windows xp computer stopped recognizing my external hard drive, doesnt recognise usb devices or memory cards, system restore wont load various probs

I have been running a dell dimension since new in 2006 with no probs, run my business and use as a personal pc.
recently it stopped recognizing my external hard drive (western digital) which had its own backup software that seemed to work fine since new in 2008.
i tried upgrading the software, no difference, i then noticed usb devices playing up, errors loading drivers etc, and my memory card readers which have always been in the tower and worked fine, they stopped autoplaying any data, plus i cannot find anything on any drives in my computer.
all seems to have gone weird. the card reader lights up when a card is inserted, but cannot find it and nothing happens??
i use bitdefender security, and i have performed a scan in rescue mode which found nothing, today, although it did find something a few weeks ago when i first developed a problem.
windows updates have been constantly trying to download the same 0kb update a . net framework security update to no avail.
i am running service pack 3 and cannot find any other updates.
computer runs ok, but when i open my computer and click different drives, they used to display an error asking to insert some data mediums, but now they just open and have or say nothing.
my mouse and keyboard work ok.
any ideas much appreciated.
i dont know much about the operating systems on pcs but i feel i have corruption in the operating system, as i have looked at various logs which seem to have lots of errors.
please help?
cheers in advance 

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Incompatibility with Other Devices
  • If your USB drive is not being recognized by your computer when you plug it in, try unplugging it, and also unplugging any other USB devices that are connected. All USB devices, even those that have an external power supply, draw a portion of their power directly from the USB bus. If you have too many devices connected to the same USB controller, problems such as a drive not being recognized can result.



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Hi
thanks for your reply.
I have tried what you suggested and it makes no difference.
I have had this desktop external hard drive plugged in and working fine since 2008 when i bought it. i havent plugged anything else new in until i realized there was a problem as files were not being backed up due to error message stating "backup destination doesnt exist" so i tried different things.
the pc tower has 5 usb slots on the back and 2 on the front.
i have removed the external drive since i realized it doesnt work, i bought a new external drive at first thinking it was that, but same trouble with the new one, so i returned it to the shop.
at the moment i have the keyboard, mouse and printer plugged in so thats only 3 of 7 ports in use.
this is why i am baffled as to why it stopped working when nothing changed on the setup.
doesnt explain why my card reader has stopped working either.
when i open "my computer" it used to show everything instantly, but now it hangs on a blank page for about 1 minute or more before displaying the connected devices.
as i explained previously, when i click on any of the card reader devices, they used to say something like "please insert media"  but now the page just opens to a blank page with no back button, so i have to press "my computer" on the left panel to get back again.
thanks again
i am trying to give as much detail as poss of my symptoms
hope this helps
thank you

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Hi again,
i have just been having a fiddle, and when i insert a flash drive full of photos in a usb, it beeps, i get the found new hardware message, it says usb mass storage device for ages, and after a few minutes it shows up as a drive in the "my computer " screen, however when i clickto open it, there is nothing its blank, with no back button, so i have to press the my computer link to get back, when i remove the drive it dissappears immediately, same symptom for the external hard drive.
with the memory card reader thats part of the tower from new and worked fine for 6 years almost, it lights up when i insert a card, but doesnt flicker as it used to , but nothing shows up when i click through all the drives on "my computer"
i seem to have lots off errors in the registry though warnings and yellow triangles etc
i can remove the mouse, keyboard and bluetooth dongle or printer just fine and replace them with no probs, (the dongle only goes in when i connect my phone) so it seems to be just memory devices or media storage devices there are issues with

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Hi,

I would suggest you to perform the troubleshooting steps from these links and then check if this fixes the issue.

A computer that is running Windows XP cannot detect a USB flash drive, an Apple iPod, or an external hard disk drive

Why doesn't my computer detect my new USB device when I'm running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003?

Important: This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows XP

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Hi
Thank you for your help
I would like to carry out the above 2 steps, but another problem i have is that i cannot use fixit at all because it always fails to download the powershell and asks me to try again later.
I was just reading other threads on that subject because i hope i could use fixit to tweak various bits for me.
i had a look at fixing it myself sections, but i am not that clued up on a pc.
can you suggest any way i can start using fixit please?
thanks again

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Hi,

I would suggest you to place the computer in clean boot state and then try to run the fix it while the computer is in clean boot state.

