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USB internal card reader not making cards available

Last response: in Storage
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May 9, 2012 9:58:58 AM

I have two internal multi-format card readers attached by USB cables to two different PCs - both Win 7, both worked originally but so long ago that numerous Windows updates have flowed past since. Now neither of them will recognize either of two cards I have put in. Both these cards turn out to be readable on a Canon printer and a Vista laptop though.

When a card is inserted in the problematic readers an LED illuminates indicating that the card is noticed, but there's no balloon popup from Windows nor any card recognized from within Windows Explorer. If I boot off a Linux live CD the card is read just fine.

It seems device drivers may be an issue for Windows. None came with the card readers - I just plugged them in and they worked with the default that MS offered. SFC does not show any problems. Any ideas please ?
a b G Storage
May 9, 2012 1:10:01 PM

Have a look in the device manager for problems with the readers (red x or yellow exclamation point).

Might want to check with the computer manufacturer (or mobo) to see if there are drivers you can download.

Can you tell us:
The make and models of the problem systems?
The make and size of card that's causing problems?
If there are any cards that currently work in those problem readers?
May 12, 2012 11:09:25 AM

Thanks for replying and sorry for the delayed reply here. There are no problems flagged up in Device Manager on either PC.

I don't know who makes the card reader but I can't think what drivers there could be as they just plug into a USB header on the mobo. I am typing this on a keyboard that connects to another USB socket - possibly on the same hub. This mobo is an Abit IP35 PRO (P35+ICH9R) v1.x (BIOS:10)

I have tried two different types of card on both systems and they don't work. There are no cards that I have tried since the problem started that do work.

I have just installed DriverMax and it encouraged me to download and install drivers for Alcor Micro SD/CF/SM/MS USB 2.0 card reader on both systems. So I did and v1.0.36.102 is now installed. However, the same problem persists.

I have just noticed that in the Safely Remove Hardware icon, all 4 of the drives are listed under Mass Storage Device, but the one that I have put my card in is the only one that is not grayed out (until I remove the card when they are all grayed out).
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a b G Storage
May 14, 2012 1:08:52 PM

I agree that drivers shouldn't be required, but sometimes you never know. :)  Even more so now that you've said that these are whitebox systems (e.g., using an Abit motherboard).

With a card inserted, can you at least see it mount/appear with in Windows Disk Manager?

Maybe there's a driver interaction problem with the "hide empty drive letters from my computer"? If you haven't already, uncheck that box to see if it helps? I suspect you've done this already though...
to find this setting:
- open My Computer
- tap the ALT key
- under TOOLS select FOLDER OPTIONS
- VIEW tab
- about 6 check boxes down, you will see "hide empty drive letters". This is the box to uncheck.

Since you know they technically work, you could always go the laborious route of taking a spare HDD and slowly patching the OS until they break. :)  /sarcasm

I'd pull one of the card readers out to see if you can find extra markings on them to further identify the model info. Then search for firmware upgrades or other FAQs as to what might have broken the connection with the OS.

Alternatively try to remove all associated drivers and then let Windows only interact with the devices. (thinking Windows drivers weren't being used before you did this last Alcor Micro update).
July 15, 2012 10:07:57 AM

Hello,
!