Front USB port causing abnormal shutdown and restart

This USB port and external drive have been fine together until today when I plugged in the USB external Passport drive, it caused the system to shutdown /reboot and show the abnormal shutdown screen.  Tried 3 times, same process.  No problem using this drive on another computer.

Some research pointed to possible grounding or static issues, but don't understand how this type of problem happens when no changes have been made, nothing moved, and the environment is the same.  There are two USB ports in front, one for the USB wireless mouse and it functions fine, the other is the one which is causing the shutdown.  I'm pretty sure the Power Supply is large enough to accommodate all the USB elements.

This is Windows 7 Ultimate.

Any ideas?  What to check?

Thanks,

Asta
LVL 27
Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designAsked:
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bigeven2002Commented:
Hello,

If you haven't already, can you try plugging the external drive into the same port as the wireless mouse and have it boot.  The front USB ports are on the same wire.

Will the system boot with the external drive removed?  If so, in Windows, first check the event log for any bluescreen events.  If there are, they shoudl provide a clue as to what happened.

If you cannot find any events, hold down the windows key and press pause.  In the system window, go to advanced system settings. advanced tab, startup and recovery settings.  Uncheck the box for automatically restart for system failure.

Now, try to boot normally with the external drive and see if it triggers a blue screen.  If so, make note of what you can to diagnose.

Lastly, you can try system restore to return the system to the prior day when it was working fine.  Then try again.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
To say things haven't changed is like saying you haven't aged any... Components do age and sometimes fail.  Does the drive work on a back panel USB port?  Does the wireless mouse work on the port that seems to have a problem?  Does anything else work on that port?
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rknetworkCommented:
There is only one good reason for it - your computer case is cheap and USB ports a glitchy. This always happens on cheap computer cases.
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wolfcamelCommented:
i really think this sounds like a faulty port - i agree with dave - electronic things can choose to go faulty just randomly without any obvious cause - and your socket may have been very close to shorting for some time, but recent small temperature changes may hav made it stretch or shrink enough to make contact.
If all other ports work ok with this device then the cheapest/quickest solution may be a USB hub from the back and sit it in some convenient spot. and to stop you accidentally using the faulty socket again disconnect it internally
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web_trackerComputer Service TechnicianCommented:
You have proved that the drive is not faulty by plugging the drive into another computer, and plugging it into the back usb ports, so you are right it is not a problem with the drive.

I agree the one front usb port could be bad, causing your sytem to freezeup. Like others have mentioned try using another usb device in this one possibly bad front usb port to see if your system still freezes up with a new device plugged into the port. This will confirm that the one front port is bad. If you know that the usb port is bad don't use it. You can put a piece of tape over it to discourage people from plugging anything into it. you can use a usb hub as suggested by wolf but you wanted you can even plug the usb hub into your one working front usb port. A usb hub can give you another four usb ports that you can use for other things including your usb external drive and your wireless receiver for your mouse.
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nobusCommented:
FRONT port & USB external Passport drive make me think of power problems
i NEVER connect an USB disk without it's own power supply to USB
if it does not have it's own power, you will easily overload USB chip  -it delivers MAX 5V at0.5 A = 2.5 W MAX
if the FRONT USB has that problem, it can be itt does work on the rear ports - but it MEANS it's "on the edge"
i suggest to use a powered usb  hub like : http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=158910
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Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.  This is a WD My Passport SE which has performed flawlessly on 6 different computers including the one yesterday which bombed.  After removing the drive and rebooting in Windows normally due to the problem lockup and shutdown, the system worked as usual, without it plugged in.  Here's where things have changed:

Arrived this morning, turned it on without that drive connected and the system did an immediate shutdown.  Tried again, same thing.  Tried 3rd time to boot in SAFE MODE, nothing, just churning.  Tried now turning off the large display and that is unresponsive.

Doesn't this sound like a Power Supply issue?

Will return here this afternoon and take things apart.

Thanks, more when I can.
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nobusCommented:
if your power supply outputs less power (eg - due to aging) the USB power will be less too
that's also why i recommend the powered USB hub - to be power independent
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Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designAuthor Commented:
It is definitely the Power Supply.... back soon, thanks again
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Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designAuthor Commented:
Installing a 500 W power supply to replace the 400 W to see if it's adequate.
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nobusCommented:
don't forget you still need the powered hub...if you want it to be reliable
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Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designAuthor Commented:
This is my brother's system and the Power Supply died, replaced it with a 500W one and all things function as expected.  I recall he had some USB3 item installed recently, but not sure.  

When you talk about a powered hub, are you talking about some other external unit?
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nobusCommented:
i wonder if people read my posts...i posted the link to one in my very first post...
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Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designAuthor Commented:
Gotcha, nobus, people do. LOL

http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=158910

Day late dollar short.  Will discuss with my brother when he returns.  $50 doesn't sound out of reach, but not my call.  Checking back to finalize when I return to his system.
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nobusCommented:
FYI astaec (and i did not mean it harsh, but i see it often - you post a link, and the asker doesnot look into it..
i found it works reliable with all my disks
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Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designAuthor Commented:
My suspicion that it was a Power Supply issue was confirmed and was, in fact, the problem All USB ports remain stable and fine.

thanks for all your insights.
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nobusCommented:
forgive me if you find me pushing, but DO USE a powered hub !
if not , you risk :
-the problem returns
-overload the usb =  bad motherboard....
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