Follow the steps from the link “How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state”, to place the computer in clean boot.

Note: Follow the step “Steps to configure Windows to use a Normal startup state”, from the link, to place the computer to normal start.

 

Once you place the computer in clean boot state, then I would suggest you to runt eh fixit from those articles provided in my previous reply.

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Hi,
I  have followed your instructions, and found as follows.
i restarted in clean mode, then tried the first fix you suggested, and it got further than normally, to installing, then stopped with error message "troubleshooter cannot continue because an error occurred, powershell failed to install, try again later"
so i removed the download, turned off firewall and antivirus software(bit defender) then tried again, same outcome.
so i tried the second suggestion, which was a different download with no powershell etc and it worked and completed the "fix"` however when i try plugging in memory cards and usb flash drives, the card is not recognized as the light doesnt even come on now, which it did when i tried yesterday, and the usb beeps, but doesnt show anything in my computer page.
when i tried a different usb, same but with a balloon saying found new hardware, but same nothing appears.
hope this helps
thanks again

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Hi again,
sorry to be a pain, but i just found out i needed to reboot in normal mode, which made the usb and card reader  work again, thank you sooooo much!!!  
i also have the windows update sign when i shut down the pc trying to install 0 kb updates??
still cannot install any powershell fixits though and i would like to try other tweaks as i have the windows update issue, and also the system restore function doesnt work
thanks again

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Hi,

1.       What is the exact error message while installing PowerShell?

2.       What happens when you try to install Windows Updates?

3.       What happen when you try to perform System Restore?

Perform the following troubleshooting methods:

Method 1:

I would suggest you to download and install PowerShell from the link “Windows Management Framework Core package (Windows PowerShell 2.0 and WinRM 2.0)” and then check how it works.

Method 2:

Perform the troubleshooting steps from these links and then check if this fixes Windows Update issues.

Troubleshoot common installation issues in Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and Windows Server Update Services

You cannot install updates from Windows Update, Microsoft Update, or by using Automatic Update after a repair install of Windows XP or after you install Windows XP SP3 immediately after a clean install of Windows XP SP2

Fix the problem with Microsoft Windows Update that is not working

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hi again
1.

THE ERROR MESSAGE I GET WHEN DOWNLOADING THE POWERSHELL SAYS

" TROUBLESHOOTER CANNOT CONTINUE BECAUSE AN ERROR OCCURRED, POWERSHELL
FAILED TO INSTALL, TRY AGAIN LATER"


2. 

WITH WINDOWS UPDATES WHEN I SHUT DOWN MY PC, THERE IS THE UPDATE ICON 
ON THE BUTTON SAYING TURN OFF PC TO INSTALL UPDATES, SO I DO AND THEY 
APPEAR TO INSTALL SUCCESSFULLY BUT THEN THEY ARE THERE AGAIN EVERY TIME
NO SIGN OF THE SHIELD ON TASK BAR AS USED TO BE CONSTANTLY FOR ABOUT 
2 MONTHS
THE UPDATES ARE AS FOLLOWS

Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 on Windows Server
 2003 and Windows XP x86 (KB2656369) size 1.2 MB 


THIS SHOWS IN MY AD/REMOVE PROGRAM LIST AS BEING ALLREADY INSTALLED ON 
12/04/2012

AND


Security Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 on Windows Server
 2003 and Windows XP x86 (KB2633880) SIZE 0KB 

WHICH SHOWS UP AS INSTALLED ON 07/04/2012

when i follow your method 1 to install the powershell, it downloads, 
tried to install, then i got an error message saying as follows

"setup cannot continue because your system contains an incompatible version
of powershell or winrm and run setup again" 

when i then go on to your method 2 
i again get the failed powershell download message for both fixes

when i tried system restore, it was last week, but i have read so many 
errors since, i cannot remeber, but i know that whichever date i selected 
the restoration failed, i know you need exact errors, so i need to re run it,
 but will this undo the fixes you have done so far on my usb /card problems?
thanks again for your great help

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Last updated April 4, 2020 Views 6,645 Applies to: