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Solved: USB problem

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by mauro79, Jun 30, 2011.

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  1. mauro79

    mauro79 Thread Starter

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    Dear all,

    I am writing as I have a quite strange problem. One good day my usb ports decided not to work anymore on my Windows XP SP3 machine (this was yesterday, before that everything worked great). I thought initially it may have been a usb hub that broke down, but I tested it with another computer (as well as many of the devices I had plugged, and everything worked there). I checked several solutions on the web: restart the system, uninstall the usb root hub in the device manager so windows will reinstall everything on reboot, do the same rebooting twice, unplug the power cable from the computer for 5 minutes and then plug again, set the cmos to default values, all to no avail. The computer cannot even read a usb stick. The message for any hardware I plug is "Usb device not recognized". When I go to control panel, it appears as "unknown device". I have tried installing drivers automatically but nothing works either. One detail that makes this whole thing totally puzzling for me is that the usb mouse works perfectly well. I have plugged it to the same ports where other usb devices do not work but the mouse did work perfectly on any single one of them...

    Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.1
    OS Version: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 3, 32 bit
    Processor: Intel Pentium III Xeon processor, x86 Family 6 Model 23 Stepping 10
    Processor Count: 4
    RAM: 3071 Mb
    Graphics Card: ASUS EAH5450 Series, 1024 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 99998 MB, Free - 62729 MB; D: Total - 499999 MB, Free - 246579 MB; E: Total - 353861 MB, Free - 263426 MB;
    Motherboard: BIOSTAR Group, G31-M7 TE, , None
    Antivirus: None

    Although it does not appear listed above, I am using BitDefender antivirus, but for some reason it does not appear in the sysinfo.
    Have you ever encountered any situation like this with the USB ports before? or do you have any ideas on what may be the problem? Thank you very much in advance for any information you can provide!

    Have a nice day!
    Moe
     
  2. Lozzy-loz

    Lozzy-loz

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    I would try to use system restore and go back to a date before the trouble started.Click start, programs, accessories, system tools,system restore and pick a date when it all worked well.System restore is not a definite solution but worth trying.
     
  3. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Have you used any "cleaning" programs? I had one delete about half the drivers from my Inf folder once. USB quit after that.

    Any lightning in your area? I had lightning take out USB and nothing else once, too. I had to get a PCI card for USB on that machine.

    How old is the machine? Are the day/date correct in BIOS and the system clock?
     
  4. mauro79

    mauro79 Thread Starter

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    Hello Lozzy-loz and Elvandil

    Thanks for your messages! I really appreciate your good disposition!

    Lozzy-loz: I tried system restore, I forgot to mention it in my original message. Please accept my apologies for the missing information. In any case, it did not work either, which is quite strange.

    Elvandil: I have not used any cleaning software. The only thing I used was a routine antivirus scan... we had some lightning but that was a couple of days earlier... The computer is like 18 months old. The date and time is correct in the bios. After I started to look into this problem I did a registry clean up, but it did not solve the problem...

    I also checked that the USB is enabled in the cmos setup. What really puzzles me is that devices such as printer and usb sticks do not work, they are not recognized by windows, but the mouse works perfectly in exactly the same ports I am using to test other devices... I thought it may be something with the power pins in the USB connectors, but for instance the printer has its own power source and it does not work... on the other hand, the mouse works fine, so it seems data transmission is not the problem... unless I am missing something here :-S I have not yet tried reinstalling the system, and I would do so if it would fix the problem, but I have seen several cases on the web where people say they reinstalled but it did not solve anything...

    I appreciate your time and your advice, and if anything else comes to mind, I would greatly appreciate any idea, at this point I am willing to try pretty much anything before sitting down with installation cd's :-S

    Thanks again and have a great day!
    Moe.
     
  5. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Restore whatever was hacked out by the "registry cleanup" and get rid of that program. They do damage every time they are used, the damage is cumulative, and sometimes it won't show up until much later when you need to repair or install new hardware. The registry never needs to be "cleaned"; it is self-maintaining.

    In addition, a cleaner will do even more damage when the machine has a problem. If a file is not found, a cleaner will remove all references to it so that it won't work even the damaged or missing file is restored. They also remove all references to missing hardware, so later when you try to install something, Windows has never heard of that piece of hardware (though some cleaners do avoid that section of the registry).

    Try a USB cleanup:

    USB Device Cleanup

    Click the column header to put all the non-connected devices together. Then, select them all and uninstall them. (This can be done in Device Manager by making hidden devices visible, but it needs to be done there one by one, so is very time-consuming.)

    (It would be interesting to see what that program says is still installed and "connected", anyway.)

    A "repair" installation tries to restore all Windows components but keep personal files and settings. Yes, it often keeps the original problem, too. It might help, but it might not.

    If you haven't tried it yet, remove the USB ports and hubs and reboot (I'm not sure if you tried that or removing just the USB devices' drivers.). Try doing that with all USB devices unplugged (except the mouse if you need it).
     
  6. mauro79

    mauro79 Thread Starter

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    Hello Elvandil,

    Thank you for your advice! I just restored the changes in the registry made by the registry cleanup I was using to avoid further problems.

    I indeed tried removing physically all the devices (hubs, printer, etc) and rebooting. I also uninstalled the USB devices in the device manager while they were unplugged. Then I tried to plug them back, but that did not work either.

    I tried the USB application you mentioned (USBDeview). I have only the mouse connected and it shows it without problem, all the other devices appear as unplugged. Now If I plug an USB stick, it does not appear as plugged at all. I tried enabling/disabling the devices and uninstalling all devices. Then I plugged the mouse, which responded well and was reinstalled without problems, it works and it shows up in USBDeview. However, the other devices did not work and more interestingly, they do not appear at all in USBDeview.

