General USB Troubleshooting in Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Me

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This article describes general troubleshooting tips for Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices in Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium Edition (Me).

More Information

Because USB devices are Plug and Play devices, there is little that you can do to control or configure them. However, most you can trace most USB problems to one of the following conditions:
  • Malfunctioning or incorrectly configured hardware
  • Malfunctioning, incorrectly configured, or missing device driver
  • Mismatched cabling
  • Out-of-date firmware or basic input/output system (BIOS)
  • Improperly configured root hub
You can use the following troubleshooting tips to check for each of these conditions to help you resolve USB device issues.

Malfunctioning or Incorrectly Configured Hardware

Typically, if you plug a malfunctioning or incorrectly-configured device into a USB port, it causes the computer to stop responding (hang). In the majority of these instances, you must physically turn off the computer and turn it back on to reset the bus. Note that it may be more difficult to identify which device is malfunctioning or is incorrectly configured. If another computer that you know is working correctly is available, try to plug the device into that computer to see if you encounter the same issue.

If the device is plugged into a secondary hub, unplug the device from the hub and then plug the device directly into the root hub.

Many hardware problems (such as high or low power, bandwidth shortage, malfunctioning or incorrectly configured firmware, and so on) can cause issues to occur.

Check Device Manager to be certain that the root hub is functioning correctly. If the root hub is displayed with an exclamation point in a yellow circle, verify that the BIOS is assigning an interrupt request (IRQ) to the root USB controller. This is required for the device driver to be loaded.
For additional information about how to use Device Manager to troubleshoot hardware issues, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
133240 Troubleshooting Device Conflicts with Device Manager
If no devices work when you plug the devices into the root hub, verify that the power requirements of the bus are not being exceeded. USB devices can draw a maximum of 500 milliamps for each connection. If a device attempts to draw more power than this, the specification recommends that the computer be able to disable that specific port until the computer power is cycled (this is called "suspending" the port). In addition, if the device draws less than 50 milliamps, the port never becomes active.

Check the Power tab in USB Root Hub properties to check the power usage of the USB bus.

Malfunctioning, Incorrectly Configured, or Missing Device Driver

When you plug in a USB device, the computer should load and then configure the device without ever requesting a device driver (assuming that the device falls within the defined and supplied class drivers). If the computer prompts you for a device driver, check with the manufacturer of the device to determine if a driver is available.

Mismatched Cabling

There are two types of USB cables, high speed and low speed. Low-speed cables differ from high-speed cables primarily in their shielding. If you plug a high-speed device into a low-speed cable, you can cause signal distortion over long distances.

Verify the entire USB chain is working correctly to be certain that a device that requires the ability to draw power from the hub is not plugged into the chain on the other side of a non-powered hub. This causes that hub and all of the devices down the chain to be suspended. If the hub is a powered hub, verify that the power supply for that hub is configured properly.

Out-of-Date Firmware or BIOS

The key to all USB devices is the firmware. The USB device's firmware contains all of the information about the device. A port is not reset until all of the descriptors in the firmware have been loaded and verified by the root hub. This is critical because it applies to items such as printers and modems. Make certain that you have the most up-to-date firmware that is available for both your computer's BIOS and each individual device.

The symptoms of malfunctioning or incorrectly configured firmware might be unusual. Typically, when you remove and then re-add a USB device, the device simply becomes available again. However, the device may appear as a second instance of that device, and load itself as such in Device Manager. If you see duplicates of a device, verify that you have the most up-to-date firmware for that device. This issue is common with USB printers and modems. A similar issue that has the same cause occurs when a device loads a device driver and then adds a second device for which there appears to be no driver. The second device is displayed with an exclamation point in a yellow circle in Device Manager. The device may work correctly, but you cannot remove the "ghost" device until you unplug the parent device that seems to have generated the ghost device. Also, you may be able to resolve this issue by updating the firmware or the device driver for that device.

Incorrectly Configured Root Hub

USB controllers require that an IRQ be assigned. The IRQ line is assigned in the computer's BIOS, and usually IRQ 9 is assigned.

