Can this USB be saved?
December 13, 2005 5:01 AM   Subscribe

Is my USB hub evil?

I have a Dell Precision 350 with two USB hubs built in, one in the back with four ports and one in the front with one port. Some time ago I threw away a printer, because every time I plugged it in, my system would freeze necessitating a hard reboot. The only other thing plugged into the hub in the back was my digital camera input thing. Recently I switched this computer to a wireless network, and added a USB D-Link wireless adapter. After I added it, my computer would freeze about once an hour, no keyboard response, requiring a reboot. After fiddling with this and that, I finally moved the adapter to the port in front - and it hasn't crashed since. So my question: Is this likely a hardware thing? Burnt chip, cracked circuit board, etc? Or is there something driver related? Is my rear USB just dead for good?
posted by muddylemon to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh, and what I was really getting at: Is it just coincidence that it's working now? Does the USB hub seem the likely culprit? I hate hardware.
posted by muddylemon at 5:02 AM on December 13, 2005

I don't have the solution to your problem, but I do have a similar experinece with the D-link adapter. I bought a d-link usb wireless rather than spring for the internal card on my laptop. Other usb connections worked fine, but the d-link froze and required a system reboot at irregular intervals (could be 15 minutes could be an hour--rarely more than that).

If you are running some version of Windows, you may want to see if you have all of the up-to-date usb controller drivers. On my laptop, I bought the airport card (it's a powerbook) and have never had a problem since.

I guess what I am saying is that the d-link problem may be unrelated to your other usb problem.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:46 AM on December 13, 2005

It's really hard to say if it's hardware or software. I have a USB keyboard that worked fine until I upgraded a PC to Win XP, then it would consistently lock up.

You might want to try installing a new USB 2.0 controller card like one of these from Newegg or the Geeks for less than $10. You really shouldn't need to install a driver for it if you're using Win XP.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:02 AM on December 13, 2005

My vote goes for new card. Scrap the built-in ports. Unfortunately Dell's hardware has gotten progressively crappier in the last 5-6 years, to the point where I would recommend buying anything except a Dell. We use them in our lab, and they all have random unexplained problems and occasional catastrophic failures of drives, expansion cards, and whatnot.

(Plus the fact that EVERY SINGLE USB port on EVERY DELL I have ever seen is mounted UPSIDE DOWN. Someone please exlain that little decision to me...)
posted by caution live frogs at 6:16 AM on December 13, 2005

My wirless card was locking up my laptop until I upgraded the driver for it. Mine was D-link and I was running XP but it was PMCIA rather than USB. Maybe it's the wirless?
posted by Carbolic at 10:59 AM on December 13, 2005

Response by poster: Well, I've gone two days without a lock up - so I guess it's solved, I just didn't want to find out that it was my hard drive dying. I did update the dlink drivers, to no avail. The only problem now is the extra couple of feet toward the door that I lost (old house, heavy doors, low signal).
posted by muddylemon at 10:54 PM on December 13, 2005

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