not close. Process manager did not help here (I have noticed process manager does not work if any dialogue boxes are open). I physically shut down the PC and rebooted and all appeared fine. I was able to download the file etc, and continued to purchase music tracks.

    I began to notice the problems when I tried to copy the newly downloaded music files to a 2nd drive so I would have backups. I opened SyncToy and ran a preview. There was about 80 actions that were pending, I hit go and in under 3 or 4 sec SyncToy stopped. This is way too little time for the operation so I tried another sync tool and got messages that the file could not be copied (something to do with the file location not being known or some such I believe). I should mention that the 2 drives in question worked without any problem to copy the files from one to the other when they were connected to the laptop. Neither of these drive is the one that appears to have failed (obviously).

    I hope the above gives you folks enough to go on, if you need any other info I will provide it ASAP.

    Oh yes, the PC is an XP Sp3, Sony Viao. ----- thanks
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  2. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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  3. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    USBDeview could also be helpful in unistalling some "jammed up" devices. Then when the device is re-inserted, the PC rebuilds the drive info in the registry. I've used it a few times to get iPods going again...
    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html
     
  4. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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  5. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thank you for this.

    I have downloaded the program but before I use it I want to ask if I should use it to uninstall all USB devices it finds? I have no devices connected and since I have had intermittent issues with multiple external drives I have no idea which drives are a problem and which are not. From the sound of it uninstall all of them should not cause a problem since when I reinstall the drives the drivers should be loaded normally,,,,but I figure its best to ask first.
     
  6. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    You may find this of help. The first link Under Hotfix Heaven in particular.

    Credit go`s to Innerpeace for posting it in another thread.
     
  7. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the links, I will take a close look at them when I have had some sleep. I have been struggling with this since about 2:30 am and its now 6:30 am. I can't see straight just now.
     
  8. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    No! Don't do that as you could remove something you need.

    When you run USBDeview, the entries that you will see listed should be identified pretty well. What you're after is to clear the ones that are having the issues. For e.g., when I have reset some iPods, I cleared the Apple &/or iPod entries, no others. Then when the iPod was re-inserted, the PC loaded it as if it was the first time it had ever seen it. And the iPod then worked normally again...
     
  9. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Too late, I decided not to wait (I am very tiered and a bit impatient). I wasn't too worried as I managed to image the drive before I used the program. So far nothing serious, had to pull out a few CDs for things like my scanner and wireless mouse but thats the extent of it. All drives except my Terabyte drive are working now (so far anyway). The Terabyte drive is going back to Western Digital for replacement. Its only 6 weeks old so I guess its true that if a piece of hardware is going to fail its likely to do so sooner rather than later.

    Thanks for directing me to the program, nice little piece of software. I was surprised at how many USB devices have been installed on the PC over the years. Oddly enough I found multiple entries for the same device. Any idea why that would be?
     
  10. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    XP handles USB devices oddly IMO. Even though you have had the device plugged in previously if you plug it in to a different port the next time it will be seen as a new device and the drivers will be installed again.
     
  11. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Strange but I guess the folks at MS thought it was a good idea at the time.

    On another note ----- or rather I should say on the original issue ---- my issues with the USB ports has not been resolved. For a while things appeared to be OK but I tried to copy some files from one drive to another this evening (both external) and was not able to. Plugged the 2 drives into my laptop and the files copied with no problem.

    Can someone comment on if this is likely to be a hardware issue or a software issue?

    Unfortunately the dead drive is the one that has my daily ATI images on it so I cannot revert to a day or 2 ago. However I do have an ATI image from 3 weeks ago as well as one made yesterday after the problems began. If there is a reasonable chance that the problem is software/OS related then I will go to the trouble of restoring the image from 3 weeks ago and then mount the image from yesterday so I can manually copy recent files and updates (a bit of a hassle especially for things like my outlook express files etc). If the problem is more likely one of hardware then I will take the PC to a service center and let them do their thing before I try the restore idea. If its hardware I imagine a restore should not be necessary.
     
  12. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Something just occurred to me and maybe its the source of my problems.

    I had been having issues ejecting my USB drives a while back and had downloaded and installed 2 programs, Unlocker, and Process Manager. I suspect that using one or the other programs to enable me to kill or unlock whatever was preventing me from ejecting the drive may have led to the current problems with my USB ports. Is this possible/likely (I guess its possible of course, but is it likely)? If so is there something I can do short of restoring my c: drive to 3 weeks ago and manually copying files from the more recent image? Also, is it likely that my problems with my Terabyte drive can stem from the use of these programs as well? I never used the programs to eject the drive but.......
     
  13. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    have you checked if usb controller is wired to mobo,if so check the wire connections on both ends if they fit tight. In device manager look also if there is a yellow exclamation mark next to it.But i figured you did this already!?!
     
  14. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    It is always possible that it is a hardware issue.
    The plug\un-plug cycle of both the drive(s) and the USB ports on the mobo are not infinite. They will and do become worn out which can cause faulty connections.

    The life of the drive(s) themselves is limited as well. There are specs. available on the average read\write cycles of a flash drive. The topic has been discussed some where here in the forums.

    The fact that they function on your lap top seems to point to the mobo USB ports on the tower.

    Referencing the unable to eject problem. I have only experienced this problem once\maybe twice. All I did was restart the PC.
    It is possible the use of the software to unlock the drives could have corrupted something.

    Many suggestions have been offered. Could you tell us which one(s) you tried?
     
