Windows 10 USB causing problems when inserted?

...Or computer problem?
When I insert the flash drive into the computer, the computer starts having problems.

Earlier this year my Windows 10 OS became corrupted. The computer shop put a copy of Windows 10 onto a 128GB flash drive for me, and I was able to reinstall Windows successfully by using it.

The reason I purchased a 128GB flash drive for this was that I wanted to be able to also use it for other things. I was reassured that I'd be able to do that.

What's Happened:
Last night when I wanted to transfer files onto it for transferring to my tablet, as soon as I put the flash drive in the computer, the cursor started acting jerky. It got worse the longer I left it in. If I tried to transfer more than one file at a time, the flash drive became unrecogizable. Right click menus had jerky reactions and when I right clicked on the drive in My PC, and then clicked on Eject, it actually right clicked on a backup drive and clicked on Format. Without even opening up the Format details window, the computer went ahead and formatted the drive (I only noticed later). When I'd finished transferring files and Ejected the drive, the computer still acted jerky, so I restarted. After the restart the computer was fine.

There was no jerkiness today when I copied the Windows 10 files (from a backup copy stored on the computer) onto another drive. The drive sat in the computer for 2 hours and no jerkiness.

I tested two other flash drives, and the computer reported a problem with each about a minute after I'd inserted them. With the first, I ignored it and started transferring the same files over. The cursor began acting jerky (but not as badly as with the Windows 10 backup) and I was only able transfer one file at a time or else the drive became unrecognizable. I had to remove and reinsert the flash drive a few times so I could continue transferring files.

I decided better safe than sorry, formatted each non-backup flash drive, ejected and reinserted. Both times the computer said there were errors that needed to be repaired, so I told it to go ahead and almost immediately it said there were no errors, and the warning box closed. The same thing happened with a flash drive with data, this morning. The files on it are fine.

Q1. Could the problem be with the USB reader on the computer?

Q2. Or are the problems caused by a faulty flash drive?

Q3. Are the problems the computer experiences the result of the flash drive having Windows 10 backup on it (computer somehow trying to read them and getting "confused")?

Q4. If I put the Windows 10 backup onto a smaller flash drive, will it work properly as a backup/emergency reinstall tool? I am a newbie and I don't know if the computer shop did something special with the files, or if they can work the same way from a different flash drive.

Thanks, folks.

Post was last edited on October 28, 2019 9:19 PM PDT

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You have 3 or 4 posts that seem

To be all about some data loss. Bear in mind that backup is MORE THAN ONE COPY so you can recover. Some get upset about how computers are still not reliable enough to operate without backups of what we can't lose.

While you ask a lot of questions all it points to is a lack of backups and then you have "THAT MAKE OF DRIVE." All bets are off here.

-> About WINDOWS BACKUP. I find that too unstable and unreliable so for my backups I clone my system drive and sync my files to two externals. Files that can't be lost if the two backups fail are on another USB stick and a copy on a cloud storage system. Finally some archive material is on yet another HDD in lockup along with old school data DVDs.

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Questions not about backing-up or data loss

Regarding my other post last night about data loss: Mystery solved. It was caused by the problem I'm talking about in this post. When I used the Team-brand flash drive (with the Windows 10 emergency re-installation files on it), the computer and cursor became very jerky, with delayed visuals, and I had next to no control over them. When I right-clicked on the flash drive in My PC, and chose "eject", it actually clicked on the drive next to it (which happened to be my sole Seagate drive), and chose "format". Without popping up a format window, the computer automatically formatted the drive in the background.
Removing the flash drive and restarting solved the jerkiness and delayed visuals.

So this post is about the effect that the flash drive had on my computer.

I have plenty of backups. Everything is backed up onto three WD drives, except movies, which are backed up onto two.
Like you, I don't trust Windows backup. I prefer to have control over what gets backed up and what doesn't. I wasn't 100% sure what was on the drive that was erased last night, so that's why Kees_B's pointing me to Recuva was helpful.

My questions in this post are;
-Could the problems described here be caused by a faulty USB reader?
-Could they be caused by the flash drive being faulty?
-Could they have been caused by the computer trying to read the Windows emergency re-installation files on the flash drive and getting "confused"?

