Proactive USB Troubleshooting

At this point, most books and web sites that offer USB troubleshooting suggestions present a list of things to do when a USB problem occurs—connect the USB device to a different port, reboot the PC, and so on. All good advice, and sometimes it even works. But the truth is that in order to avoid USB problems in the first place and to solve those problems that do occur, it’s important to start with a solid foundation. Otherwise, you can troubleshoot until you’re blue in the face and still have problems—either the same boring old problems or exciting new problems.

The real secret to troubleshooting USB is to do everything possible to prevent problems. Doing that requires optimizing the system for USB—configuring a new system properly from the start, or reconfiguring an existing system to eliminate things likely to cause USB problems. In order to build a stable, robust, reliable USB system, do the following:

Verify your USB host controller

The first step in building a stable USB system is determining which USB host controller your system uses, as described in the previous section. If it has a recent AMD, Intel, NEC, or nVIDIA host controller, you may be in luck. If it has an older AMD, Intel, or NEC host controller, or if it has any host controller made by ALi, SiS, VIA, or another company, you may need to install a PCI/USB card with a more recent USB HCI.

Check compatibility of each USB peripheral

Before you proceed, take the time to visit the web site ...

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