Billy Windows and the USB of Death
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Billy Windows and the USB of Death

  1. #1
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Posts
    17,190

    Talking Billy Windows and the USB of Death

    OK, here is the scenario:

    Gigabyte MoBo with Pentium4/2.26Ghz and 1048Mb of PC2700 DDR
    Two 80Gb 7200Rpm drives in a RAID1 array (hardware controlled)
    DVD, CD & 3.5" internal drives.

    Not Attached:
    3 cameras
    Printer
    Graphics Tablet
    Audio/Video Grabber

    Windows 2000 Pro SP4 fully patched.

    Windows begins to hang about half way through loading the Desktop, but will boot in safe mode, so I try using a different user profile, given that this can be a symptom of a corrupt profile. This loads just fine, so I look at the hardware, and see that there are NO problem devices.

    Next stop is the Event Viewer that shows more errors than there are fleas in a vagrant's underwear. DHCP, DNS, ETDrv, GLOGRODrv, FTP, COM+, AFD, smtp, POP, TCPIP, DCOM, and the rest. All that tells me is that Windows didn't load properly, which I had just about managed to work out for myself

    Then things start to get worse. It will not load Windows with any profile, and just hangs on the splash screen.

    Funnily enough, it has booted into safe mode with any profile throughout this.

    I check the HDD, and scan for viruses and malware with no results, which is what I basically expected. This came straight out of the blue, I had not installed anything or uninstalled anything, or done anything unusual.

    I disconnected the ADSL USB modem and this had no effect either.

    I then noticed a USB lead for a camera, attached to one of the back ports. It had been there for months with no problems, and nothing was connected to it, but I removed it as I was checking all the connections anyway.

    Lo and behold, the box started working properly again.

    Just something to think about, when all else fails

  2. #2
    It's a gas!
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    699
    Would you not like to know WHY the USB cable was preventing windows from booting?

    IRQ conflict?
    USB Host Controller driver issue?

  3. #3
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Posts
    17,190
    Well,

    The interesting thing was that there had been no significant software changes (other than updating pattern files for scanners) and absolutely no hardware changes, yet this happened "out of the blue" and over the space of an hour or two. I was working on other stuff at the time, so I was getting up and down to move from machine to machine.

    The firmware is as up to date as can be on a five year old+ box. I looked at the device manager, as I mentioned, and there were no problem devices or conflicts reported. Also, although not as good as WinXP, Win2000 is pretty good at handling IRQs.

    I have not yet tested the cable, but I did stick a USB mouse in the port and it worked, so it is not a MoBo/USB port problem.

    I have a bizarre suggestion (hence the Harry Potter title to this thread ).................

    I have a very large tom cat, who has the habit of snaking in and out amongst my kit, particularly when he wants to be fed. I think he must have brushed up against the cable and slightly disloged it?

    Now, this room has a wooden floor, with an airspace beneath it................. so it flexes when you walk on it?...................

    I think that the attempt to communicate with the possible USB device at the end of the cable caused the problem, as the connectivity gradually degraded?

    As you know, USB is a very "loose" connection so is the most susceptible to knocks and vibration.

    I was in half a mind to put this in tech humour, but it is real, and may help people


  4. #4
    It's a gas!
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    699
    Nihil

    I would suggest this is a driver issue. Hence windows booting in safe mode but not normal mode. If your keyboard/mouse are not usb, i would recommend uninstalling the root hub and host controller, rebooting with cable attached and see if this works.

  5. #5
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    2,743
    I think he must have brushed up against the cable and slightly disloged it?
    My thought here is something with that cable..

    You only need a electrical path to one of the data lines for USB comm to suffer

    Consider a low resistance from the power pins 1 & 4 if there is a low resistance IT WILL cause problems when the OS loads the USB Drivers during Boot, had a situation where A PC wouldnt boot at all..

    So was there any rubbish builtup in the USB Socket (KAt Fur is annoyingly conductive - well it was in TV's and VCR's), is the cable crushed or kinked,
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  6. #6
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Posts
    17,190
    Well,

    I have just attached the cable with the camera and it works, and there does not seem to be any build up of debris in the ports.

    I can only attribute it to a progressively degrading connection at that time. The bit that surprises me is that there wasn't any device attached, just the cable.

  7. #7
    It's a gas!
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    699
    This is obviously not a h/w issue...if it was why will windows boot into safe mode?
    Dont they teach you anything at school

  8. #8
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    2,743
    I can only attribute it to a progressively degrading connection at that time. The bit that surprises me is that there wasn't any device attached, just the cable.
    this is why it is, and most likely remain, a mystery. Problem is if it was contact resistance/metal migration on point contact.. it is a series resistance.. is only of significance when a device is attached.. but when no load is applied the open circuit resistance infinite (well at least the insulation resistance in the usb lead....

    This is obviously not a h/w issue...if it was why will windows boot into safe mode?
    Well yes it still can be H/w related.. windows may not know about the H/w issu untill it attempts to access the port..or turn the h/w channels on.. retrieve data from the device... Not all faults are SHORT CIRCUITS.. Nor are all faults open circuits..
    But in safe mode many of the hardware drivers are not functional..that is why it is called safe mode.... except I thought USB drivers are enabled in safemode in win XP and 2K... curious still
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •