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USB / startup woes


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#1
Prog_Frog

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Hey all -

Our Dell notebook hangs on startup when we have all of our USB devices plugged in (I get a black screen, and I don't think I see the Windows screen/hear the startup tune). We have four USB ports, currently set up like this:

back left - USB hub with four ports (TV tuner, scanner, remote sensor, empty)
back right - keyboard (via an adapter, this is an older PS/2 keyboard but the notebook doesn't have a PS/2 port)
right-hand top - empty
right-hand bottom - printer

Two slots are open for a flash drive and a wireless mouse but these get plugged in after startup. When we try to play around with different configurations, things get worse, with devices not being recognized. Also, the scanner's power light oddly often turns OFF when we plug it in to the USB hub, and ON when we unplug it; when this happens we can't use the scanner and have to shut down and try again.

Don't know if this helps with diagnosis, but this only happened after we moved our set up from one room to another, and probably put all the USB devices in different ports / parts of the hub (due to not remembering how we had it prior).

Called Dell but they were unhelpful, suggesting we should just start-up with all USB devices unplugged, then plug everything in later. This usually does get us into Windows but some USB devices still give us problems / don't work when we do plug them in (like the scanner as noted above) and it's a real hassle and we never had any problems before.

I've got a Dell Inspiron E1505 notebook, running Windows XP Media Center Edition. Let me know if you need more info.

Thanks in advance for any help!

~Doug
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#2
Prog_Frog

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In case it matters, this is the USB hub, a Targus:

http://image.shopzil...0&uid=455011826
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#3
Samm

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Hi there

Can you tell me, out of the 3 devices which are connected to the hub, which (if any) have their own power supply?

The hub you have isn't self-powered, which means its drawing all its power from the USB port alone. One port provides 500mA. This is then shared between the hub itself and potentially 3 other devices (unless any of these are self-powered).

If you disconnect the hub (and the scanner/tuner/sensor with it, obviously), leaving just the keyboard & printer connected, does the laptop boot normally?
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#4
Prog_Frog

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Hi, Samm -

The scanner has its own power supply. The tuner and sensor do not. I will try starting up with printer and keyboard but not the USB hub and attached components, and check back.

Thanks for your help.

~Doug
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#5
Prog_Frog

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Yes, Samm, at least this time, the PC did load up fine with the USB hub disconnected. Next steps?

Thanks!

~Doug
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#6
Samm

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OK, cool.

What I would suggest in that case, is rearranging the way the USB devices are connected. Try this:

Port 1 - printer
Port 2 - scanner
Port 3 - hub with keyboard & TV Tuner
Port 4 - sensor

There's no particular order to these i.e port 1 can be any of the 4 available ports and so on.
The idea is simply to spread the load better.

Let me know if this helps
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#7
Prog_Frog

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Thanks. Unfortunately, when I did this as recommended, the computer hung - giving me the near-black screen, where I had to hold down the power button to shut the PC off. Tried it several times and same result each time.
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#8
Samm

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Hi. Ok, what about connecting one device at a time?
i.e start with just the keyboard connected & make sure the system boots ok. If it does, then go into device manager (Start->Run..->devmgmt.msc) & make sure that there are no devices with a yellow (!) mark on them.

If device manager looks ok, then try connecting another device & rebooting. Continue like this until the system stops working again. At that point, the last device that you connected is probably the one causing the problem.

Let me know what happens
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#9
Prog_Frog

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OK, will try. Thank you. In the meantime, I already see one device with the yellow "!" mark in Device Manager: Other Devices > Parallel Device (denoted by a big yellow "?"). When I right-click Properties, it says "unknown" and "not available" for many fields. I didn't know if I should try some of the other options (Update Driver, Uninstall, etc.) - I haven't yet.
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#10
Prog_Frog

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Update:

(1) startup with keyboard in one USB port - fine; checked D.M. - only same ! as mentioned above; I should note that Device Status for this item says:

"The drivers for this device are not installed. (Code 28)"

(2) startup with keyboard and TV tuner - fine; checked D.M. - same. BUT I decided to click View > Show Hidden Devices and there are two more !s:

> Parallel Port Driver with the following message under Device Status:

"This device is not present, is not working properly, or does not have all its drivers installed. (Code 24)"

> UDNT, with same message as above.


...will keep adding devices and report back.
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#11
Prog_Frog

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Update...

(3) startup with previous devices plus remote sensor - fine; checked D.M., no change
(4) startup with previous plus empty USB hub in final port - fine; checked D.M., no change
(5) startup with previous plus printer in hub - fine; Found New Hardware button popped on briefly; checked D.M., no change
(6) startup with previous plus scanner in hub - fine; Found New Hardware button popped up, recognizing scanner; checked D.M., no change
(7) one last startup with all, as in (6) above - fine; interestingly, Found New Hardware popped up again, recognizing printer, and a dialog box asking to install printer driver popped up; I allowed it to download the driver; checked D.M., no change.

So at the moment, everything seems to be working. I'll let you know if this changes. Also let me know if it'd be a good idea to do anything with those ! items in D.M.

Thanks!
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#12
Samm

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Apologies for the delay in replying - been without Internet for the last few days

Re. the parallel device question - this normally relates to a parallel printer although in your case it would seem that your printer is USB. Do have anything connected to the parallel port at all? If not, then you could try disabling the parallel port in the bios if you like but I doubt it's going to cause a major problem either way.
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#13
Prog_Frog

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OK. Well, everything seems to be working great now, so I'm not going to fiddle with it. Thanks for your help, Samm! :)
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#14
Samm

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You're very welcome
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