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Troubleshoot USB in Windows 98 SE and Windows Me

August 20th, 2009

USB Troubleshoot There is little that you can do to control or configure USB devices. You can usually isolate most USB problems to one of these conditions.

  • Malfunctioning or incorrectly configured hardware
  • Malfunctioning, incorrectly configured, or missing device driver
  • Mismatched cabling
  • Out-of-date firmware on motherboard or system’s basic input/output system (BIOS)
  • Improperly configured PCI or imbedded USB host adapter

Malfunctioning or Incorrectly Configured Hardware If you plug a malfunctioning or incorrectly configured USB Storage Device into a USB port, the computer may stop responding (hang). Most of the time you need only physically turn off the computer, wait a moment, then back on to reset the bus. If another computer is available that you know is working correctly; plug the Personal Storage Device or PCI card into that computer to see if the problem follows or goes away.

  • If the Maxtor Personal Storage Device is routed through a secondary USB hub, plug the drive directly into the embedded or PCI USB controller.
  • Check Device Manager to be certain the USB hub is functioning correctly. If you see an exclamation point in a yellow circle, confirm system BIOS is assigning an interrupt request (IRQ) to the USB controller. This is required for the device driver to load.Malfunctioning, Incorrectly Configured, or Missing Device Driver
    When you install a USB PCI card or plug in a Personal Storage Device, the computer should load and configure the device and never request a device driver. All the drivers you need are in the Windows CD. If the computer prompts you for a device driver, confirm that PCI/USB card or embedded USB controller is correctly listed in Device Manager.Mismatched Cabling There are two types of USB cables, high speed and low speed. Low-speed cables (USB1.0) differ from high-speed cables (USB2) primarily in signal shielding. If you plug a Maxtor USB2 Personal storage device or Maxtor USB2 PCI accessory using a low-speed cable, this can cause signal distortion. Verify the entire USB chain is working correctly. Be certain that a device that requires power from the hub (mouse or keyboard) is not plugged into the chain on the other side of a non-powered hub. If the USB port is powered (PCI or embedded chip-set), verify the computer power supply is working properly.

    Incorrectly Configured Root Hub USB controllers require a dedicated IRQ (system interrupt) assignment. The PCI specification allows the motherboard manufacturer to determine the IRQ assignment for each PCI device. Usually IRQ 9 is assigned. The IRQ line is assigned in the computer’s BIOS. Check with the motherboard / computer manufacturer for the specific PCI configuration details of your system.

    There are several ways to enter the setup depending on your computer make and model. Usually on initial power up there is a message stating Press DEL to enter Setup or similar phrase. If you are not sure how to enter setup, see the system manual or seek assistance from the BIOS or motherboard manufacturer.

    Go to the Integrated Peripherals section and disable both Serial ports if you are not using them. Go to the PnP/PCI section and enable PnP OS, Auto and Reset Configuration Data. This releases the BIOS lock on system resources –allows operating system control. Go to the Power Management section. Disable all power management. This is a common source of intermittent errors.

    Shut down the computer and unplug any USB devices. Re-start the computer and immediately enter Windows Safe Mode (F8 at start-up). DO NOT allow the computer to boot fully to the operating system. If this happens, press ctrl /alt /delete at the same time to restart the computer; re-enter Safe Mode. Go to Add/Remove Programs. Remove all references to USB software. Open Device Manager. Remove the USB root hub and any PCI USB host controllers. Remove all duplicate or erroneous USB drivers. Windows will reinstall genuine device drivers. If you see SB16 emulation drivers (DOS sound support), disable them (do not remove) from this hardware profile. Most don’t need them. While still in Safe Mode, go to System Devices and disable Advanced Power Management support. Remove any drivers for device sharing. Windows should reinstall the drivers automatically. Now you have freed up two or three IRQs and reset Windows IRQ assignments. Reboot the computer and re-install devices.

    If this article does not describe your issue, click here to view the Microsoft Windows 98 and Windows Me Hardware/Device Driver Troubleshooting Resource Center.

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