    The same as before, when I plug anything other than the mouse, windows sends the message: "USB device not recognized"... I am wondering if a fresh installation of an operative system may be the solution, or if there is any kind of hardware problem... I was wondering if you can suggest any way to verify whether there is a problem with the mother board. So far the only thing that I have tried is plugging the mouse to every USB port and so far no problems. I am unsure however, if that is conclusive evidence that there is not some other hardware problem that prevents other devices to work (I am not an expert in hardware). On the other hand, I have plugged the other devices on another computer and they work normally.

    Thank you very much in advance for any advice you can suggest.

    Have a nice day!
    Moe.
     
  7. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    If you have not already tried it, see if there is a recent System Restor point from before the problem started. Restore to that.

    ============================================
    If that doesn't work:

    Do you have an XP SP3 CD?

    If you do, insert it, close any window that pops up, and open a command prompt. Type:

    expand D:\i386\*.in_ C:\Windows\Inf\*.inf

    (if D: is your CD-ROM drive and C: is your system drive)

    ============================================

    Reboot and try a device.
     
  8. mauro79

    mauro79 Thread Starter

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    Hello Elvandil

    Thank you very much for your reply. And yes, you are right. When I plug an USB device other than the mouse, it appears as "unknown device".

    And also I have a Windows XP CD tight here on my desk.

    I will greatly appreciate any further suggestion you may have. Thanks in advance for your good disposition.

    Have a nice day!
    Moe
     
  9. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Looks like I edited while you were answering. So try the advice in the post above.
     
  10. mauro79

    mauro79 Thread Starter

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    Hello Elvandil,

    Thanks for your message. Yes, it seems I answered too soon.... I tried your advice... I tried a Restore point from before the problem appeared, but regretfully it did not solve the problem.

    I also tested expanding the .inf files into my windows directory, regretfully that did not work either...

    Maybe is there any other kind of test that can be done? Any suggestion will be highly appreciated.

    Have a nice day!
    Moe.
     
  11. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Check your services to be sure that Plug-andPlay and Shell Hardware Detection are running.

    Do you have any reason to believe that the USB could be physically damaged?

    Did you expand those files to the Windows directory or the Inf directory? How long did it take?

    Check the properties of the Inf folder. How many files are inside it?
     
  12. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    I just booted up a copy of XP on my 7 machine. It looks like there are around 1725 total files in the Inf folder, and there are 729 .inf files. Is that comparable to what you have?
     

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  13. mauro79

    mauro79 Thread Starter

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    Hello Elvandil,

    Thanks for your message. I checked the services and both Plug and Play and Shell Hardware Detection appear as 'started' in the startup column. I tried restarting Shell Hardware Detection and it gave me no problems, however, it did not fix the problem.

    I do not have any special reason to think the usb may be physically damaged. I just read in some other forums that some users seem to have encountered that situation and I was unsure whether that may be my case as well. There is a detail I just noticed when, for instance, I use a USB stick (Kingston, 1GB). Before the whole problem started when I plug it, it would normally turn on a small light, and a few moments later the device would be ready to work... now when I plug the device there is no light on the USB stick... maybe is this an important detail? Sorry I did not mention it before, but just now it came to my attention.

    I expanded the files in the inf directory, I double checked that. It took like 2 minutes, it went quite fast. I just run it again. the report of the expand operation says that it expanded 812 files. My inf folder has 2376 files: one Infcache.1, 46 .adm files, 812 .in_, 758 .inf files and 758 .pnf files.

    I tried rebooting after I did the expand operation, both restart and turn off and then on a few minutes later, both with the same result.

    If there is any other information that may shed light on this issue, I would be glad to provide it. Thank you again for your patience and your suggestions.

    Have a nice day!
    Moe
     
  14. mauro79

    mauro79 Thread Starter

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    Hello Elvandil,

    Thanks for your message! it seems you were writing while I was replying... leaving aside the .inf_ files in my inf directory, I have 1562 files, which is a little bit less than the figures you mention, however my system shows 758 inf files... that's a bit more than the 725 you mention... Maybe is there anything wrong with the files I have? Thanks for your time!

    Have a nice day!
    Moe.
     
  15. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    So much for that. I once came across a machine that was having this problem and half the inf files for installing drivers were missing. This does not appear to be the case.

    This may take some small amount of work, but I'm sure that later you will be glad you did it. If you really want to find out if the problem is hardware or software, there is no better way than booting a different operating system. I'd actually suggest you make the CD if you have a drive and then you will have this great tool for later if you or others ever need it.

    But booting from it will at least tell us if the USB hardware is working properly,

    One note of caution. I think this bootable CD only detects hardware while booting, so plug in a USB device or 2 that you couldn't get to work, and then see if they are accessible from the desktop when you get booted up. If they are, we will know it is a Windows problem, of course.

    The fact that System Restore did not help makes me really wonder if it could be Windows since that restores all the system that existed at that time. You might try an earlier point (which is easily reversible), too.

    *******************************************
    Parted Magic disk partitoning tool (Bootable CD image)
    If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

    This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.
    *******************************************

    ============================================

    This is certainly mysterious, but things seem to be behaving for all the world like the default drivers are missing, or not being installed for some reason. It looks like you have all the driver information files for installing them, so I suppose it is possible that the actual driver files themselves are missing.

    When you get a chance next time you are in XP (or even from Parted Magic), take a look at the C:\Windows\system32\drivers folder and tell me how many files you have in there.

    We could always extract the driver.cab from the installation disk and replace those, too.
     
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