  15. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I strongly suspect its a hardware issue as I just noticed that if I change the ports for various devices things change. By that I mean if I plug in the powered drive into one port and then the unpowered one into a 2nd port both load fine. If I revers the ports the unpowered drive does not appear to be getting enough power. I tried plugging a thumb drive into various ports and for a few it will power on but for others it will not or it will get a did not recognize message. Hardware issues are more than I care to mess with although just checking if the connections are tight might not be too disturbing for me to try. Still, having only seen the inside of a PC tower once I don't know if I even want to open the tower up. I think I will bring the PC to a service depot and let an expert in such things resolve the issue.

    Thanks to all who tried to help, as usual I learned a lot its just unfortunate that what I have learned is not solving this particular problem.
     
  16. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Update: one problem resolved and odd things happening.

    I have figured out why I was having problems ejecting drives. It seems that Disk Keeper had become set to monitor for all new volumes and to automatically defrag them. Thus when I was attempting to unplug a drive I could not do so as long as DK was active. I have no idea how this setting became changed as I def did not set this feature myself and I have been using DK without issue for some time. The odd thing is that Process manager and Unlocker did not show DK as having locked the drive (is that the correct term?). The way I found out about this was I decided to do a manual defrag as opposed to just using the "Always On" function of DK. I happened to have one of the external drives plugged in and I noticed it in the DK program interface as being actively monitored. This realization let to the solution of this particular problem. TURN OFF THE AUTO DETECT ALL VOLUMES setting.

    As to the odd problem......I reported above that drives would power on in some ports and not in others, now it appears that all ports are working without issue. I have not tried to copy files from one drive to another yet but I will do that later today (I have to get back to work).
     
  17. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    DK is from what i have read and heard is as good as it get but IMO over bloated just like PD.

    A good straightforward defragger is JKDEFRAG,frequently updated by Jeroen the developer,its also free.
     
  18. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I am not looking for a different defrag utility, I am just trying to get the full functionality of the PC back. Have not tried to copy from one drive to another yet and it will have to wait until I get a chance, hopefully tomorrow. It was a tough long day and I need to get some sleep (but only after I check out whats what on the forum of course).
     
  19. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Well, I still cannot copy from one drive to another. What a pain.

    I have noticed when I plug the un-powered drive into the desk top it is assigned the drive letter M, when I plug it into the lap top its assigned the drive letter E. Does this offer any clues as to the problem? Is it possible I have run out of drive letters? Would clearing with USBDview free up drive letters? Probably not since I cleared everything yesterday and still am getting the M assignment.

    Also, I still occasionally have to adjust the order in which I plug the drives in to the USB ports. Sometimes if I plug the powered drive in first I get a message that the drive has malfunctioned (or is it has not been recognized). If I eject the powered drive, plug the un-powered one in, it will load, then I plug the powered drive in and it will load, not that this really matters since I cannot copy from one to the other anyway.

    Perhaps what I should do is just forget the whole thing and simply plug both drives into the lap top when I want to copy from one drive to another.......or do you think I should take the attitude that the problem probably/possibly points to something more serious and I should take steps to correct it, ie: take the thing to a service center and let them deal with it.

    GADS I am totally fried. The process of learning, or trying to lean how to do this stuff, is real interesting but exhausting.
     
  20. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    My condolences. I understand.

    Another vote for jkdefrag. I'd get rid of DK, reboot with just the bare essentials. And defrag with jkdefrag in safe mode. Then try your USBs. Couldn't hurt. Unless DK doesn't uninstall politely.
     
  21. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Another clue to the cause of the problem.

    Today I needed one of the files I had stored on the 2 drives. I plugged the unpowered drive in and went to find the file. It was not there. It was one of a number of files that had been copied from the powered drive to the unpowered one and none of the files that had been copied at the time the problem started were on the unpowered drive although I did find them all on the original powered drive when I looked there. To refresh your memory I had tried to copy files from the powered drive to the unpowered one using the desktop PC but was not able to however, when I tried to copy the same files to the unpowered drive using the laptop the files appeared to be copied with no problem. I decided to try to copy the files to the unpowered drive again so I plugged both drives into the laptop and was very surprised to see that now the missing files were not missing at all. It was a matter that the desktop PC could not see them.

    Does this help pinpoint the problem? Files that had been copied from the powered to the unpowered drive before things started going wonky are seen by both PCs but files that were copied afterwards are not seen by the desktop.

    Any ideas?
     
  22. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Have you checked the settings on the desktop to make sure that you can view all file types? Maybe something bumped the setting to hide certain file types back to the Windows default (to hide them?)
     
  23. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Have not checked for this but the files that can be seen and those that are not seen are the same type of file.
     
  24. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    I just read on another thread about file copy issues that chkdsk was used to check the drive and it reminded me that if I reboot the PC with the powered drive on chkdsk wants to run on the drive but nothing happens (it just sits a 0% until I manually power down the PC). I will have to try running chkdsk on the drive with it connected to my laptop. The issue of course is more complicated since both the powered and unpowered drive have problems connecting and being ejected from the PC but still chkdsk may provide more info, especially if chkdsk cannot be run on both PCs.

    What does the inability of chkdsk to run on a drive tell us about the drive or PC in question?
     
  25. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Hi bgoodman,

    is your pc intel based? Did it start after you installed rollback?
    A year ago I had found that RB-RX drivers interfeard with my intel mobo usb drivers(some times they could not initialize the usb drives). I had reported the issue at Horison on January 08 and I thought it was fixed with their 8.1 released 3 months later.

    Uninstall RB and see if the problem persists.

    Panagiotis
     
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