No idea why, but I have one WAG you can try. Try a powered USB Hub. Plug the hub into your laptop, then plug your gizmo into the hub.
Maybe it works maybe it just powers down your laptop. What's changing is that the powered hub should draw less power from your laptop than your gizmo directly. If that's whats causing the shut down, then maybe this will work around it.
I have a Dell Latitude D430 running xp pro and recently purchased a Coolmax multiport converter to transfer some data from another drive. When I connect the USB cables to the laptop it just powers off the laptop. I know the converter works as I have tested it on another machine. Any ideas why it would take down the machine every time it is connected?