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USB Mass Storage Device intermittently "not recognized" upon insertion

Posted on 2009-03-29
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
My USB Flash Drive works 99 out of 100 times when it is plugged in.  The 1% of the time, a bubble comes up "USB Device Not Recognized".  When I look in the Device Manager, the device shows the Vendor ID and Product ID are all zeroes.  (See attached Screen Shots .BMP) I know that re-plugging it solves the problem, but I am looking for any assistance on where I can look to completely eliminate that 1% of the cases where it is not recognized.  I have a number of identical fobs and a number of very similar PCs - I have not been able to determine that the problem is particular to specific device(s) or specific PC(s).  I have spent a lot of time re-plugging prior to seeing it again, so it is not a question of the port "going to sleep" or it not having enough drive current (it is the only device outside of USB keyboard/mouse.)  There is no read/write activity during plug/unplug, I am just attempting to get them to enumerate correctly 100% of the time.  During "re-cycling" it is not plugged in again until the "ding" happens indicating it was successfully removed.  The PCs are HP tower models that are less than 1 year old, so the BIOS, OS and hardware (including USB connector) are as up to date as reasonably could be expected.  
USB-Device-Not-Recognized.bmp
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Question by:KeyMan98
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by:warturtle
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Hmm... I think it could be a power managment thing, check within Device Manager for any power-related settings. Read the below article for more info:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/871233

Another thing you can try is scanning for viruses by downloading MalwareBytes Anti-Malware(http://malwarebytes.org/) , updating it and scanning with it.

Hope it helps.
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by:warturtle
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Most likely the USB hub was turned off to save power and as soon as you plugged it in, it didn't pick up immediately on it.
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by:KeyMan98
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Thanks guys, but I think I can rule out your suggestions because of the following:
*  The computer is not in standby, hibernation, or USB power save mode - it is sitting there logged in to XP and it just worked with the fob literally seconds before
*  The computer is in a tightly controlled environment and is absolutely never used for internet access or e-mail.
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by:liguru
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I found 2 possible solutions:
1. Use the Device Manager to scan for new and recently installed hardware. From the start menu, select the 'Run' option. In the pop up box, type in Devmgmt.msc and then click 'Ok'. From the 'Action' Mmnu, click 'scan for hardware changes'. This will make Windows recognize any new devices that are installed. Now, close all device managers and control panels. Now see if your computer will read the USB device.

If that doesn't work, here is another option you can try:

Disable power management of the USB hub. To disable the power management on the USB hub, follow these steps:

    * Click Start, and then click Run.
    * Type devmgmt.msc in the Open box, and then click OK.
    * Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers' node, and then follow these steps for each USB Root Hub that is listed:
    * Right-click the USB Root Hub and then click Properties.
    * Click the Power Management tab.
    * Click to clear the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power check box, and then click OK.
hope this helps!
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by:warturtle
warturtle earned 125 total points
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Hmm.. I am going to suggest that you uninstall all of the USB devices listed under "Universal Serial Bus controllers" in Device Manager, and then reboot. On reboot, Windows will add them back and install default drivers for all of them, then as soon as that is done, plug in a USB flash drive or USB hard drive for testing and see if it is working or not.
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by:liguru
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I think he's look for a solution that doesn't require a re-boot.  Thus the "scan for hardware changes" option.  
But it is probably easiest if he can simply unplug the usb device and plug it back in.

But,  most likely it is a power issue, as you mentioned, that's why there is the suggestion to check the Power Management for each USB hub.
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by:KeyMan98
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Thanks guys, I'll work on that tomorrow when I get in to work and let you know.
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by:Thomas4019
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I have had a flash drive occasionaly say not recognized as well. It continuosly got worse and happened more often. Then it started doing nothing when i plugged it in. Now the flash drive is completely useless. My flash drive was a Sandisk 4GB with the retractable USB connector. I am fairly sure it was the connections inside the drive getting lose and needing to be in a certain position to get power properly.
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by:warturtle
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Yes, that is exactly the only thing happening here, I believe because the drive works 99 out of 100 times. If the flash drive is not being inserted horizontally (straight), then it might not be able to make contact with the metal bits and that could have been the problem.
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by:KeyMan98
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Hi Guys,
I could see how contact could be suspected here, but It seems that would not explain why the device is "seen" by the OS...  XP says that it  "sees" the device, it just  doesn't "recognize" it.  If the contacts were not engaged, how could it do that?  My suspicion is that some layer of the machine (BIOS, OS, USB controller, Interrupts, etc.) was "Busy" at the precise instant of insertion and it failed to receive or to buffer the information it needed to properly determine what the device is.  I think it's a fairly big deal for the OS to "mount a drive" and if even one bit is "missed", it might just throw up its hands and say "not recognized" - after all, it is saying "unknown device", it is not saying "gee, there's a drive out there, but it's behaving weirdly so I don't know what to do."  