And not not about this issue, but related;
-If I copy those Windows 10 emergency Re-installation files onto a different flash drive, will they work as well as the files put on the Team-brand flash drive that they're currently on (that seemed to have triggered the problems I'm asking about)?

Any answers to the questions in this post are much appreciated.

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I have to agree.

Yes, yes, yes. PCs are imperfect and someday our luck runs out.

But I get the feeling you want forensics. OK, how to do that. Duplicate the setup and
1. Show it works with another USB system or stick.
2. Show it fails with this stick.

No one I know does this but it seems you want to find out.

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Did that. Here's what happened tonight...

I can't imagine why no-one else would want forensics; that's the way to find out what's going wrong so you can fix it.

After the first paragraph under "What Happened", I describe what happened with two other flash drives I tested, as well as another flash drive when I copied the Windows 10 emergency re-installation files over to it successfully en masse. The computer said there were errors on each flash drive, but when I told it to go ahead and fix any errors, it changed it's mind and said there weren't any after all. I formatted the drives to be safe. This has happened before. I don't use flash drives often.

Now, any flash drives that were formatted or error checked last night are recognized, they're fine. BUT, but but but. I just now put the flash drive, with the Windows 10 emergency re-installation files on it, in the computer again. Instant loss of cursor. I couldn't even safely eject it. I had to just pull it out. Immediate return to normality when I did.


Is the flash drive faulty?


Are the OS re-installing files on it causing the problems?


If the files are put onto a different flash drive, can they be used to successfully re-install Windows 10 in case of an emergency?

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you said there were errors

you said there were errors but have yet to post what those errors say. you can also go into event viewer and check for error messages - if the logs are turned on. You have yet to post exactly what computer model you have. we are not sitting in front of your computer, how about providing real info that those who help can work with.

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Look again...

Acer Aspire TC-710 desktop
Windows 10 v. Build 18362

I said there were no errors, right before I list my questions. Although the computer threw up a window that said there were, when I told it to go ahead and fix the errors, it changed its mind and said the flash drives were fine.
I haven't scanned the troublesome flash drive yet but I'll do that when I have a moment. It wasn't getting an error message before, but got it's first one tonight when I put it in and immediately lost my cursor. I would do it now but it's nearly 2.30am, here.

If you need any more info, please tell me what you need and I'll do my best to find it for you.

Post was last edited on October 28, 2019 11:20 PM PDT

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Three question, three answers

1. Probably.
2. Unlikely, they aren't accessed if you put it in.
3. Unknown, they might be damaged.

My advice: buy a new 8 GB stick, and fill that with the latest Windows 10 install files as told in Choose the option to download "for another PC". Don't use it for anything else.

Post was last edited on October 29, 2019 3:20 AM PDT

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Turn off Auto Run

Since they gave you a USB set to reinstall windows, it also may have an install program on it that begins to autorun, which would first clear the drive it was going to install on, what you said was "formatted", which it may also have been done. There should be a setting in windows to turn off AutoRun for all inserted media, meaning it won't run unless you clk on the program to run it in future if needed.

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Not quite...

There is an autorun with setup information in there, but the instructions I was given, that worked when I used the flash drive to re-install Windows on the computer, said to first go into the Boot menu and set it to start up from USB. When I brought the stick home, I set up the boot menu, stuck in the USB stick, and rebooted the computer. It all went great.
The computer is not currently set up to start from USB.

The expansion drive that was formatted was formatted by accident when the Problem USB made the cursor so jerky that I had almost no control over it, and it ended up clicked on the wrong thing. Then the computer ended up formatting the backup drive without me giving permission.

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Error Scan Results, Files on both look the same

So, I scanned the Problem USB stick today. When I plugged it into the computer, it said what it always says when I plug in a USB stick: There are errors on this drive. I clicked on Scan and Repair, it said it might take awhile, and then it gave the same result it always does with all USB stick scans: "Windows successfully scanned the drive. No errors were found".

Because inserting the USB stick immediately freezes/jerks/kills the cursor, the only way to do the scan was to have the cursor positioned in the area of the screen where the error notification pulls out. The jerks didn't progress to the point of total lack of control so I was able to get a screenshot of the files.

