Cannot install New USB devices
A client asked me to take a look at their new Dell Dimension 3100 computer which was refusing to allow them to transfer their photographs from their camera.
The first thing I tried to do was plug in my generic USB flash drive which contains all of our software toolkit.
However, the PC asked me for a driver which I thought was pretty odd since XP should install flash keys automatically. After a few minutes it was obvious that any new USB device plugged in would not install correctly - it was not related to the device getting plugged in.
When a new USB device was plugged in, the ADD NEW HARDWARE wizard would appear asking if I wanted to search the internet for a driver. If you said yes, then it would go off for a moment and then fail.
After searching on the net, I found other people with the same issue.
The problem was that all the 'solutions' looked at the actual device getting plugged in and not the USB subsystem which I suspected was causing the problem. The issue was not helped with the fact that the PC was USB only - no PS/2 ports. When I tried to reinstall the USB device drivers, it disabled the mouse and keyboard. Not good!
After rolling back that schoolboy error via VNC and System Restore, I continued the search for a solution. So far, the only way I was able to get things installed was to say no to an Internet search and then ask to install the drivers manually from a location of my choosing - the c:\windows\inf folder. This would slowly install the drivers but add a second yellow unknown bang in device manager.
Not a perfect solution but one that got the clients devices working for now until I find a more elegent fix that does not involve reinstalling Windows. The device drivers might already need to be in the INF folder (in this case the Camera software had already been installed) but if you have this problem, it might be worth looking there.
If anybody finds a solution then I would be very interested in seeing it.