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Tips for troubleshooting problematic USB devices on a PC

USB device

Recently, I got a USB TV tuner which prevented my computer from recognizing my USB memory card reader. In device manager there was also an “Unknown device” with a yellow triangle icon with an exclamation mark in the middle, and every time my PC woke from sleep or hibernate there was a warning message on the bottom right of the system tray on the Windows desktop taskbar. 

It was kind of frustrating to fix, but, it was extremely simple to fix my problem of my USB TV tuner blocking my card reader from working.

Stuff I did to try to fix my USB conflict problem

I thought it might be Windows Update messing up my Card reader by installing a Card Reader driver which I don’t need because my card reader just used the generic USB drivers and drive drivers for Windows 7. When I used Vista, Windows Update installed some card reader software for some brand of card reader which I do not even own which was very strange.

I looked through my Windows Updates and uninstall program list in Windows 7, and I see nothing related to a SD card reader was installed recently.

The only thing that work was unplugging my USB TV tuner, and waiting until start up was complete, and then plug in my TV tuner. But, I don’t consider that a solution since I use my TV tuner and SD card reader  everyday, so if I forgot to plug in my USB TV tuner. I can’t record shows which I set to record when I’m not at my PC. If I forgot to unplug my TV tuner before I started up my computer, then my SD memory card reader will not work, so I need to unplug my TV tuner and reboot my PC which is time consuming and frustrating. 

I tried installing the newest drivers, and uninstalling my old drivers. But, it did not work.  I tried restarting my PC as well which did not work. I also tried the driver cleaner uninstaller for my USB TV tuner which also did not work. Click the link below to learn how I fixed my problem with my USB TV tuner blocking my SD card reader from working. 

All I did was switch my TV tuner to a different USB port on the back of my PC, and everything was back to normal.  I think my USB device was using a conflicting IRQ or memory address which my card reader was also using.

If your USB ports are on an expansion card you can try moving the expansion port to another PCI slot to see if it fixes your problem. You can also try going to the manufactures website to download the latest drivers and uninstall the drivers on your PC with their driver uninstaller or cleaner before you install the new ones.

If you recently did a Windows Update, or Driver update which messed up your USB devices or cards like sound card, you can do a driver rollback in device manager or a system restore to an earlier date before the problems began.

It can also be helpful to use the USB device on another computer to see if it is a hardware problem or Windows, Linux, or other OS problem.

Looking in Windows Device Manager and Windows Event Manager can also be helpful for solving hardware problems on your PC.

Also, see if the power plugs, ports, and cables on your USB device is not brocken by testing the cables with other devices if available. You need a multimeter to check power adapters for power. But, with USB cables you can just use another USB device to check if the connection on the cable is good or not.

I also notice by untangling the COAX cable TV cable. I get better reception, so untangling your cables might improve speed and quality of your signals for analog cables. But, it probably won’t make much of a differrence on digital cables like USB, DVI, and HDMI.

Now I can transfer files from my  SD card while I watch my favorite TV show on my PC.

2 comments… add one
  • Sherman Unkefer December 24, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I bought a usb cable and connected the Ipod to my HP laptop. I downloaded ITunes and this is how far I’ve gotten. My laptop recognizes the Ipod by name and installs the driver software to the point that it says my Ipod is ready to use. When ITunes starts up, it says that it cannot access the IPod, which it refers to as “Mary’s Ipod” because it is locked.

  • Johnson Yip December 24, 2010, 6:34 pm

    Try visiting this forum post: http://www.kirupa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=208323 it might help you out at making your ipod unlock in iTunes.

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