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USB device not recognized

Posted on 2006-05-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi

I have suddenly experienced problems with USB devices. Quite suddenly my computer (XP Pro/SP2, fully updated OS) decided not to recognize my hub, memory stick and external drives that all used to function properly. Interestingly enough, the only USB device that DOES work is the Translator's Workbench dongle (TRADOS), which is duly recognized. However, the most serious problem is my external drives, which I use for backup and for working at another office. So the prime concern is the external drive, which incidentally works fine and is recognized by two different computers. But not my work computer. The USB-based external drives do not have external power supply and have worked fine without any for quite a time.  (To pinpoint the problem I have tried an external power supply for the hub and got the usual "unknown device" story.) I've checked the ports. All of them seem to work properly, there are no conflicts. The power monitor box in all four root hubs is ticked (have tried unticking them with identical result). Inserting an USB device into a port gives the message: Unknown device found. Next, the driver is duly installed after a waiting period, followed by a message that there's a problem with the device - "Replace it with another!" That's a silly suggestion, because that really makes no difference, nor does it soolve the problem. Have tried to update drivers for the devices on each port separately, testing each unknown device (which all used to be "recognized"). There is no exclamation mark in my device manager - only "unknown device".I have tried a system restore to a time when USB ports worked - same result. Apparently, this is a common problem with no easy fix, judging from the almost 2 million questions I googled. I've tried to remove the unknown device in task manager, with the same result: computer subsequently (including after reboot) detects hardware - driver installed- device not recognized.... I have of course tried to connect the devices using the USB ports on the back the computer as I realize that sometimes isn't enough power in the front USBs. If have tried to remove all USB devices and simply connect a single one. Same result. So I've come to a dead end. I have seen elsewhwere that desperate people have gone to great lengths, such as rolling back SP 2, reinstalling XP, making a clean install of XP on a wiped out computer, changing motherboard - only to end up with the same result, so that is definitely not my first solution. Hope someone can come up with a better solution. :-)
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Question by:Ejvind-1
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by:Callandor
ID: 16631354
I find that a lot of USB problems which occur where something used to work, but no longer does anymore are due to power problems, and you have unpowered USB drives, which mean they are drawing power from the port.  If they exceed the ability of the port to provide power (rated only at 5v and 500mA), they will fail to work.  To troubleshoot this, I recommend a powered USB hub to connect the devices to.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16631411
I just tried that. I added an external power supply to the hub, got the unknown device message at the right hand corne, and ended up with th same message in device manager: unknown device. Driver can't be installed if you try that.
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by:Callandor
ID: 16631461
The port itself may have been damaged.  I haven't tried this recently, but booting from a Knoppix CD will eliminate Windows drivers as the source, if the devices work with this CD.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16631566
I doubt it. The computer has four USB ports, I take it. Two at the front and to at the back. I have tested all of them and focus at the moment on the ones at the back. My testpiece is the only functioning USB device, viz. the TRADOS dongle which is a must if you try to run Translator's Workbench/Trados, which in my business is essential. This USB dongle works in all fourt ports. Another interesting point: the cradle for my memory stick works if I connect the USB dongle, But not if I connect the memory stick or the external drive. If I connect the USB dongle, the external drive(s) or the memory stick via the hub with/without external power supply, I end up with only "unknown devices". If I connect the external drive(s), the memory stick (and the hub) to either of the external ports I end up with "unknown devices" and can't access them.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 16631734
Do you have a different powered USB hub to try?  The need for the dongle indicates it is altering the signal by being in the circuit.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16632330
I have an old hub (1.1, I believe) at home, also with an option to add a power supply. Will try it in the morning. I'm not sure that I get you comment about the dongle "altering the signal by being in the circuit". Luckily the dongle works, but it tells me that there is something mysterious in the whole thing. Why does the dongle work when the memory stick doesn't? Neither of them have the option of an external power supply. Although I will give the old hub a try, it is highly mysterious to me. I haven't tried unticking the power monitor boxes for any prolonged period of time as I am unfamiliar with the implications. It might give rise to other and more serious problems perhaps?

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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 640 total points
ID: 16632897
If your USB controllers have a power saving feature (this may be the tick that you see), disable it - you don't want the USB ports powering off after a little time.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16633481
Okaaay! That might be the magic trick. I noticed that there was these power saving boxes on this particualr computer and that they were all ticked - the message is something like"Tick to allow the computer to switch off this port to save power" or something like that. So you think I should untick all ports, then? And, presumably, connecct the hub to a power supply to have a lifeline if the devices overwhelm the power supply? What exactly is the downside of unticking this option?
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by:Callandor
ID: 16633768
The downside is if you are running a laptop, it will use more power.  I also recommend a powered hub for stability and to avoid excess current draw.
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Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 16636297
sounds like your usb devices are corrupted in the registry, hence when you load one it finds the wrong driver & gives you error.  go into the devmgr (start - run - devmgmt.msc), uninstall all usb devices, reboot & allow xp to auto reinstall the drivers.

