I am new to this forum and I have a weird problem!! It is such that I dont even know how to search for the appropriate forums beacuse it may very easily be mistaken for a thousand different other problems. Ok here it goes:
--I have a Dell 8400 desktop /w winxp sp2 with all the updates applied from windows website
--I cannot install any usb hardware even the very basic ones like mouse or usb flash drives (which should work right away). The regular installation screen comes up and says cannot finish the installation wizard, no matter what i do.
--When i go to device manager, select an item (i.e acpi multiprocerssor under computer, standard keyboard under keyboards, ST3160023AS under disk drives and so on and so forth....) and right click on properties a dialog box titled "device installer error" shows up saying "windows could not load the installer for XXX. Contact your hardware vendor for assistance" and then it opens up the properties. Now, every tab works EXCEPT the "driver" tab. When i click on driver tab, device manager freezes! the only way is to end task by task manager. And this happens for other devices as well. Driver tab basically freezes device manager.
--All these devices work ok for the time being.
--scandisk (sfc /scannow) does not seem to solve the problem
--i usually run registry mechanic, that does not solve the problem
--formatting seems like the best solution, HOWEVER it must be the last resort since my computer is heavily utilized and has lot of stuff that I need to use. (I mean I'd prefer having this problem to formatting if all else fails)
So, I am assuming all that has to do something with usb devices not being installed.
OK now something enlightening about ALL this:
When i boot into safe mode, everything starts to work OK! I can install new usb devices, when I go to driver tab it shows up and device manager does not freeze.. so when i need to install a driver for a usb device i go into safe mode install it and restart adn that way it works but this whole process is very annoying time consuming.
In the light of this information, what might be the problem about device manager and usb ports and/or drivers?? Because it is really annoying when I try to plug in some usb device like a usb flash drive (which I need to do most of the time, especially for the drives of my friends in our research lab) and the system does not recognize it (does not install the driver for it.)
Any help would be very much appreciated!