Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Not removing USB 3.0 external hard drive

  1. #1


    Posts : 21
    Winsows 8

    Not removing USB 3.0 external hard drive


    This might be a warning to others as much as a reprimand to myself. I have two USB 3.0 ports on the front of my Dell XPS 8500 Dell desktop. Once again I have caused the USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller to stop working because I did not disconnect the external hard drive before shutting down, it seems. It reminds me of leaving in a floppy drive but at least the computer would not boot in that circumstance. Now, there is no warning whatsoever. Dell technical support's answer is to refresh or reset the machine.
    I should value other users' comments and any different advice that would be less time-consuming than having to reinstall all of my applications.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Does the drive spin down after some time idle? I'm wondering because I had a USB 2.0 external that would work ok left permanently connected on one of my HP desktops if I set it to never spin down The other HP desktop it did not like to be left connected. Although I didn't get any drastic side effects. I think I just had to unplug, then plug the drive.

    Did you try the standard trick of uninstalling in Device Manager in Safe Mode? Often the plug and play reinstall of the driver fixes things that are stuck.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Texas
    Posts : 1,022
    Windows 8.1


    Hmmmmmmm, I have a Toshiba 500 GB external drive that I leave attached and have for as long as I've had it. I had a Western Digital MyBook that I left attached also with no ill effects (before I dropped it and killed it). Both are USB and the Toshiba identifies itself as USB 3.

    These drives have been left on my old DG33BU Intel mobo (USB 2) and on the newer HP 500-056 without issue. In fact, when I travel I take the Toshiba with me and it's semi-permanently attached to my USB 2 laptop.

    I even have a BlacX USB Docking Station that I leave attached (with a regular SATA hard drive inserted).

    So, I'm wondering if there might be something else going on here, or if it's an exclusive Dell problem.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Likewise I had a couple of SIIG USB 3.0 docking stations hooked up to the machine that did not like my Seagate 500 GB external USB 2.0. Seems like it's catch as catch can with some of this stuff.

    Edit: but that PC was running Vista64 SP1, if it matters.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    Quote Originally Posted by Wynona View Post
    I had a Western Digital MyBook that I left attached also with no ill effects (before I dropped it and killed it).
    -Dont feel bad, I dropped a BRAND NEW 2 TB MyBook and killed it. I was lucky they gave me a new one.

    So, I'm wondering if there might be something else going on here, or if it's an exclusive Dell problem.
    Might be Dell, I've noticed this kind of behaviour with Windows 7 on recent Dell Machines. I don't know if it is really bad to just unplug a USB 3 device? I always just unplug USB 2's.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 21
    Winsows 8


    Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
    I had my own thought, too: System Restore. Fortunately, an automatic restore point had been created yesterday. Lo and behold! I am back in business.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Texas
    Posts : 1,022
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by XweAponX View Post
    Might be Dell, I've noticed this kind of behaviour with Windows 7 on recent Dell Machines. I don't know if it is really bad to just unplug a USB 3 device? I always just unplug USB 2's.
    I remember back when USB was first introduced that we were told it could be plugged in with the system running or not (I think it's called hot swap), but for the most part, I've avoided doing that. But there are so many others who weren't as cautious as I was, and have plugged and unplugged at random . . . so it would be rather disingenuous for USB 3 to require anything different.

    Can you imagine this scenario . . . New computer with USB 3 that requires the system to be shut down before connecting and disconnecting . . . Wynona has always just "pulled the plug" and does so, much to her chagrin . . . She just hosed her system.

    Logic tells me the requirements remain the same and besides, it seems Bob didn't "pull the plug" on his external drive, which caused his grief.

    I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it's possibly a requirement to disconnect an external drive before shutting down.

    @Bob . . . You must have gotten the worst tech rep in the Dell organization if he suggested resetting or refreshing the machine when a simple system restore cured its ills!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Once again I have caused the USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller to stop working because I did not disconnect the external hard drive before shutting down,
    Hi Bob Hawkins,

    Can't you please explaibn what "not working" entails? Does it just cause the USB3 ports to revert to USB2 speeds or something different? I will wait for your explanation before I make any suggestions because I need to understand exactly what not working means; however, I will tell you that you are not alone with this issue.

    BTW, you should be not have to unplug that drive before shutting down.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    Wynona, I have a program that does "Hot Swap" - I can use it to connect and disconnect SATA drives from my system while it is running.

    I have had to just YANK my USB's out when they refused to let go gracefully, none of them have seemed to develope problems. I keep them CHKDSK'd and optimized though.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 21
    Winsows 8


    my2cents
    I thank you for your query.
    In normal circumstances, there would be three beeps from the PC upon connecting the external hard drive, the external hard drive would show a blue light and File Explorer would open. I know something is wrong when I have left the external hard drive connected and no blue light shows following starting the PC. I check File Explorer and see that the external hard drive is not recognised. I check Device Manager and see '...stopped working...' that is part of the message in the Device status window of the General tab of the USB 3.0 host controller.

    Wynona
    I thank you for your comments.
    Dell technical support's very first action was to change the driver when the one being used was seen to be up to date. This worked for two days but then failed. The next person I spoke to suggested that the wrong driver had been used and chose another. When this failed, too, I was taken through a refresh. It was not until the external hard drive was not recognised once again that it was suggested the problem all along could be caused by the permanent connection of the external hard drive. I guess it is a valid point that at no time was I taken into System Restore. As an aside, however, I must say I find System Restore far less satisfactory in the random manner in which it seems to operate sometimes than was ever the case in XP.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Not removing USB 3.0 external hard drive
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