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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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
Try connecting the device directly to the USB port and not through a USB hub to see if that makes a difference.
Remove any USB extension cable and try plugging in the USB device directly to the USB port. Possibly, try a different cable.
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.
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.
If the problem device is an external HDD, try using the manufactures diagnostic utility (if available) to see if the device is functioning correctly.
If your problem USB device is connected to a PCI card, try changing it from one slot to another.
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.
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
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.
 Invoke the Safely
Remove Hardware window:
 Reboot to restore
Safely Remove Hardware icon:
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 work-a-round for this
issue is to shut your system down before you remove the USB device.
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.
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
Device Manage can be accessed by going to Start>> Control Panel>> System icon>> Hardware tab>> Device Manager button
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:
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.
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.
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.