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Error messages, and a heap of trouble

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Hey guys.

I'm having some problems that I'm not sure if they're related, and I don't even know how to find out exactly what is causing the problems. So I'm just going to throw it all out here and see if anybody can help.

First off, I'm having trouble with a Western Digital USB hard drive. When I try to download files to it, or burn files from it, I get messages such as "Semaphore timeout error" or "delayed write failed" or more commonly, "the request could not be completed because of an I'O device error." The drive was fine up until a couple months ago. Thinking that my USB ports may be overloaded, I bought a powered USB hub, but it didn't help. I've used TuneUp Utilities to clean the registry and do a few things, but that didn't help either. I don't think the problem is the hard drive itself because I've also had some trouble with a USB wireless internet adapter I have. But I could be wrong.

Additionally, and possibly unrelated, is a problem with Windows Updates. Several months ago, I installed some Windows Updates as usual. Then the box came up asking if I want to restart so the updates take effect, so I clicked Restart Now. After rebooting, the "Restart Now/Restart Later" box came back up, and no matter how many times I restart, it always comes back. I've had to disable Windows Updates all together to keep the "Restart" box from coming back. I've edited the registry, and ran "chkdsk /r" from the Run box, but that didn't help either.

Also, sometimes my computer seems to lock up when I close programs. For instance, I'll go to close Nero or UTorrent, but instead of closing right away, the program seems to lock up. I then open the task manager and try to use "End Now," but that won't work either. And eventually nothing will work and I have to shut down the computer by holding down the power button.

So... if anybody could propose a possible solution (or even an idea of what the actual problem is) I would be extremely grateful.

I'm running WindowsXP SP2 on a Dell desktop computer. If you need any more information, just let me know.
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Hi TheAaron...

Usually the errors you're seeing with the external drive are caused by a bad cable or a USB controller that's not running up to specs.

These errors can also be caused by a bad IDE cable...or using a 40 pin cable where a newer 80 pin cable is required.

There may also be malware involved, so it might be a good idea to rule that out first. Please go to the Malware Forum and follow the instructions you'll find there.

That will give you several steps that will help you clean up 70 percent of all problems by yourself. If at the end of the process you are still having difficulty--and you may not be-- post a hijackthis log in THAT forum. Do Not reply to or "bump" your own topic...if it shows a reply, it may be overlooked as one that is being worked on.

If you are still having problems after getting a clean bill of health from the malware expert, please return to this thread.

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