then try reconnecting one device at a time, if that doesn't work then you'll need to delete the registry entries for all usb devices located in hklm_currentcontrolset_enum_usb & usbstor, reboot when done, & xp will will autodetect usb controllers, & should detect usb devices correctly after connecting & installing one usb device at a time.
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 640 total points
ID: 16637417
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16637741
Thanks for the input. At the moment I have neither switched off the power saving feature nor tried Friar Tuk's or nobus' suggestions, as some new details have come up. To sum up the situation: The USB dongle works when connected to any port, including through a cradle (other devices do not if connected through cradle) A 2.0 hub w/w.o external power supply, a memory stick, an external drive with no power supply, an external drive w/ external power supply give the message: unknown device when connected. Each is lited in disk management. Connecting an old 1.1 hub to a port makes a world of difference. All are suddenly recognized. Even the 2.0 hub works when connected through the 1.1 hub. So the lifeline at the moment is the powered 1.1 hub. This makes me believe that the usb devices are not corrupted in the registry, because if the actually WERE corrupt, then connecting them through the 1.1 hub would give the message "unknown device" from the supposedly corrupt registry. The power saving box is still ticked and yet the devices work via the 1.1 hub. I tried switching off the power saving feature, but it made no difference. So status quo is: USB devices (execept USB dongle) all become "unknown devices" when connecting to a port (with or without external power supply if available), only to magically becoming "known devices" when connecting through a powered 1.1 old hub. Wauw. What a challenge.
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by:nobus
ID: 16637828
try this then :
navigate to  :   HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
Delete  All of the \DosDevices\ ... values correspond to external usb drives/keys/thumbdrives etc
then reboot and test
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16637915
I am a bit nervous whenever I have to make drastic changes in registry. Only to often I have ended up going from bad to worse. Is this a foolproof solution? Could you give me exact instructions on how to locate them - AND to make the necessary backup if disaster strikes?
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by:nobus
ID: 16638032
it's all in my post.
if you're unsure, buckup the registry first.
the change does not change anything, it only deletes the entries for the known usb devices.
By reconnecting, it will reinstall
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by:nobus
ID: 16638038
But why do you ask, since you accepted another answer ???
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16638313
Sorry - that was a mistake. This is my first time on experts-exchange, and accidentally did that. Was just checking the function...It's still on. Okay. Will try
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by:FriarTuk
ID: 16638324
to unaccept the answer & reopen the question, you need to ask a 0 point question in community support asking so.

plz try suggestions & get back to us, as it is harder for us when we can rule things out.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16638420
I have done that now under community and will get back when I have tried them out.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16638607
Checked Registry as suggested by nobus. The values A,C,D,E,F must represent the usual A-drive, C/D drive (my harddisk), while E and F represent the external drive and memory stick, as these are the letters assigned to them repsectively Being careful as I am I only deleted F. Then connected the memory stick (= old F) to a port and got the message - device unknown. As I see it, deleting these keys is not the solution, as the ports still won't accept the USB devices as they used to. The issue seems somehow to be - why will USB devices work ONLY through an old 1.1 externally powered hub whereas they used to work from any port or the 2.0 hub? What sort of magic does the old 1.1 have since it works and seems to be the ONLY access point to any port. The registry can't be corrupt because then the devices wouldn't be accepted whether I connected them directly to a port or through a hub. And this goes for all the USB devices in play - except the USB dongle that seems to live its own eternal life and happily accepts any port as things are
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by:nobus
ID: 16638667
ok - if you do it your way, have anice day . . .
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16638817
No offense. I was simply trying to say that I tried the delete registry value suggestion, and it made no difference. The E & F - devices remained unknown, but became known through the 1.1-hub only.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 16639127
what happens is that XP registers every usb device with a unique entry. if 1 entry becomes void here, you loose access to the entire usb register. That is why it can help deleting allthe dos . . .\usb devices.
It depends on what happened exactly if it works or not. up to now, i have not seen 1 real answer for all usb problems, other than reinstalling completely.
If you put another USB hub in between, all your usb devices become new, and register as new again.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16639229
okay - that makes sense. I tried to delete the only two dos...\usb devices in registry, but I ended up in the same situation. I tried several combinations - after deleting E + F (only USB devices - A,C,D are floppy disk + fixed discs) - result: connecting to a port gave "unknown device" in each instance. Also tried, after getting "unknown device" via port to go via 1.1 hub, which duly recognized and installed new hardware, and then going back to the same port to retry whether it would recognize the device it recognized via the 1.1 hub. It seems a Catch 22 situation somehow..
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16639677
Still pondering. Ran a Driver Detective scan after dowloading program to see if computer is right in detecting "unknown devices" with no driver loaded when connecting directly to a port. All of the following gave a green light:

