I recently bought an Anker USB 3.0 2-Port PCI-E Express Card With 20-Pin Connector via Amazon (see here), and installed it on my home PC. It is attached to a pair of USB 3.0 connectors on the front of the PC via the 20-pin connector, and is receiving additional power via the usual 4-pin power connector. The PC in question is home-built, and major components being the following:
MSI P7N SLI Motherboard (MS-7380-030, NVidia 750i SLI chipset)
Intel Core2Quad Q9550 CPU (2.83 GHz)
4GB of G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 800 SDRAM
PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCIE 3.0 x16 Video Card
SIIG DP FireWire 800 PCIe 1394b Adapter (NN-FW0012-S1)
Thermaltake Toughpower Cable Management 700W PSU (W01060RU)
Three SATA and one IDE hard disk (various WD units)
One SATA and one IDE optical drive (NEC and LG)
Two external FW800 hard disks (Iomega units)
Dell U2312HM LCD Monitor with integrated USB 2.0 hub
I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit, fully patched, with Malwarebytes Pro and Avast! Antivirus (Free) for system protection. My UPS (CyberPower PR1500LCD) indicates that I am in no danger of maxing out my PSU.
The problem I'm having is very simple: After the Anker USB 3.0 PCIE card is physically installed in my computer, using the newest drives from the Anker website (VIA 4.30A - already checked, nothing newer is available on the VIA website), Windows consistently hangs when shutting down. The screen indicates "Shutting Down...", the small circular icon animates for a bit, but within a minute or so the animation stops and the keyboard becomes non-responsive (can't light the NumLock, Caps Lock or Scroll Lock lights via keypress, no response with CTRL-ALT-DEL). I've left the machine in that state for hours and it does nothing more - the only solution is to manually shut down / reboot.
The problem persists even when nothing is plugged in to any of the USB ports associated with the Anker USB 3/0 PCI card. The problem goes away whenever the Anker USB 3.0 PCIE card is removed from the PCIE slot it's in (leaving the 4-pin power and 20-pin USB 3.0 front panel connectors attached). Finally, I am able to reproduce this behavior consistently - that is, I am able to hang Windows instantaneously - if I go to Device Manager and attempt to disable or uninstall the drives for the VIA USB eXtensile Host Controller (listed under USB Compliance (Host/Device) Controller), and also if I attempt to run USB 3.0 Command Verified from www.usb.org, here, as a means of troubleshooting what's going on:
I've already tried using msconfig to boot into diagnostic and safe modes with the hardware installed; the problem persists in both cases. The unit works fine otherwise, in that when it's installed, it recognizes my two USB 3.0 memory sticks with no issue and transfers files to and from them at the speeds one would expect without ever dropping connection. I attempted to downgrade to the VIA 4.00B driver for the chipset the Anker USB 3.0 PCIE card uses, but the installation never completes (though at least this does not hang Windows).
Normally I'm pretty good about doing my own troubleshooting - this is the first time in many years I've been unable to deal with an issue on my own - but in this case my research online does not identify anyone else with the same problem, much less a solution, and troubleshooting is not obvious given that I can't seem to touch the hardware without hanging Windows. At this point, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what's going on, and was hoping someone here might have some advice.
The one avenue of attack I am considering is finding a way to uninstall the drivers for the unit while it's not physically plugged in, since at that point this should not hang Windows. This is not something I've had to do in Windows 7 before, but I'm confident I'd find a way given enough research - at which point I could attempt to reproduce the problem with no drivers at all (if it still hangs, to me that would indicate a hardware issue) and also with the older VIA 4.00B drivers for the unit, available here:
That said, my fear is that it doesn't hang with no drivers but does with the VIA 4.00B drivers - at which point I've made no progress. I'm further concerned that, in addition, Windows 7 may not appreciate me manually removing drivers like that, and I may cause myself problems in attempting to do so.
Another thing I noted was that Device Manager indicates that the Anker USB 3.0 PCIE card has IRQ -6 (0xFFFFFFFA) to itself. PCIE boards should use message-signaled interrupts (MSIs) which are indicated via negative numbers in the Device Manager, so that seems OK. On the other hand, this is the only actual device directly using an MSI - the other four MSIs in use (IRQs -2 through -5) are all PCI standard PCI-to-PCI bridges. Not sure if that matters or not.
The third thing I've noticed is that the Event Log is filled with paired warnings of this sort (Event 0, hcmon):
Detected unrecognized USB driver (\Driver\xhcdrv).
Detected unrecognized USB driver (\Driver\pci).
From my research, hcmon.sys should be associated with my install of VMWare Player, and is VMWare's USB monitoring tool. Likewise, "\Driver\xhcdrv" clearly refers to USB 3.0 (XHCI) hardare, which can only mean the Anker USB 3.0 PCIE board. This may very well be that this is simply because VMWare Player doesn't play nice with USB 3.0 hardware in general, however. Would not expect that to hang the system, but just in case, I uninstalled VMWare Player. Sad to say, this did not solve the problem.
In the meantime, I'd appreciate any addtional advice / assistance here. I'm honestly not sure whether this is a case of bad hardware, a driver issue, or something else entirely, and have contacted Anker support as well in parallel to this post, though it remains to be seen whether I'll be speaking with someone with enough experience to tell me something I don't already know (perhaps I'm too cynical, and nothing against Anker in particular, but my hopes are not high).
Thanks in advance,
Edited by Arc_Light, 18 February 2014 - 12:58 AM.