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Windows XP + USB = Idiocy

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20 replies to this topic

#1
naaloh

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As every Windows XP user probably knows, this OS has an utterly stupid feature of installing a USB device anew if it was plugged into a different USB receptacle, unless the device has a unique serial number, which is, usually, only true for mass storage devices. I've read somewhere that it was introduced to permit using two identical devices without SNs simultaneously, but if the developers really wanted this, they should make the OS install another device only if the previously installed device(s) of this same type were connected. As it stands, the current implementation is nothing but annoyance for 99.(9) percent of users.

I'm, therefore, very much interested if there's a way to get rid of this behavior. I don't care if I lose the ability to use two identical devices without SNs simultaneously. Why would I want to, anyway, it's not like I need a number of UMTS modems or IrDA adapters or anything else. I may need two identical external HDDs, but those will surely have SNs.

Sorry if this question has already been asked, but it seems that the search engine on this forum ignores three letter words, at least I got nothing when I searched for "USB".


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#2
Tripredacus

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To search for words 3 letters or less, you can use google. For example you can go to google and type this into the search box:

site:msfn.org usb xp

As far as this issue, it also exists in Vista and Windows 7 as well, however it is more transparent and less annoying. However, the underlying driver model is still there, as is evident that a per-port driver instance can become corrupted in Windows 7, making it so a USB device will not work on a specific port, but will on another. I have a GoFlex drive that refuses to work on either of the front USB ports on my workstation. I think it has something to do with not using the Safely Remove Hardware feature.

#3
naaloh

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To search for words 3 letters or less, you can use google. For example you can go to google and type this into the search box:

site:msfn.org usb xp

Yeah, sure, and spend the rest of my life studying the 44,100 results :whistle: I wonder why you haven't suggested just searching the internet for usb xp, this would've been about as helpful :thumbdown

As far as this issue, it also exists in Vista and Windows 7 as well, however it is more transparent and less annoying.

Care to elaborate on this? I haven't used Vista or 7, so it would be interesting to know how it handles USB devices.

#4
5eraph

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Yeah, sure, and spend the rest of my life studying the 44,100 results :whistle:

Perhaps this is the reason the forum search feature doesn't allow searching for three-letter words. :P And the rest of that paragraph of yours was just disrespectful. :thumbdown

Edited by 5eraph, 16 May 2012 - 08:56 AM.


#5
naaloh

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Perhaps this is the reason the forum search feature doesn't allow searching for three-letter words. :P

Well, if this is indeed the reason, then whoever made the engine like this clearly lost his connection with reality, because, unlike internet search engines, the forum search allows to specify forums to look in and limit search to topic titles only, so it would most certainly haven't been more than a few hundred results (a score or two is more likely).

And the rest of that paragraph of yours was just disrespectful. :thumbdown

In my world no respect is given for spouting pointless "advices", what about yours?

Edited by naaloh, 16 May 2012 - 09:34 AM.


#6
5eraph

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He gave you a good start, naaloh. You could try this with Google:

USB site:http://www.msfn.org/board/forum/34-windows-xp/

Edited by 5eraph, 16 May 2012 - 10:24 AM.


#7
naaloh

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Thanks, 5eraph. I didn't know that google accepted paths for the "site:" parameter (after all, the description says "Search one site (like wikipedia.org ) or limit your results to a domain like .edu, .org or .gov"). Well, looking through the results, I haven't found anything similar to my question, so we're back to square one: is there any way to prevent XP from installing already installed devices anew just because they've been plugged into a different receptacle?

#8
Ponch

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In my world no respect is given for spouting pointless "advices", what about yours?

In mine your question is pointless, so you deserve no respect. Is that how it works ? I don't think so.
Please read the forum rules, especially 7b.

#9
UltimateSilence

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IMHO, Windows XP doesn't have a single stupid feature...
Google results are unfruitful...
EDIT: Does the "feature" have a name? :o

Edited by UltimateSilence, 16 May 2012 - 11:46 PM.


#10
naaloh

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In mine your question is pointless, so you deserve no respect. Is that how it works ? I don't think so.
Please read the forum rules, especially 7b.

You're right, it's not how it works, because my question is not pointless. And if you really found flame in my posts, then you'll certainly have no trouble finding water in Sahara desert... or a non-existent black cat in a dark room.

IMHO, Windows XP doesn't have a single stupid feature...
Google results are unfruitful...
EDIT: Does the "feature" have a name? :o

Am I to assume that you don't consider features like AutoPlay or Desktop Cleanup Wizard stupid? Never thought people like that existed... except perhaps those who think that "stupid" is not a word strong enough to describe those features B)
As to the name, none that I'm aware of.

#11
UltimateSilence

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IMHO, Windows XP doesn't have a single stupid feature...
Google results are unfruitful...
EDIT: Does the "feature" have a name? :o

Am I to assume that you don't consider features like AutoPlay or Desktop Cleanup Wizard stupid? Never thought people like that existed... except perhaps those who think that "stupid" is not a word strong enough to describe those features B)
As to the name, none that I'm aware of.


You are correct on your assessment of my position.

Not even an "unofficial" name? If you were to objectively describe it in words, what would you call it?

#12
GrofLuigi

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Some explanation here: Section "USB serial number". And the entire site is very useful.

I personally have stopped bothering with this, every few months I keep uninstalling the non-present devices.

GL

#13
bphlpt

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Great link @GrofLuigi. Many Thanks!

