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USB Connection problem

penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

USB Connection problem

My son's pc uses Win XP. His hard drive has two partitions. I cannot remember when we partitioned the drive, but we used Partition Magic 8.
Any old installations of software requiring the use of the USB ports work. More recent installations of software don't work. My son seems to have found that the older software installations use the C: drive, while more recent installations use the D: drive. He cannot find a way to re-install the software so that they use the C: drive, and I have never come across anything like this problem.
I would be grateful for suggestions please.
TIA
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

What do you mean by "requiring the use of the USB ports"? What is it that the old software can see/access that the new cannot? a scanner, ipod, drive, printer?
Most software does have a custom install option where you can change the install drive. Also most will default to using the C: drive (being the main drive where Windows is installed), it is very rare for software to not choose the main drive for installation and also not offer a simple way to change it, so that bit is strange in itself.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 288
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

Not quite understanding he problem, so I have two observations that may apply.
I have seen on some Dell machines, that after a hard drive failure, trying to reinstall Windows to a fresh drive, that for some reason any enabled USB devices (like card readers) seem to occupy the drive letters 'C:\',  'D:\' etc,  so that Windows tries to install to 'H:\' as that is the first free drive letter.  Fortunately this is easily solved by disabling the USB devices in the BIOS before installing Windows (to 'C:\'), and then re-enabling them afterwards - when by default they will occupy the next highest available drive letters.
The other thing hat might be going on here, is that Partition Magic has a very clever tool called 'DriveMapper', which can change all the registry references to drive letters.  Therefore when logical drives are added or removed, then drive mapper can be successfully be used to remap where applications are stored.  It is very useful when done right, but very dangerous if you get it wrong ! - I'm not sure if the OP has done this and screwed up.
penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

Answer for Peter - the two processes my son is having problems with are updating satnav s/w to his satnav, and using a new printer.
Answer for Purleigh - it is not a dell pc, and we haven't done a re-install of Windows
Regards
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,767
Thanks: 102
Fixes: 19
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: USB Connection problem

Software installations go to the 'Program Files' folder unless told otherwise.  The default location of the 'Program Files' folder is in the root of the drive where your Windows folder is located and that would normally be the C: drive.  If the Windows folder is on the C: drive as normal then software installations would not find there way onto the D: drive unless someone has been tampering with the default Windows settings.  If somebody has been tampering with the default Windows settings then there may be unforeseen consequences.     
penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

Thankyou all for your answers. I will have to visit my son and look at his pc.
KenA
Grafter
Posts: 92
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

Here's another thought that might be affecting you.
When you plug in a USB stick, Windows allocates a drive letter to it.  Perhaps in your case it was drive E:.  It will use that drive letter each time that particular stick is inserted into that particular PC.
Now, when you partitioned the disk, it probably created the new partition and allocated drive E: to it.  After that, if you plug in the same USB stick, it will not allocate a drive letter as E: is already in use by something else now.
If that's the case, here's how to fix it.
1. Insert the USB stick
2. Run the command from start/run: DISKMGMT.MSC
3. Look for the USB stick and right-click it, select Change Drive Letter
4. change the drive letter to something else which is not already used.  E.g. U:
5. Now check if you can see the USB stick using windows Explorer or similar.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,016
Thanks: 539
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

If none of the above works, wipe the drive and start again. Sometimes thats the best way.
I had a thing for partitioning my HDDs and running multiple OS's years ago and it worked well for a while but as you can probably guess I eventually had my share of disasters. I ended up with one windows XP system that was quite literally running from two drives - C and D. It would boot various services from both drives and then start getting grumpy that it couldn't find things etc. Needless to say it didn't live long.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

I have just visited my son, and tried to re-install his printer. It is an Epson printer, and it works if connected to a laptop pc.
I started by uninstalling the Epson software from his pc. The uninstall isn't very clean in that it left two shortcuts to various Epson printer processes on the desktop. I then went through the the software install process. The process appears to be fully automated in that it doesn't ask for any user action until it gets to the point where it asks for the printer to be connected and powered on. It then says this may take two minutes. After several minutes, it comes back saying it cannot find the driver, although the pc can identify the printer including the model.
If I go to Control Panel/System/Hardware/Device Manager, the only thing that shows up any possible problems is Other Devices. This has a question mark, and its sub-list has the Epson Printer listed (also with a question mark). My own pc (a Dell desktop) does something similar, the difference being my printer is an HP printer which is cabled to the LPT connection, not to a USB connector.
So the question I cannot answer is why does my son's pc not see his printer? I'm beaten. Any suggestions?
TIA
penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: USB Connection problem

Problem solved. My son ran a System Restore, and now the printer works.
Thanks to all for your help