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Calling All USB Geniuses: Help Needed for Older Notebook

Last response: in Windows XP
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August 16, 2010 10:29:31 PM

BACKGROUND
I have an HP Pavilion zv6000 that I got from a family member. It's running XP SP2. None of the 4 USB ports work. Until recently, that was ok with me, since I just used the touchpad and didn't need a USB port. Things have changed and I now need at least one working USB Port.

If I plug anything into 3 of the the ports (memory stick, printer), the computer freezes after a few seconds and I have to unplug the machine, pull out the battery, then turn the computer back on. By the way, the memory stick and printer work fine with other computers in our home.

One of the USB ports (left side, closest to screen) allows a memory stick to be plugged into it without freezing the computer, but the stick is not recognized (this same stick will freeze the computer when plugged into one of the other ports and it works fine on another PC). Device Manager appears to show only 3 ports, so I assume this particular port is the one missing from the list.

As best as I can recall, I was told that the notebook had been examined in the past by a couple of tech places and that one place said it would cost $200 to fix the problem. I don't know what they found wrong, but rather than pay $200 I'd probably just buy a new machine. In the section below titled "Detailed Background," I've listed some solutions I tried without success. I found these solutions on the Internet. But first, here's "the question."

THE QUESTION
This notebook has a port called "Expansion Port 2." My understanding is that the sole purpose of this port is to connect with a docking station. I have found a docking station on Ebay that appears to be compatible with the zv6000 plus it's pretty low priced (the connection cord might not be included, so I might have to find one of those too).

This docking station has 3 USB 2.0 ports of its own. Would connecting a docking station to "expansion port 2" give the notebook access to USB devices via the station's ports, or do the non-working USB ports on the notebook indicate a deeper problem that might affect any such workaround?

DETAILED BACKGROUND
FYI, here are the solutions I tried to "fix" the USB ports. None met with success:

(1) Here are 3 recommendations I got from this web site's "Mobility Forum" ("Laptops and Notebooks").
With computer off, plug in a USB device, then turn computer on.
Result: Froze at "Windows XP" screen while booting (I did this test with a memory stick).

Plug in a USB cable into a port but don't plug the other end into a device.
Result: No freezing! However, once I plugged the other end into a printer, the computer froze moments later.

USB lights
I didn't know what this was.

(2) Disabled power management on the USB hubpower management.
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc [...] 5&sw_lang=

(3) Start -> Run -> services.msc and make sure any plug n play or USB related services are running.
http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic52162.html

(4) In Device manager, uninstalled / reinstalled all items under "Universial Serial Bus Controllers." Note: Reinstallation occurs automatically after rebooting.

(5) "disable the USB Selective Suspend feature as a workaround by editing the registry"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/817900

(6) Removed all power source to notebook (power cord and battery) and let notebook sit for 8 hours.
http://www.ntcompatible.com/Desper [...] 32356.html

(7) Added this to registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment]"DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES"="1"

Then:
- Went through uninstall / re-install procedure again in Device Manager for all devices under USB Controllers.
- Uninstall / Reinstall device under "Storage Volume."
http://forums.techguy.org/hardware [...] nsfer.html

(8) This is more of an FYI than an attempted fix, but in Device Manager, I loooked at the "General" tab for all items under "Universal Serial Bus controllers." In the "Device Status" box, all items said, "This device is working properly."

Note: I have read about flashing the BIOS, but I didn't see anything at HP that convinced me this would solve the problem. I am a little fearful of flashing the BIOS -- I'm afraid of totally messing up the machine. The zv6000 has been a faithful notebook, despite its not having working USB ports.


Thanks for reading.
August 16, 2010 11:12:54 PM

the zv6000 has an express card slot on the left side, why not buy a cheap express card usb adapter?
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August 17, 2010 5:21:16 AM

nsquid said:
the zv6000 has an express card slot on the left side, why not buy a cheap express card usb adapter?


nsquid, THANK YOU for the reply! It doesn't look like my particular zv6000 has an Expresscard slot, but it does have a PC Card slot. I did a very, very quick search and it appears that I can get a PC Card USB adapter. Will a PC Card solution be just as good a solution? Thanks again.
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August 17, 2010 5:48:35 PM

yah yah pc card sorry. it should work, since it's using a different bus than the USB ports.
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August 27, 2010 7:16:26 PM

Best answer selected by leapinggnome.
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August 27, 2010 7:51:15 PM

nsquid said:
yah yah pc card sorry. it should work, since it's using a different bus than the USB ports.


nsquid:
This morning I purchased a "Hi-Speed USB 4-Port CardBus" by SIIG from Frys Electronics. It was $24.99 before tax. It installed without a hitch but the big test, of course, was to see what would happen after I plugged an actual USB device into it. I plugged in a memory stick and, lo and behold, THE COMPUTER DID NOT FREEZE BUT RATHER RECOGNIZED THE DEVICE! In fact, I have plugged in a second USB device and all is still well! The problem is solved. I want to thank you, nsquid, for taking the time to post your suggestion. I am very, very, very happy and grateful right now. Thank you again.

A note to future readers:
I still don't know what's wrong with my 4 built-in USB ports and I am done trying to find out. Was it a hardware problem that had only a "more-cost-than-it's-worth" solution? I have NO idea. My wife and I's memories are fuzzy because it's been awhile, but it seems like a tech told my wife that the solution would cost $200, so maybe it was a hardware problem. As you can see from my original post, I genuinely tried to find and implement suggestions that I found online. If you're having USB port problems like I've described in this thread, maybe one of my "software" attempts in the original post will help you or maybe you'll find something else online. Please note: I was VERY careful studying and implementing those software solutions, because I felt deep down that since I'm not a tech, I could REALLY mess up the machine. One thing is certain: This $24.99 hardware product solved my problem.
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August 27, 2010 8:05:51 PM

p.s. FYI, there are similar products that are less expensive than the one I bought for $24.99 (before tax). I just wanted to buy and get it over with.
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a b \ Driver
August 28, 2010 12:58:46 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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