Cheers and Regards

#14
Tripredacus

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Yeah, sure, and spend the rest of my life studying the 44,100 results :whistle:

Perhaps this is the reason the forum search feature doesn't allow searching for three-letter words. :P And the rest of that paragraph of yours was just disrespectful. :thumbdown


The character restriction is not something we have set, it is in the forum software. It is to prevent searches from taxing the server, especially when on forums that are as old as this one. :D

Everyone in this thread needs to settle down. :realmad:

#15
bphlpt

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In hindsight, I guess we should have just answered the OP:

No, as far as we know there is no way to get rid of this behavior.

And also provided the link that GrofLuigi provided.

Cheers and Regards

#16
jaclaz

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.. or a non-existent black cat in a dark room.

You'll have to explain how comes that the invisible box where I put that little devil in makes loud "meows" from time to time. :whistle:

Grofluigi's approach is IMHO the most sensible one (cleaning from time to time and anyway when needed the "USB related" parts of the Registry).
I find this one a very handy tool for it:
http://www.nirsoft.n...vices_view.html

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 17 May 2012 - 10:38 AM.


#17
naaloh

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Am I to assume that you don't consider features like AutoPlay or Desktop Cleanup Wizard stupid? Never thought people like that existed... except perhaps those who think that "stupid" is not a word strong enough to describe those features B)
As to the name, none that I'm aware of.


You are correct on your assessment of my position.

Not even an "unofficial" name? If you were to objectively describe it in words, what would you call it?

Would you mind explaining what kind of use you find in AutoPlay? Are you one of those people who connect/insert data storage media without knowing why, so that when an id***-friendly OS like XP scans the contents and displays the "What do you want Windows to do?" dialog, they find it useful and not consider the time wasted on scanning wasted :D
As to the name, I can't come up with anything shorter than "simultaneous use of multiple identical USB devices with no serial numbers", but that name doesn't imply the problems actually caused by the feature.

Some explanation here: Section "USB serial number". And the entire site is very useful.

That much I knew already. This website is actually confusing because it doesn't mention the OSes that the information applies to. For example, I know for certain that on Windows ME the same device is NOT installed anew when plugged into a different receptacle. Tripredacus said something about "the issue in Vista and Windows 7 being more transparent and less annoying", but did not explain what he meant despite my asking him to do so.

The character restriction is not something we have set, it is in the forum software. It is to prevent searches from taxing the server, especially when on forums that are as old as this one. :D

No problem. I'm not trying to tell you how to run this forum.

Grofluigi's approach is IMHO the most sensible one (cleaning from time to time and anyway when needed the "USB related" parts of the Registry).
I find this one a very handy tool for it:
http://www.nirsoft.n...vices_view.html

No, it's not sensible at all. Such policy leads to the virtual port numbers of USB modems, Bluetooth adapters, SIM card readers, etc, etc being constantly changed. The only sensible policy right now is to use one specific receptacle for each device.
Aslo, there's no need whatsoever for third-party tools to see (and remove if necessary) non-present devices. Editing two registry keys (see the attached regfile) and enabling the "Show hidden devices" option lets you do it in the XP Device Manager.

Attached Files


Edited by naaloh, 18 May 2012 - 01:09 AM.


#18
bphlpt

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@naaloh

To answer your original question:


No, as far as we know there is no way to get rid of this behavior.


We're glad you already know about the information provided in the link GrolfLuigi provided - Section "USB serial number"

Thank you very much also for clearly stating your opinion of this change in behavior that MS began sometime after Win ME and unfortunately continues to this day in all succeeding versions of Windows.

Can we give it a rest now please? Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt, 18 May 2012 - 01:29 AM.


#19
jaclaz

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The only sensible policy right now is to use one specific receptacle for each device.

If you are happy with it, that's good. :)

Aslo, there's no need whatsoever for third-party tools to see (and remove if necessary) non-present devices. Editing two registry keys (see the attached regfile) and enabling the "Show hidden devices" option lets you do it in the XP Device Manager.

I never said it was "needed", I said "handy", and, had you simply tested it, you would have found my statement to be accurate.

jaclaz

#20
Tripredacus

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That much I knew already. This website is actually confusing because it doesn't mention the OSes that the information applies to. For example, I know for certain that on Windows ME the same device is NOT installed anew when plugged into a different receptacle. Tripredacus said something about "the issue in Vista and Windows 7 being more transparent and less annoying", but did not explain what he meant despite my asking him to do so.


Windows Vista + won't prompt you for a driver, but will install it in the background. You may or may not end up seeing an "Installing Devices" pop-up from the System Tray, but even this can be configured to hide such notifications. Windows 8, on the other hand, seems to fix this problem altogether, as once you tell Win8 to open UFDs, it opens within a second of you pluggin it in and with no apparent lag time of installing a driver. This seems true even if using different ports or even USB drives that have not been plugged into the system before.

So Windows XP is stuck in the middle of USB support progression. With the horrible (if absent) support (except for Altec Lansing speakers) in Windows 95B, to Win98... I can't speak of ME or 2000. Getting better in Vista and 7 and with Windows 8 the best yet.

#21
naaloh

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Windows Vista + won't prompt you for a driver, but will install it in the background. You may or may not end up seeing an "Installing Devices" pop-up from the System Tray, but even this can be configured to hide such notifications. Windows 8, on the other hand, seems to fix this problem altogether, as once you tell Win8 to open UFDs, it opens within a second of you pluggin it in and with no apparent lag time of installing a driver. This seems true even if using different ports or even USB drives that have not been plugged into the system before.

So Windows XP is stuck in the middle of USB support progression. With the horrible (if absent) support (except for Altec Lansing speakers) in Windows 95B, to Win98... I can't speak of ME or 2000. Getting better in Vista and 7 and with Windows 8 the best yet.

What interests me is whether newer-than-XP OSes install another device only when an identical device/devices is/are already present or regardless of that.




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