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External hard drives causing PC to fail to boot up

by smoynihan / January 24, 2006 9:57 PM PST

I have a Dell Dimension 8400 PC - Windows XP Media Center Edition; pentium 4 cpu 3.2; 1 G memory. We have many music/video/digital image files and have purchased 3 external hard drives for storage and back-up purposes connected via USB(2 Western Digital 80GB each; and 1 Seagate 160 GB). We have 1 HP printer, 1 Visioneer scanner, and a kodak digital scanner connected via USB ports. With the addition of the most recent Seagate external drive the PC fails to boot up when the externals are turned on. I bought a USB hub to try and rectify the problem but no help. Obvious solution is to wait to turn the external Seagate on after the PC boots up but given the computers CPU and physical memory shouldn't it be able to boot up right away with the devices connected and powered on???? please help thanks Sean

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Sean, Wow, 6 USB Devices Turned On...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 25, 2006 12:51 AM PST

Unfortunately, with that many "similar" devices running at the same time, conflicts are bound to occur...First, by "Fails to boot up", what exactly occurs? Is there an error message or does the comp simply stay at a black screen? Recognize the more USB devices, the slower the boot will be..How long have you waited?

Note the article below at the link:

You Cannot Simultaneously Use Multiple USB Scanners in Windows XP

Next, are you using Service Pack 2 on the XP Media Center Edition..If not, you probably should..Lots' of fixes in SP2..

Have you checked for a BIOS update for that computer? See the computer manufacturer's website..

Have you installed all the most recent firmware or drivers for all the external drives?

Since you stated the hard drives would be used as backups, I'm curious why you would want to run them all at the same time?

Hope this helps.


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External hard drive issue
by smoynihan / January 25, 2006 4:08 AM PST

Grif -

Thanks for your response. In answering your questions

1. the screen continues to remain black with the curser blinking in the top left hand corner.
2. I've waited for quite some time without anything happening.
3.I have SP2

You're absolutely correct in wondering what the need for all of them to be operating at once is - there is no need - it only happened because I was doing some transferring of files from the two 80GB to the 160 GB so they were all on.

On a normal day I would not need them all running at the same time and even if I did I can power them on after the system boots up. This Dell has been fantastic but I had a previous Dell PC that had myriad problems so I was curious as to whether this system is performing properly. From your response, I may be expecting too much from the system.

The firmware/drivers are all up to date but I will check the BIOS.

Thanks for your time. I appreciate it. Sean

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Power supply problem?
by bbcamp2 / January 27, 2006 5:31 AM PST

With so many USB users, could you have overloaded the USB power bus? I don't know for sure, and am far from being an expert, so I'm just thinking out loud...

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