USB-controllere
 Standard USB-hub    
 USB-lagerenhed    
 Rainbow USB SuperPro    
 USB-sammensat enhed    
 SiS PCI til USB-udvidet værtscontroller    
 USB-rodhub    
 Ukendt enhed    
 SiS 7001 PCI til USB-åben værtscontroller    
 DiskOnKey USB personlig lagerenhed    
 Maxtor OneTouch  

So - apparently, drivers are okay, which using a 1.1 hub proves, while connecting directly to any port makes the device unknown. The magic wand lies somewhere in the 1.1 hub? But why the hell (sorry!) lies the problem...
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 16639772
>>  But why the hell (sorry!) lies the problem...  <<  read my post : i have not seen an answer to all those USB problems, only partial ones, that work in some situations, and not in another
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16639833
It was just a cry of desperation....I still hope I can find the secret passage to the secrect of the pharaos.
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by:nobus
ID: 16639980
me too ! still waiting for the final fix
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Assisted Solution

by:FriarTuk
FriarTuk earned 640 total points
ID: 16644412
try deleting the all references to any usb device that is not a controller or hub root as i suggested on 9/8/06 from:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB
expand each item starting with VID~ selecting the next folder under each will show DevDesc in right pane

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USBSTOR
expand each item starting with Disk&Ven~ selecting the next folder under each to show DevDesc on right

also delete from:                          controlset001
                                                   controlset002

After rebooting XP will add back anything currently connected.  The connect each usb dev 1 at a time to see if it will autodetect & load the correct drivers successfully.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16646156
I will give it a try when I have completed a major project. I do not dare getting caught in a situation with more trouble than I have now having a deadline. But will surely be back
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Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 16689034
hey ejvind, what's the status?
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16689073
I'm still working on the major project and won't dare to be losing half a day if anything goes wrong. But the moment it is over, I'll be trying you suggestions. Too dangerous to be dependent on an old 1.1 hub as the only lifeline. Come to think of another thing re the dongle that does work in all ports. Have asked Trados whether it could be a 1.1 dongle. No answer yet. That could explain why only dongle and 1.1 hub work in 2.0 ports.
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16717431
Hi

Now the project is over and I tried friar tuks suggestion of 05/09/2006 05:44PM PDT and 05/08/2006 08:36PM PDT but am back to square one. XP duly autodetected usb controllers and loaded drivers, but I ended up in the same cul-de-sac as before with identical error messages, so clearly it must be something else. The lifeline, my old 1.1 USB hub, is the sole access point and works flawlessly, as does my USB dongle (possibly a 1.1USB token).

Any other suggestions?
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Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 16723381
remind me
are the usb ports that aren't working built into the pc or on a separate pci card?  if they are built in they could be bad.  try purchasing a pci card with usb2 ports.  then hook a few of your usb2 dev's straight to it.  if ok, try connecting the usb2 hub  to the usb2 pci crd & connect your other dev's to it.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Ejvind-1 earned 80 total points
ID: 16850198
Hi
My USB 2.0 ports are back. Simply buying a PCI card  taught the computer manners, because it suddenly decided to recognzie USB devices again. Without my installing it or doing anything else!!! In some mysterious way they began working yesterday when I connected a USB device (as I have done countless times before to no avail) BEFORE even attempting to installing the PCI card. Suddenly - with no explanation - the system recognized every USB device I chose to plug in, including the 2.0 hub that it previously refused to recognzie!!! Which means, that I am still sitting with the PCI card without having tried that solution. Should the USB ports fail again I will give it a try.

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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 16851407
Good to know  !  did youupgrade or install something yesterday?
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16851974
I have been thinking the same and searched my mind.No, not knowingly. No new programs installed. I have used the search function to determine what has been changed from a point in time when it did not work and to the time when it suddenly worked. The only potential thing could be McAfee Virus Scan updates. Apart from that I can't pinpoint it. How strange!!!
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 16852419
could be something malfunctioning, that started functioning again . .
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16852439
Yeah - I sure hope that the system stays healthy. It probably recovered from the same flu that I had for the last week or so ;-)
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Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 16885994
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16893386
A week after the problem disappeared as mysteriously as it occurred, things seem to be running normally. USB devices work. USB 2.0 hub works. So, having read the help guideline I guess the question is now ripe for closing. I believe that I have responded to all suggestions, none of which provided the solution. The only thing I didn't try, was installing a new PCI card, as the system began working again after my ordering a PCI card, so I never installed it. The problem is which comment to accept, is it a split decision among honorable comments, or what? The rules do not appear to have a clear answer to that issue. Please advise me how t close this 'USB device not recognized' question that resolved itself in a mysterious way.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 16895947
Wait till the Q mysteriously closes itself --   :-))
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Author Comment

by:Ejvind-1
ID: 16903744
Hi

I would like to have the question closed. Please share the points among the contributing experts as an appreciation of their help
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