The files on Problem Child look to be exactly the same as the files I copied over to a 8GB flash drive, a couple of days ago, including the size. I didn't follow the steps that you've linked to, just dragged them over. That was why I was asking if files copied to another drive would work for emergency re-install. The computer shop says that that should work the same way. I also went inside the files and everything looks the same.

So, just to confirm; you say that the computer's USB reader is probably faulty?

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To call the USB reader faulty.

I have to boot another OS like Linux from USB then see how another OS responds to this drive.

Then again, my method is to swap in a known good drive and if that works fine I call the USB stick or card faulty. I have encountered owners that are in deep denial the card or stick has failed and want to conduct deep forensic CSI style investigations.

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PS. Something I need to share about HDDs.

We see a lot of iffy drives at the office so here's a thing we look for.

I've covered about the USB stick or card test but for USB and internal HDDs we run the SPECCY report and head to the SMART health values 01 and 07. If either are in the thousands the drive is called iffy and no further work is done till said drives are gone.

In the years since this discovery we have seen hundreds of cases, some like yours and this measurement has saved us a lot of time and our clients thousands of bucks.

Then again you will encounter the occasional client that wants to debate this or ask how to save such a (bad) drive.

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Thanks for the tip

OK, this looks helpful. I'm glad you talked about SPECCY and what Health values to look for. I took a quick glance at it and I'm impressed. I downloaded the free version and ran it.

I can't find any Health Values in the results. Just descriptions of the CPU, Motherboard, RAM, OS, and so on. No Health values on hardware. No S.M.A.R.T anything. I hope this is accessible through the free version. It looks like I may have to take some tutorials on how to use this tool.

If the USB reader is good, it's good. If not, it goes to the shop for replacement under extended warranty.

Thank-you Happy

EDIT: From what I'm reading on the Speccy forums, something's not working. Apparently Speccy generates a random URL every time it does a scan. There's no URL anywhere. There should be the SMART data you've mentioned, and there's nothing. It look just like how one mod has described it; a tool that tells you what hardware devices are in you PC. That's it. Maybe you have the technician's version, and it's different? I'll have to post on the CCleaner forum for Speccy.

Post was last edited on October 29, 2019 7:23 PM PDT

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I'll use a post I made about an old PC
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I can see the S.M.A.R.T health values for various bits and pieces on the scan results, but I can't find my USB reader anywhere in the list of hardware. I stuck a Lexar USB stick in there and ran the scan, but although the Lexar shows up, the USB reader does not.

I plugged in Problem Child and ran Speccy, but Speccy didn't find it. There's only 1 USB device listed, and it isn't Problem Child. Interestingly, 95% of the jerkiness that resulted from plugging in that flash drive disappeared after I ran the Speccy scan.

I've asked in CCleaner/Speccy forums if I can use Speccy to see the health of the USB reader.

On a bright note, all my backup drives are looking great.

Post was last edited on October 29, 2019 8:30 PM PDT

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Use your clues.

If you plug in a thing and it creates issues, then the likely cause is that thing.

You write USB reader so try another USB reader.

IF THIS USB READER uses an internal USB header on the motherboard I've lost track of such that end up in the shop to be disabled and have the owner use the cheap common USB to SD-card type readers.

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USB reader part of computer

<sigh> To try another USB reader, the techs at the shop would have to exchange it in the computer. The extended warranty will cover replacement if it's a hardware issue, and not software.

It does have issues with all USB's, initially, but when I tell the computer to scan and repair, it says there are no issues after all. It's just Problem Child that causes that loss of cursor control.

Should I infer that Speccy doesn't find internal USB readers? I don't know what you mean by "internal USB header", although I know what you mean by Motherboard.

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Sorry but Speccy will NOT report health of a USB reader.
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Thanks but

The link you provided is a card reader. I have a card reader. If the USB port is faulty...

Doctor, I can't stop using the USB port. Sad

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Re: USB reader

There's no such thing as a USB-reader. It's just a port to connect something to. Like there is no thing like an Ethernet reader, but only a port to connect the cable to.

If you think the port is defective, try another port. If you think all ports are defective, buy a PCI USB-card (they have 2, 4 or 6 new ports) and install it.
If you think the device you put into the port is defective, test it on another PC.
If you think it's setting or driver issue in Windows, try in Linux or after going back to factory conditions.

The best sequence of all these experiments is left to you.

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I'm a newbie...