Pesky problem, huh?  I'm still interested in all theories - I believe this root of this problem lies very deep within the system somewhere betwenen the physical layer (electrical usb interface" and the lower levels of the OS (peripheral controller chips, interrupt timing, etc)...  Maybe the question is beyond the scope of this forum, but I thought I would try it.  What do you guys think - Do all of the symptoms lead you there too?

Thanks to all for your inputs!
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by:Thomas4019
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I think the problem resides with the electrical contacts inside your USB device. Like part of the connections inside are severed. So then the computer can tell something that is taking power has been plugged in, but it wont function. I have had a drive say "usb drive not recognized" then when i bent it or compressed it as i plugged it in. Then it would function perfectly fine.

I would try and see if it has something to do with how the Flash Drive is inserted and where pressure is being applied as you insert it.

Also, if you have anything you need on the drive, i would back it up, i suspect you drive will get worse.
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by:Thomas4019
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Also, note how in your BMP, windows itself concludes that your device is malfunctioning.
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by:warturtle
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Yes, I too feel that Thomas has pointed out the root cause of the problem. Because if the power supply is fine and there are no viruses either, then it could be just the way the USB flash drive is plugged into the USB port.
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by:KeyMan98
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Thomas 4019, What is BMP?  I'm not familiar with that acronym?  I'm focusing on trying to determine exactly how Windows draws its conclusion that the device is unrecognized, and that sounds like a window into that decision.  I have been researching the specific errors that trigger the "unrecognized" error message, and haven't been able to find any information out there about what explicit conditions cause Windows to issue which errors...

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by:Thomas4019
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By "BMP", i meant the screenshot you uploaded was a bitmap file ".bmp". I really expect that there is nothing wrong with you computer. Maybe you could try using a different flash drive for a while, they are awfully cheap.

However, it could be some malfunction in your system. I have had a computer with 1 USB port in the front and 4 in back. Whenever i plugged 1 into the front all back ports immedialy became "unrecognized and malfunctioning devices". But i really think its just a problem with your flash drive.
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by:devgolani
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Hello,
I have heard this solution from others..That if we use USB 2.0,then we never get this error..and when we use USB 1.0,then we have this problem.But sometimes It detects many USB components,but at somepoints,its not compitable with USB 2.0,so it displays the error message,it many a times work if you take out the usb and insert the component again..
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KeyMan98 earned 0 total points
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Thanks for your inputs guys. At this time, we are focusing on Windows XP SP2 and the hotfix that is given on 920875 ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/920875/ ) titled:  
"USB devices that are disconnected and then reconnected to a USB hub may not be detected on a Windows XP-based computer. "
It came to light that the machine is SP2 (per company policy) and that adding the hotfix has greatly improved the USB memory device recognition performance.  Since this is an intermittent problem, we can't say for sure until we get a lot more "plug-in cycles", but this seems to have helped.   I will return with results (and points!) once it is more definitive.


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by:liguru
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Are you putting the USB device into a Hub?  or directly into the pc?  
I am of the theory that when dealing with PC's sometimes things just can't be explained exactly......things just seem to happen "when the moon is full and the sky is gray"  LOL.
It could be a loose connection, it could be the connectors are dirty, it could be a power issue it could be that it is a PC and PC's have issues from time to time.
You just need to find the "work around" that is the least problematic!  So, unplugging it and re-inserting might just be the only answer that makes sense and the only solution that works all the time!
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