USB peripheral problems- Help, please!

I have an HP Pavilion laptop with 2 USB 1 ports. I also have an external DVD drive, an external hard drive as well as several USB accessories (wireless mouse, thumb drive, etc). All the above are USB 2, but backwards-compatible to work with USB 1.

Everything was fine until recently the computer stopped recognizing the DVD drive and the external hard drive. When I plug either in I get the usual “this device could work faster in a USB 2 port” pop up balloon. But when I look in My Computer the drives are not listed. When I try to run a DVD burning program, the DVD drive is not listed in the menu of drive choices.

The thumb drive and the wireless mouse run fine through these same USB ports.

When I check Device Manager, I’ve got the yellow exclamation point over USB Mass Storage Device, and under properties it shows “error 10”. I did the recommended troubleshoot-delete the device, plug it in, run Add New Hardware wizard. It finds the device, then says there was an error installing it and it may not work properly. Then I’m back to square one, the devices not found in My Computer.

The same thing happens on my desktop computer, which also has USB 1 ports.

Both computers are running XP Pro with service pack 2 and all the latest updates. Both the DVD drive and the external hard drive work fine other peoples computers.
Neither the DVD drive (Mad Dog Multimedia) nor the hard drive (Western Digital) have any driver updates available.

I have a feeling this is a Windows compatibility problem, not a physical USB port problem, but I’m at a loss. Any suggestions?

First, you might have better luck posting your question at, which is top-heavy with geeks who live to answer these kinds of questions; I’ve gotten a lot of help from them.

As to your question, I have several suggestions: boot your machine into safe mode, go into device manager, remove the items that are not working (you want to use safe mode with this because it won’t load any device drivers at all, and you will be able to completely remove the offending devices); then boot back into normal mode and re-run the device installation wizard.

It could be a conflict with another device. Try removing all USB devices, (in safe mode) and then only install the DVD drive. If that does not work try the Hard drive.

If that doesn’t work, you may indeed have a hardware problem with the notebook. Most commonly a power problem. If you can afford it, get a powered USB hub, that will remove any power problems.

My last seuggestion, make sure that you are loading the correct drivers, check the web site of the devices that are not working and download tha latest drivers for it and when the wizard runs, choose select driver from a list, then when it asks for the drivers location click browse and drill down to the location of that driver.

Good Luck!

It may be that the device manager already has a (damaged) entry for the devices, that’s stopping it from registering them properly; try this (can’t harm):

Click Start>Run and type CMD <enter>
Type SET devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 <enter> (don’t put any spaces around the = sign, or it just won’t work)
Type START devmgmt.msc <enter>
-the device manager applet will open
Click View>Show Hidden Devices

Expand the various categories, looking for greyed-out items (there may be related entries under more than one category, including the USB devices); if there are greyed-out entries relating to your problem devices, deleting them may enable Windows to reinstall the hardware successfully. In fact you can probably uninstall ALL of the USB devices/hubs etc, and have Windows rebuild the whole of that section on the next reboot.

Usual cautionary advice applies; try this at your own risk; set a system restore point before you attempt it, etc…