Problems with a specific USB device in Windows XP
USB problems are usually an easy problem to solve. First, isolate the problem. Unplug all USB devices from the system, including USB hubs. Next, take a known good USB device and attach it to the system. If the known good device works, then you can be sure that there is nothing wrong with the port itself.
Now take the device that was malfunctioning and plug it directly into one of the computer’s USB ports while no other USB devices are connected to the system. If the device starts working, the problem most likely was that device was conflicting with another USB device. One way that USB devices can conflict with each other is if they share a common serial number. Each USB device in a system must have a unique serial number. Having two devices with a common serial number is very rare, but there are documented cases of it happening.
If the device now works and it isn’t sharing a serial number with another device, it was probably malfunctioning because of an overloaded USB hub or a conflicting device driver (Click here to run a scan for updated drivers). The only real way to sort out the problem is to use trial-and-error by plugging in various combinations of USB devices until you find the device or devices that the malfunctioning device is conflicting with. Once you track this down, you can usually solve the problem by moving the devices to different physical USB ports or by updating the drivers for both devices.
What if plugging in the malfunctioning device without any other USB devices being plugged in doesn’t cure the problem?
Try checking the computer’s Event Logs for clues to the malfunction. If the event log doesn’t give any clues, try plugging the malfunctioning device into another computer. If the device works on the other computer, then you can be sure that the device is good.
If the alternate computer is using an operating system other than Windows XP, the problem could be that the device or its driver isn’t Windows XP-compatible. Check to see if there are updates for your device for XP, if not, contact the device’s manufacturer to see if there are any known issues with using the device with Windows XP.
If the alternate computer is running Windows XP and the device is working, then I recommend checking out what version of the device driver is being used on each machine and using the one that works, even if it isn’t the most recent.