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Fixes for failed USB file transfers

The transfer of files between a USB 2.0 hub and a Windows XP system can not only fail, it can fail in very strange ways.

USB (Universal Serial Bus) is the standard for connecting USB devices from printers to external USB hard drives on Windows XP computers. The availability of inexpensive hubs allows administrators and users to connect multiple USB devices to the same USB port and easily move files to external hard disks, tape drives or portable computers.

Why USB file transfers may fail
However, transferring files between a USB 2.0 hub and a Windows XP system can fail in mysterious ways.

  • The file transfer may fail. In this case the system gives you an error message, usually a delayed write error, although the error message may vary depending on the USB device.


  • Other USB devices on the hub may fail. You may get an error message telling you the USB devices have been disconnected and reconnected.


  • If you are using a USB keyboard, it may fail. Or it may go bonkers, where pressing a key may produce no response, a delayed response or a whole string of key entries.

Note: It isn't always obvious that you are using a USB hub. Some portables in particular will have an internal USB hub supporting a single USB port on the computer case. This allows more than one USB device to be active at once, for example, adding built-in Bluetooth connectivity, but it can disguise the fact that a hub is in use.

The problem does not occur with high-speed (480 Mbps) USB devices, but it can with either low-speed (1.5 Mbps) or full-speed (12 Mbps) USB devices.

Microsoft has released a  Hotfix to correct the problem.

About the Author:
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in issues related to storage and storage management.


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