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problem getting dos to recognise my usb

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I am about to restore my xp home after a fatal crash, safe mode is not working.

I now need to backup my data, but dos is not recognising my usb when I connect the external drive to my
notebook. I tried using Hirens boot cd wich has some Dos drivers for USB but they are not functioning.

I have used both Panasonics USBASPI ASPI Manager for USB mass-storage Version 2.20 &
duse.exe both come up with error message.
The error message they bring up is simply says,"error loading usbaspi driver".

However, Duse.exe says the same thing, but it knows there is something plugged in , in the usb, but the problem is 3 seconds latter it says "failed to detect usb storage device."

The weird thing is if I pull my external hdd
usb out, it says "usb unplugged". When I put it back in again ,it says "detected usb storage device", 3 sec later back to "failed to detect usb storage device".
I would like to know why this happens and how to remedy this. I also would like to know what drive letter the usb would be on
if the driver loaded successfully.

e: is used by the cd
a: I have no floppy
c: my hdd
d: 2nd partition on c
r: the ram produced by the programs on the cd

Also I would like to know how much free space I am suppose to have on c: and d: ?
both still have 1.7gig of free space.
But when I run scanreg from dos it says
either delete some files or restore xp, so
Im assuming 1.7gig is still plenty of space.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Well to back up files i would try and get hold of a live CD of linux(you can download them get them shipped free which takes a while or buy them) i would get a friend to download and burn you a copy of ubuntu. Then from there copy files from the internal HD to the external.

Also free space wise if you reinstall it wont matter because the drive will be wiped first.
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