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USB Device Troubleshooting

 
  1. USB 2.0 is now USB 1.1 after Vista Upgrade
  2. Device is not removed when "Safely Remove Hardware" icon is clicked
  3. My USB flash drive won't work on one machine but works fine on another?
  4. Safely Remove Hardware Icon is Missing
  5. USB device does not appear in "Safely Remove Hardware"
  6. USB v2.0 Device Is Not Working
  7. How can I tell which USB version is installed on my computer?
  8. USB drive is not recognized
  9. Cumulative update rollup for Windows Vista
  10. Is it possible to password protect a USB memory stick?
 

 Use the information below at your own risk.  See "Terms of use"  

USB 2.0 is now USB 1.1 after Vista Upgrade

Q: I just upgraded my PC from Windows XP Home to Vista premium. Everything seems to be working correctly except for my USB ports. They are now showing as USB 1.1 instead of USB 2.0, which is what they were before the upgrade. Is there a fix for this?

A: Yes, there are a couple of things that you can do to fix this. The first thing I would do is check the USB Controller in Device Manager to see if there is a (?) question mark shown for each installed USB device (Start>> Right click My Computer>> Manage>> Device Manager). If a question mark is shown, right click each device, select Update Driver.

If everything looks fine in Device Manager, then I would recommend updating your Motherboard to the latest "Chipset" driver. Find out who made the Motherboard and find the model number. Then, go to the manufactures web site and search for an updated Chipset driver. Once the updated driver is applied, your USB devices should revert back to USB 2.0.

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Device is not removed when "Safely Remove Hardware" icon is clicked

Q: When I click the icon in the notification area in my Vista Basic machine, the USB device was not removed. How can I fix this problem?

A: This appears to be a timing issue that occurs when allocated memory is released at the same time the system is attempting to remove the device. Microsoft has a Hotfix for this issue. Click the following link for more details and the contact information to receive the Hotfix:

Hotfix Information

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My USB flash drive won't work on one machine but works fine on another?

A: This is a very common issue that occurs in many systems running Windows XP. I have seen this issue in both USB flash drives and USB external drives. Follow the troubleshooting steps below:

[A]

1. Go to Start>> Right click My Computer>> Manage>> Disk Management
2. Check to ensure that there is a drive letter assigned to the drive. If there is not, right click the drive and select "Change". Then, see if you can assign a drive letter to this drive.

[B]

If the device is listed in Disk Management and has an assigned drive letter, you can try right clicking the device again and this time select "Explorer". Windows Explorer should now be invoked and should display the device and any content within.

[C]

1. Go to Start>> Right click My Computer>> Manage>> Device Manager
2. Expand the USB Controller section
3. Right click and Uninstall all of the listed USB devices
4. Reboot the system

[D]

Try connecting the device directly to the USB port and not through a USB hub to see if that makes a difference.

[E]

Remove any USB extension cable and try plugging in the USB device directly to the USB port. Possibly, try a different cable.

[F]

If the USB device does not have an auxiliary power supply, try connecting it to the system before the boot process and after then after the boot process.

[G]

If the USB device has its own auxiliary power supply, try using it with its power on before the boot process and then off during the boot process. Try it on and off after the boot process.

[H]

If the problem device is an external HDD, try using the manufactures diagnostic utility (if available) to see if the device is functioning correctly.

[I]

If your problem USB device is connected to a PCI card, try changing it from one slot to another.

[J]

Try applying an update (if available) of the problem USB device from the manufactures web site. Also, check to see if there has been issues with this device. There may be a chipset driver update or BIOS update available for your Motherboard that could solve the issue.

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Safely Remove Hardware Icon is Missing

Q: I have my USB flash drive plugged in to my Windows XP system. Normally, when I go to unplug this device, I click on the little icon located in my notification area (lower right corner). However, I have just noticed that the icon is missing and am now afraid to unplug my device. I have been told that you could lose the data on that drive by just unplugging it. How can I restore the icon to my task bar?

(Quick Links)

A: You are correct that in certain cases you could lose data on that drive by just unplugging it. There are a couple of things I can recommend in this case.

