Solved: Laptop crashes when flash drive removed :(

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Ms. Mia

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Hi, any idea what would suddenly cause this to start happening? It's a Toshiba Satellite 1750 laptop w/ w98SE, and a Sandisk Cruzer Micro USB flash drive. Only started using them together a couple months ago but this issue started just days ago.

I do have necutray.exe, the USB watching app, enabled at startup. But am trying to remember if maybe it used to be in my system tray, and be clickable to "Safely Remove Hardware." I really can't remember, maybe I just see that on XP machines. I did try placing a shortcut to necutray on the desktop to see if it would give me removal options but clicking it takes me nowhere.

Only recent changes I can think of are: 1.] installing a data cable along with its USB drivers and USB-to-serial drivers in order to allow an LG vx4400 cell phone to be used with it as a modem (I did have to remove the LG USB CDMA modem drivers I first installed, as apparently they were for XP only. Maybe I removed too much stuff....? Used Add/Remove progs, then searched for any additional related files, and Googled their names first to make sure they really were related). Note, my dad later cracked the cable connector thingy and I did try to push the USB parts back together and plug it in, if that was a bad idea... And, 2.] trying to connect a Belkin 4 port USB hub (uses only stock Windows drivers) that also caused a crash as soon as I plugged the flash drive into it, only in that case I couldn't even boot to Windows. (Then, and a couple times since then when I've suddenly been unable to boot to Windows, I have successfully used a tip to select a command prompt then cut the power off right after it comes up.) The laptop is Celeron and the hub specs said Pentium only, but the sales guy said it wouldn't matter... That's about all I can think of.

The flash works fine on all other computers. Any ideas soooo appreciated... My parents are borrowing this laptop for a two month RV trip soon and I have to have everything streamlined, they will be clueless, and I am only visiting til New Years. THANKS!!!! :)
 
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in 98 I just remove the flash drive and never had an issue. 98 does not use the removal option, you just pull it out, ME, 2000 & XP have the removal option. not an option but a requirement.

Mia, sorry I was no help:eek:
 

Ms. Mia

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Thanks Tapeuup, at least that does answer one part of things. I guess the timing of this post may not be too good, with the holidays and all. I wonder if no one is recognizing the symptoms and possible cause, or there just isn't much traffic now. If it's the former, to anyone reading this, is this the kind of case where reinstalling the OS would probably help? I was given this machine used (and abused!) as a gift. Got it running much better than it had been, but it's been through its share and has its 'moods' alright.

If reinstalling the OS is a good bet, will I have an option like "Repair Install" or something? Is that the one where I can keep all my existing apps and docs without any extra steps or reinstallations? I wasn't given an OS disc with it... Is eBay the best/cheapest place to get one?
 
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if you can save all your data that you need, I myself would reinstall "clean" the OS especially if the computer was given to me. Yes, ebay is a good place to start.
 

Ms. Mia

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Yeah I do hear clean is definitely the best... Since there is some irreplaceable software, if I had more time to see how things work afterwards, I'd probably at least try a repair first then go clean if insufficient.

If I do a clean install, will it take out all my Windows updates, including stuff like the current version of IE? That would be a pain, d/l them all again via dialup... and hoping I could even get a W98SE disk before support for that OS ends in early January (the sixth I think?).
 
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Using a Windows CD, you could reinstall and would lose nothing, neither data
nor applications, just don't format the drive, if you format then everything will gone, But always best to save your data "just in case"
 
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Ms. Mia said:
and hoping I could even get a W98SE disk before support for that OS ends in early January (the sixth I think?).
Paid incident support is now available through June 30, 2006. Extended hotfix support for Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition ended on June 30, 2003. Extended hotfix support for Windows Millennium Edition ended on December 31, 2003. Online self-help support will continue to be available until at least June 30, 2007. For more information about the type and length of support provided, review the Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium Edition Support Extended Announcement Web site. Critical security updates will be provided on the Windows Update site through June 30, 2006. Microsoft will not publicly release non-critical security hotfixes for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, or Windows Millennium Edition.
 

Ms. Mia

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232
Glad to hear that, thanks!!! (But, to anyone reading, I would still much rather hear/try other ideas to solve this than reinstalling OS and trying to even obtain a disk in the very short time period I have to work with. :))
 

Ms. Mia

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More notes, for the heck of it....

-- I have noticed that in Device Manager, all the USB-related things I added myself over time have now disappeared. There were many in there last time I checked, couple days ago (after the bad crashing started).

-- After the external USB hub-related crash, I tried removing some files with the date and time of the crash on them. Was a shot in the dark, and didn't help, but maybe I didn't get them all. Removed layout.pnf, layout1.pnf, layout2.pnf, usb.pnf. (Also drvdata.bin and drvidx.bin but put those back later.) If that was good, should I also remove their .inf counterparts, I didn't because the dates/times on them were years ago, not coinciding with the crash.

That may be irrelevant as the crash-upon-flash-removal had happened before that too, just not as bad or with the symptom of being unable to reboot to Windows after.

Also, I did read the extensive links at the Microsoft site about possible causes of USB probs, but as far as I could tell, none of them fit my situation and setup.
 

Ms. Mia

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232
Updating my old threads:

1. The crashing *mostly* stopped. Can't remember for sure but I think the main thing I did was start making sure that the programs I'd been using were closed before removing the flash drive too, not just any documents located on it that I'd been using with them. Makes sense that maybe that was the issue, since even with XP on a certain machine I have, it often won't say 'Safe to remove' until I close the actual programs too. (No, the programs aren't located on the flash.)

2. The USB-related items I mentioned weren't showing because I didn't know then that some of them don't, if the device they go with isn't plugged in...
 
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