USB givin' me headaches
October 13, 2010 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Why won't USB drives (thumb, external) won't work on my new PC?

When I plug in a thumb drive, it recognizes that there is a drive, tries to install the driver, and then says it cannot complete the installation. If I go into the Device Manager the drive is there as a USB Device but with the yellow exclamation mark. The details inside say that there is no driver for the device. If I try to manually choose the driver for the thumb drive, it tells me that Access is Denied. The thumb drive is not listed in Windows Explorer next to the internal hard drives. I get the same results for a Free Agent Go external drive.

All of the USB stuff on the Device Manager is listed as working and enabled. (I mean the internal USB guts, not the thumb drive)

Has anyone experienced something similar? Can anyone advise me on how to fix this?

One billion Thank Yous in advance.
posted by ian1977 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What OS are you running?
posted by white_devil at 6:34 AM on October 13, 2010

Doh! I am running Windows XP.
posted by ian1977 at 6:40 AM on October 13, 2010

I had a problem with a thumb drive recently... it came pre-loaded with some annoying Microsoft software and also had problems being recognized on someone else's computer. Stripping the thumb drive of the annoying software (why would anyone need that?? - I am more than capable of arranging files on a thumb drive by myself, don't need someone else's software to do it) solved the problem immediately and permanently.

My son actually stripped the thumb drive for me, on his computer that has an exclusive Linux OS, not sure which distro. The drive will now work with any OS.
posted by RRgal at 6:51 AM on October 13, 2010

Also would help to know what PC model you are using. In general I would run windows update to make sure you have all the latest service packs/hot fixes for XP installed then try again. Another thing to check is under network adapters in device manager if you have a 1394 net device disable that and try a reboot and insert the usb drive again.
posted by white_devil at 6:56 AM on October 13, 2010

Have you tried using a different usb port?
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:57 AM on October 13, 2010

- Are you logged in as an administrator? In the event that a new driver does need to be installed, you'll need Power User or better rights. You can check whether you're an administrator easily by right-clicking on My Computer, selecting Manage, and navigating to the Administrators group under Local Users and Groups.

- What is the make/model of your USB drive? Do you get other USB drives to show up normally? If so those are likely using just the USB Mass Storage driver. Your FreeAgent drive needs something different if I recall correctly, as it acts as an actual hard drive and not a removable device (well from experience, the 700gb one I have does that)

- Keep in mind, when a device is plugged in, window's PnP detection will kick in and try to match the deviceID of the device with one that exists in c:\windows\inf\ (unless you specify a different location for driver infs during the install phase). What's happening in your case is that the device is being detected, but it is unable to match it to an inf (such as usbstor.inf) or it is unable to install the supporting driver files. Check your SYSTEM event log to see if there are additional details (right-click My Computer/Manage)
posted by samsara at 7:28 AM on October 13, 2010

Windows uses the built-in mass storage driver for these kinds of things. The fact that you're getting a driver error makes me wonder if you logged in with administrator rights or if you're using a locked down PC. Is this your personal machine or a work machine?
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:58 AM on October 13, 2010

Maybe try this:

I had a similar problem. It is listed as drive G, but the machine is already using drive G. You need to rename the USB drive.

Control Panel: Administrative Tools: Computer Management: Disk Management: find the USB drive and rename it.
posted by Classic Diner at 8:20 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding the drive letter Issue by Classic Diner. Another issue I have run into was with Nero services running in the background. NMindexStoreSvr, NeroCheck, and NBkeyscan.
posted by Amby72 at 8:40 AM on October 13, 2010

You probably would have mentioned running in safe mode if you were, but just in case: USB drives don't work while Windows XP is in safe mode.
posted by Hither at 8:42 PM on October 13, 2010

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