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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    HP Compaq XP Pro USB ports malfunctioning

    Hey all,

    I recently started working at a law office in which an HP Compaq dc7100 Convertible Minitower (CMT) is used to store client's files. Sometimes, clients will bring in information on a USB thumb drive, which I found no one can access. It appears that the computer's USB ports will not recognize USB drives, and I have been assigned to resolve the problem, sadly enough.

    I've tried almost everything I can think of, but I can't get the irrepressible ports to work at all! They work fine with a USB mouse and printer, but they will not respond to any thumb drive, regardless of port. I always get the "a USB device not recognized" error, even though I know the thumb drive is fine. The computer is running Windows XP Pro SP3 with all updates installed. I've double checked Windows Update for any USB driver updates, but no luck. I've also tried:

    1.) Checking the computer's OEM webpage for any USB driver updates or other driver downloads for the machine. I did download and install the latest update for the system BIOS and the chipset driver, as I felt those were two of the most important driver updates the site offered, but no luck.

    2.) I deleted the USB thumb drive's driver in Device Manager, entitled "Unknown Device" and removed and reinserted the device in all the USB ports, but the "Unknown Device" driver is always installed.

    3.) I deleted all USB drivers and the hubs from Device Manager and rebooted, letting Windows find and install all the USB drivers again, with no luck.

    4.) I even got sneaky and selected the "Show hidden devices" option in Device Manager, and deleted all the "ghost" USB device drivers that were grayed out, and rebooted as well, but that didn't help.

    5.) I took step four to the next level and downloaded and ran USBDeview, which is a handy utility to view all installed and connected USB devices on the machine, including their drivers. I selected all the USB devices that did not have drivers installed or were not working properly, including the "Unknown Device" entry, and deleted those, and restarted Windows. It was an exercise in futility.

    6.) I ran AVG PC Tuneup (which was already installed on the PC) as well as downloading, installing, and running CCleaner. I cleared out all temp files and other junk, and cleaned the registry with both utilities, on the off-chance that there was a bad registry key. I also checked the volume for errors, but CHKDSK found none.

    7.) I downloaded and ran a couple of Microsoft Fix-its: 50606 & 50052 from Microsoft's Knowledge-base that claimed to address the problem, but they didn't do anything.

    8.) As a desperate measure, I downloaded and installed a third-party driver locator and installer, which I'm loathe to do. I got the free version of DriverMax, and had it scan the system. It found updates for all the USB hubs, but even after downloading and installing the drivers and then rebooting, it didn't change anything.

    9.) I've read in a couple of websites on the subject that sometimes unplugging and walking away from the computer for a few minutes can help, as it resets the motherboard controller and refreshes the USB controllers. So I powered down and unplugged the machine for a couple of minutes. It didn't work for me.

    I'm really out of ideas here; usually one of the above methods will fix the problem, but in this case the USB ports remain as stubborn as ever. Based upon my above approach, there are a few things I've concluded: the hubs do work, because the printer and mouse work and install in any port without issue; it isn't a BIOS issue, because I checked the BIOS to see if the USB devices were disabled, and there was no such option; additionally, the BIOS recognized the USB thumb drive when it was connected after I selected the "Boot Order" option.

    I think it may be a driver issue, because when I checked the "Unknown Device" entry in Device Manager, the status box reported that the driver for the device was not installed. Now I have no idea how that might have happened; I've checked with everyone who used the machine before I did if the ports ever worked, and they reported that they didn't know anything about it and that as far as they knew, the USB ports for thumb drives never worked on the computer.

    I checked the system's spec page and found that all the USB ports supported USB 2.0, so it wasn't a power draw problem, especially since the error persisted after I plugged the thumb drive into the rear ports.

    According to this helpful Microsoft Support Article, one of the issues that can affect USB efficacy in XP is a "malfunctioning, incorrectly-configured, or missing device driver." That sounds like my most likely issue, so I wouldn't be surprised if that were the culprit, rather than a corrupt registry entry or a bad USB hub or controller.

    Would anyone have a driver or a link to a driver download page that would have a USB thumb drive device driver for XP that I could install? Maybe that would help me, since I'm out of ideas. Any other suggestions are whole-heartedly welcomed!
    Last edited by Diogones; 2012-05-07 at 12:41.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
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    Look for a chipset update for that computer.
    And also make sure that someone hasn't previously decided to ban (via a software program installed on the PC)
    all use of USB ext. or thumb drives for the very reasons your wanting to get them working now.

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