[1] Unhide the icon:

If you have your notifications area set to hide icons, you will need to click the double left pointing arrow to show the hidden icons. If you would like to permanently unhide these icons, here's how:

  1. Right click your notification area (next to the clock)
  2. Select Properties
  3. Uncheck the entry titled: Hide inactive icons
  4. Click OK

[2] Invoke the Safely Remove Hardware window:

If you would like to invoke the Safely Remove Hardware window, here's how:

  1. Go to Start>> Run. Type in:

    RUNDLL32 SHELL32.DLL,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll

    (you may want to copy and paste the above command in to the run text box for accuracy sake)
     
  2. Press Enter.
  3. Double click the Entry in the body of the windows to view all installed USB devices.
  4. Select the one that you would like to Stop.
  5. Unplug the stopped device.

[3] Use Add/Remove Hardware (Windows 2000 only):

  1. Plug a USB device in to one of your available USB ports
  2. Go to Start>> Control Panel
  3. Select Add/Remove Hardware
  4. Select Uninstall/Unplug a device
  5. Select the device that you would like to unplug/eject
  6. Select Finish when done

[4] Reboot to restore Safely Remove Hardware icon:

It has been reported that a simple reboot will restore the subject icon to the notification area.

[5] Make sure Safely Remove Hardware is set to "always show":

  1. Go to Start>> Control Panel
  2. Select Taskbar and Start Menu
  3. Select the Customize button
  4. Scroll the list to find the "Safely Remove Hardware" entry
  5. Be sure that it is set to "Always show" or "Always hide" is OK. If it is set to "Always hide", click the "Always hide" entry and select one of the other two listed options.
  6. Click OK and exit all open windows

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USB device does not appear in "Safely Remove Hardware"

Q: When I click the "Safely Remove Hardware icon in the notification area, the device I am trying to remove does not appear. I'm running Vista Ultimate. Is there anything that I can do to solve this?

A: According to Microsoft the problem occurs when either of the two scenarios apply:
  • The USB device contains an embedded USB hub.
  • The embedded USB hub detects a device that is connected to the USB hub as being a non-removable device.

The work-a-round for this issue is to shut your system down before you remove the USB device.

For more in formation visit the link below:

KB927826

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USB v2.0 Device Is Not Working

Q: I have a new USB flash drive v2.0. Why won't it work in my Windows 98 computer system?

A:  The older version v1.1 USB port will not run a newer version v2.0 USB device. However, a v1.1 USB device will work in a v2.0 USB port. I would suspect that your Windows 98 machine has the older version port installed.

Note: Windows XP requires SP1 for v1.1 to work. Also, be sure to update the driver for the USB controller in Device Manager once SP1 is installed.

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How can I tell which USB version is installed on my computer?

It is pretty simple to locate this information. Navigate to Device Manager and expand the Universal Serial Buss controllers string. The first entry in this string should inform of what version is installed. It will read something like; "USB 2.0 Enhanced Host Controller".

Device Manage can be accessed by going to Start>> Control Panel>> System icon>> Hardware tab>> Device Manager button

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USB drive is not recognized

Q: When I plug in my USB drive I hear the audible "ding" sound but nothing happens after that. I don't see that the drive is being recognized at all. If I leave the thumb drive plugged in and reboot, Vista will then recognize it. How can I get the system to recognize the thumb drive without rebooting the system?

A: There are two methods that I have seen work for this issue:

Method #1:
  1. Go to Start
  2. In the Search field, type in: device manager
  3. Open device manager and navigate to your USB controller
  4. Right click the drive and select Properties
  5. Be sure that the option for "Write Caching" is enabled

Method #2:

  1. Navigate to Device Manager using the above instructions
  2. Right click and Delete all of your USB controllers
  3. Reboot Vista

Vista will recognize that you have deleted the USB controllers and add the new hardware back to your system. This may fix anything that had been corrupt.

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Cumulative update rollup for Windows Vista

We seem to be receiving a great deal of questions from Vista users complaining about the their USB devices losing their drivers, or receiving STOP error messages (along with many other issues) once awakened from sleep or hibernate modes. Microsoft has put together a page of fixes for many USB issues.

Scroll the list of fixes that best describes your problem, then click article number link next to it. Follow the instructions on this next page to receive the fix.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;936003

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Is it possible to password protect a USB memory stick?

Q: I would like to have a password on my memory stick so that if someone were to plug it in it would automatically ask for a password. Is this possible?

A: There are programs that can do this. You can try "Cryptainer". They have a free version and a paid version. In the free version you are limited on the file storage size you can password protect.

Alternately, you can zip the files and apply a password to the zip file.

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