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USB Mystery on Dell Dimension 3000


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#1 StarGehzer

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:03 AM

I'm working on a Dell Dimension 3000 and have a problem I've never seen before.
I loose my USB ports after the OS boots up.
I can boot from the hard drive (WinXP) and anything I plug into the USB won't work.
I can boot from a CD to WinXP and the same thing happens.
The really interesting part is, I can boot from a USB Data key to WinXP, and once XP takes over as the OS, my ports no longer work. At this point I'm running off a ram drive.
I checked the ports to see if I could see a problem like maybe a short inside, even blew them out to remove the dust, but no luck.
Other issues are that the computer is running very slow..

SysInternals Process Explorer tells me that the problem is "thread ID 108" with a start address of USBPORT.SYS+0x6086. It's keeping the CPU busy at 90-95% and clicking off "Context Switches" like mad (up over 700,000 so far). I really don't understand what all that techy talk means, so any suggestions will help.

I've scanned with AVG, Malware Bytes, HiJack This, run CCleaner, Loaded MSConfig and set to Diagnostic mode. No viruses were found, the other programs cleaned up some junk, but nothing important.

How can the system boot using a USB drive, but once up & running, the ports don't work?

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#2 Allan

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:31 AM

What is new or different since the last time everything worked properly (ie, new hw, new sw, virus, error, format and reinstall of the OS, etc)?

#3 StarGehzer

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 12:02 PM

Good Question Allan.
There have been no hardware changes.
After the computer slowed down some of the software was removed. I can't see this being an issue when I boot from a CD or USB Drive.

#4 Allan

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 12:07 PM

After the computer slowed down some of the software was removed.

Can you be more specific please?

Also, look in Device Manager. Are there any errors?

#5 Baltboy

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 12:35 PM

At boot time the USB ports are controlled by the BIOS once windows takes over they stop working.......sounds like a driver issue to me. I would uninstall the USB controllers in device manager and reboot. Once windows installs the drivers check to see if they work and let us know.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

#6 Eyesee

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:54 PM

Have you tried it in safe mode?
Im curious if it works there.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#7 StarGehzer

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:15 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, here's what I've found.
Booting in Safe Mode... no bad devices in Device Manager, the USB section looks perfect, the Disc Drives section only shows drive 1 (D), The drive 0 © doesn't show up at all. I plug in a data key, and the system freezes.

Normal boot.... no bad devices in Device Manager, the USB section looks perfect, the Disc Drives section only shows drive 1 (D), The drive 0 © doesn't show up at all. I plug in a data key, and the system freezes.

Boot to Win XP from a CD.... no bad devices in Device Manager, the USB section looks perfect, I plug in a data key, and the system freezes.


The software that was uninstalled was some peer to peer programs and some kids games.

If the issue was about the drivers, wouldn't I expect everything to be fine when I boot from the CD or from a USB key?

I"m wondering about the power supply.. Do other parts of the motherboard use the same voltage (5 volts?) as the USB devices? Could the load of a data key be enough to leave another device without sufficient power?
Unfortunatly, I don't have a spare dell power supply. Is there a way I can test to see if the power supply is an issue? (I know.. I'll just go Google that... )

#8 Baltboy

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:21 AM

When you say you boot from a cd or usb do you mean you are using a live cd like bartpe or something similar?
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

#9 StarGehzer

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:52 AM

For the Boot CD & USB I'm using something like BartsPE, yes. http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd

Edited by StarGehzer, 08 March 2011 - 11:54 AM.


#10 Baltboy

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:24 PM

I would tend to say it must be a issue with the BIOS. Since the BIOS controls the USB ports at boot but they are failing once control should be turned over to the OS. Check the BIOS settings. If there is an option to restore to failsafe defaults do that then double check the USB settings.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

#11 StarGehzer

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:45 PM

So in the end I found a Dell Diagnostic program on a hidden partition and ran it.
I came back stating there was an overcurrent condition on USB controller 2.
Shutting down the onboard USB via the BIOS, and adding a PCI card with USB ports seems to have gotten around the problem.

I expect the MBoard will fail further soon. I'll be interested to see if I can pull the RAM & CPU & find another MBoard that will accept it, but I'll put that in another thread.. (the system owner won't be interested in spending much on the computer, she only has it for email & a little internet)

Thanks for your suggestions everyone!




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