Additional Issues

Issues Specific to Windows 98

195241 Universal Serial Bus Devices May Not Work in Safe Mode
206002 USB Keyboard or Mouse Does Not Work in Windows 98
255715 Cannot Shut Down Windows with USB Modem and ATI Video Adapter

Issues Specific to Windows 98 Second Edition

241831 Some Camera Controls Unavailable After Upgrading to NetMeeting 3 Using Kodak USB DVC323 Digital Video Camera
232865 Toshiba Tecra 530CDT Does Not Resume from Standby When Docked
233086 Setup Hangs During Hardware Detection on HP Computer
238781 Computer Does Not Resume After Warm Undock with USB Controller in Docking Station
232757 Red X on Kodak DVC300 or Kodak DVC323 Digital Video Camera
240022 Windows Key May Not Work on a USB Keyboard
241134 USB Mouse or Keyboard Not Working with AMD OHCI USB Controller
241084 Computer Hangs Entering ACPI S4 Mode with a USB Device Connected
247385 No Volume in Yamaha YSTMS55D USB Speakers in Windows 98 Second Edition

Issues in Both Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition

For additional information, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
236934 Electrostatic Discharge Disables Devices Plugged In To USB Hub
247853 CAPS LOCK Key Is on at Startup With Universal Serial Bus Keyboard Installed
244594 Scanning Stops Using NEC Open Host Controller and HP USB Scanner

Issues Specific to Windows Me

For additional information about issues that are specific to USB support in Windows Me, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
269138 Error Message: The Driver NT1003.SYS Is Not Compatible with Windows Me
268170 Error Message Appears When Plugging in the Iomega Universal Serial Bus Zip 100 Drive
268146 Windows Millennium Edition Detects Floppy Disk Drive When One Is Not Present
267860 Roland SuperMPU64 USB Speakers Do Not Play MIDI Music
267597 HP ScanJet 4100C Err Msg: This Program Does Not Run Correctly on This Version of Windows
267491 MP3 Audio Skips When Copying Files with USB Devices
267317 Cannot Remove the Driver for the PS/2 Mouse in Device Manager
266068 Philips 665 Vesta USB Camera Cannot Be Installed on Windows Millennium Edition
266014 No Drive Letter Assigned to USB or IEEE 1394 Storage Device
266013 Keyboard Repeat Rate Not Correspond to Keyboard Property Setting
265876 Eject Option for USB Floppy Disk Drives and LS-120 Drives May Not Work
265860 Cannot Select Text in with Shift Key on USB Keyboard
265478 Installing Aureal VXD Drivers May Cause the Removal of USB Audio Devices
264523 Midi File Playback Function Does Not Work Correctly
264386 Cannot Wake Computer from Standby with USB
264338 USB Web Cameras May Cause Hibernate to Work Improperly
263796 Windows Me-Based Computer Hangs When You Try to End a Task
263764 'Fatal Exception' Error Message or USB Devices May Not Work After You Insert PC Card
262725 Cannot Install PlugWorks 2.3 Speaker Software in Windows Me
261842 USB Keyboard Standby Does Not Work in Windows Millennium Edition
261822 Logitech PageScan Does Not Work After Upgrade
261729 Microtek C6 Scanner Does Not Respond and Is Listed As Unknown Device in Device Manager
261702 Cannot Format Sony HiFD USB 200 MB Media in Windows Millennium Edition
261696 'Out of Bandwidth Message' with USB Audio Device
261501 USB CD-ROM Does Not Work After You Update the Driver
261380 Cannot Install Hewlett-Packard 4200c Scanner's PrecisionScan LT 3.0 Software in Windows Millennium Edition
260546 HP USB Printers Must Have HP Software Installed to Print in Windows Me
257770 Unable to Change Settings for IntelliPoint Mouse Devices (Explorer, Optical, and Web) in Windows Me
257395 General Purpose Hub for Natural Keyboard Power Properties Shown as 4-Port Hub
256300 USB Input Devices Do Not Work in Safe Mode or Real Mode
255954 USB Bandwidth Usage Detection in Windows Me
254901 'USB Power Exceeded' Error Message When Connecting USB Devices