USB2 experts - Strange problem

I currently run a multi-boot system on my PC. One partition is my general everyday use XP setup, the other partition has a bare XP setup. Both are fully up to date. I use the bare setup as an emergency in case of problems, malware attacks etc. Being able to access the web and system files from another partition has proved a lifesaver more than once. :iagree:

I have recently come across a strange problem. I purchased a Western Digital USB2 external hard drive (160gb). My everyday XP setup would only recognize the unit as an unknown device, when using the mobo USB ports, and it would not show in explorer regardless of what I did, including registry modifications and forced driver installs etc. So before I took it back, I unplugged it, I booted into my bare XP partition and plugged the drive back in. It was instantly recognized and worked flawlessly. :confused:

After a couple of frustrating evenings trying to find a solution, I went and bought a Belkin USB2 pci card with an NEC chipset. Installed it on both XP setups, plugged the drive in and it was instantly recognized on either setup. On my bare XP installation, I can plug it in to any USB2 port i have, yet on my everyday setup, it only works from the NEC card, not from the mobo ports. So in essence, I have partially solved the problem, and can use the drive, but I am very curious as to what may cause this. The only bit of hardware that is not common to both XP setups and requires a driver, is my Zen Micro Mp3 player. I have no intention of installing it on my bare XP system. Could the ZEN`s USB2 drivers be causing some kind of problem? A brief description of my setup is below.

Anyone any ideas what may be causing this? I hate things like this. There must be an explanation. I built the PC myself and this is the first time I have come across a problem that I could not find an answer for.

Thanks for reading.

USB hardware plugged in

Speedtouch ADSL modem.
HP Printer
Card reader
USB to PS2 gamepad adaptor

Occasionally: (only on everyday setup)

USB Flight stick
USB Competition pro joystick
Creative Nomad 512mb Mp3 player
Creative Zen 6gb Mp3 player
Canon A85 Camera
Canon N650u scanner

PC Setup
P4 NW 1.8 @ 2.4
768mb PC2700 ram
ASUS P4PE mobo
2 x 80gb Maxtor HD
Sony DVDrom
LG4163 Burner
Soundblaster Live PCI card
Belkin (NEC) 3 port USB2 PCI card

There is a chance that the Zen driver is actually the problem. I am not sure, but IIRC a friend of mine had a similar problem some time ago.
If you could backup your “bare XP” partition using a tool like Ghost or TrueImage, then you could try to install the Zen driver, see what happens and finally restore your “clean” partition.

Hope this helps, :slight_smile:


Thats a good idea ET. I use ghost regularly so i already have the backup. Only thing is, i suppose it could be an order issue. That is, the bare partition already recognizes the drive, so it probably still will after installing the Zen. On my main system, the Zen was installed first. Only with a full re-install could i replicate the problem, and the issue is not serious enough to warrant that at the mo. I can at least give the ghost image a go as it sould be fairly quick.

Thanks for the suggestion.

another computer hosed by creative, some things never change


I fail to see the relevance of the above link. All my Zen drivers are up to date.
Nothing in the link states anything about my problem. Have i missed something? :confused:

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I have never had any problems with Creative products. Thats why i continue to buy them. I was simply speculating as to a possible cause of my USB issue.

if your zen firmware is up to date and all driver/program updates are installed,
I don’t see how it could be anything but the Zen, look at all the features it hooks into the OS with. I would try uninstalling all the creative software, get the usb2 hard drive to work, then step by step find out what’s hosing XP?

Fair point. As soon as i get time, i will try removing the Zen. If no luck, i will see if i can replicate the problem with a fresh install.

My xp sp2 clean installs seem a lot better with usb2, but every now and then I get
some weird glitches, like this damn usb keyboard. I don’t like the idea of anything loading a driver for usb, MS has tried to get away from that entirely.

I think Sp2 may be indirectly involved also. Reading around the web, there seems more issues when “updating” to Sp2, as opposed to having sp2 installed on a fresh OS. Having said that, it has caused me no major probs since i updated.

I tell everyone if they don’t have a xp sp2 cd, to clean install then load the sp2 before any drivers. A lot of issues disappear.

This slipstream works very well for integrating Windows and SP 2 to a boot disc.

Thanks crossg. I actually did this at the weekend. Amazed how easy it actually was. Perhaps its now time to use it.

Thanks for the replies.