I'm afraid I can't install anything. I will always be a newbie because that's I don't have a computer savvy brain.

I've already decided the flash drive is faulty. It messes up the computer no matter which port I plug it into.

If there is no way to test the port with a program, then the only solution is to reset the computer back to factory settings or reinstall Windows 10. With a computer not even two years old yet, that's not looking good. I sure hope the other flash drive I copied the Windows 10 files over works...

Post was last edited on October 30, 2019 8:40 AM PDT

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There are many dead or bad flash drives.

I wonder if all this trouble is due to just a bad drive.

Once in a while you encounter a client that wants to keep a bad drive around and in doing so creates more problems.

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If it's bad, it's gone.

I'm not one who keeps a bad drive around, whether it be flash drive or hard drive. I replace it. Hence the efforts to try to find the source of the problems.

Which kind of drive are you referring to?

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And that's the bad problem.

First I want to clear up what appears to be some miscommunication.

Above I read where you wrote about a card and that's why I supplied where we disable the usual card reader and use an adapter. If this was some USB stick/flash storage then it was not consistently called out as such.

Finally, there is no test to see if the issue is that USB stick other than by inference. I called this out early where you use a good stick then a bad one to see where the issue is but on failed sticks you can not always run a test that will tell you the stick is bad.

That's the state of this sort of failure today.

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No, I've never said it was a card: I've consistently referred to it as USB stick, Flash drive, or "Problem Child". Something got lost in translation, it seems.

The USB stick is still under replacement warranty, so I'll be availing myself of that.

So, you weren't referring to the hard drive when you said "bad drive" in your previous post?

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"USB reader" from above.

USB is a port. A reader plugs into said port to read cards so that's why I was unsure if there was a card in play.

I try to be as flexible as possible when folk write about computer issues and sometimes that's a positive or sometimes I'm reading more than I should and instead should.

I wrote that SPECCY can only, and not always help us find a bad drive. Said drive can be a HDD, USB stick or other. Since I never saw your SPECCY report I have to work this with what information is here.

-> But I can write that SPECCY won't tell you if the USB subsystem and ports are good or bad. For that we swap the USB Drive for a known good unit and re-test.

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Ahh, I see.

I knew what a "card reader" was and assumed that if something "read" a USB stick then it was an installed "USB reader".

When I plugged Problem Child in and ran Speccy, it wasn't listed anywhere in the results. The only USB drive it saw was a 500 GB Hitachi device where the scan was not supported; I have no idea what it's referring to, but it's certainly not the 128 GB TEAM USB Problem Child.

I guess I should call up the good folks at the computer shop and run the problems I have by them. Or maybe post yet another question on Cnet. I get better advice here. The computer guys at the shop pretty much said it sounded like software issues, especially when the "card reader" (port where you plug in an SD card to be read) stopped working. That's when I bought my card reader, but the card-reading issue was cleared up with the Windows 10 re-install. I'm not really sure that that would fix everything, though, since other problems persisted after re-installing Windows 10.

This Acer computer replaces another Acer computer that also had problems from the start. When I have to replace this computer, I shall not be getting an Acer. Perhaps I shall try to avoid getting another computer with a flash drive as opposed to HDD, if that's even possible these days.

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In your last post.

1. "card reader".
2. USB stick.
3. USB reader.

These in our shop mean 3 entirely different devices. Items 1 and 3 could be similar so here's the picture of what each is to me and folk at the office here.


2. USB stick. Could be flash memory or WiFi/Bluetooth dongle.

3. USB reader.

Sorry about all the terminology but hey, computers.

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Ha ha...yeah, Hey, computers

#1 Well, I've never seen that before. It reminds me of my 4-port USB hub.
#2 is what we both mean by USB stick/flash drive
#3 is what I mean by "card reader".

By USB reader, I guess I mean the port at the front of the computer, inside, that you stick the USB stick into.

Oh, and in my last post, what I meant by "flash drive" when I was talking about the next computer, is an SSD, which I've read is just a big flash drive. When I got this computer, I was told it had "flash drive", not DDR. Seems...sticky.

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The USB port is just that.

USB reader would be something else.

But let's go with how we test USB ports. The easy test is to plug in some mouse and keyboard and see if that works. If it does then the basic USB port functions, function.

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