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Windows 7: The mysterious case of the dissapearing USB3 external drives ...

15 May 2012   #1

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 
The mysterious case of the dissapearing USB3 external drives ...

G'day,

I've spent the past few days tryng to help a friend sort out a mysterious case of dissapearing USB3 external drives, but it has me stumped.

Computer:
LGA1155 Gigabyte GAZ68A-D3H-B3 Rev 1.0 motherboard with latest F13 BIOS
Etron EJ168 USB3.0 chip with 2nd from latest driver (version 1.0.0.0111)
Antec NEO ECO 620W PSU
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 x64 fully updated

USB 3.0 External Drives:
1 X WESTERN DIGITAL USB3 1024GB WDBPCK0010BBK mapped as Y:
1 X WESTERN DIGITAL USB3 1024GB WDBPCK0010BBK mapped as Z:

Both devices are less than 4 months old, purchased new a few weeks part from the same store (OfficeWorks).

Typical sequence of events/symptoms:
Both USB devices are displaying fine in both Explorer and Disk Manager, and work exactly as expected. Absolutely no trouble with the devices at all. The LED light on the disks are lit up.

After an indeterminate time (typically somewhere between 1 to 3 hours), the devices dissapear (no longer show) from Explorer, as if they have been physically removed from the USB 3.0 ports - there is no disconnect sound (ding-dong) played. The LED lights on the devices stay lit as normal. Opening Disk Management, the devices are NOT shown. The disks appear to be disconnected from the computer, but they are definately plugged in and powered.

If I physically unplug one of these devices, I immediately get the the disconnect sound (ding-dong). If I then plug the device back in, the connect sound (ding-dong) plays, and after a second or two, the AutoPlay prompt appears, and the devices shown up in Explorer as normal. If I open Disk Manager, the drive displays exactly as expected. This also happens with the 2nd device.

This sequence of events can be replicated several times.

What I have tried thus far:
1. Checked for any special BIOS settings
- USB3 setting = enabled
- other legacy settings = enabled

2. Checked the host system:
- sfc /scannow = no problems
- device manager = no yellow triangles on anything

3. Checked the Power Options:
- High Performance = Enabled
- USB Settings > USB selective suspend setting = disabled

4. Physically checked the devices:
- chkdsk /F = no problems
- cables and general condition of enclosures = no obvious problems

I also checked to see whether problem can be replicated in the front panel USB 2.0 ports - and this suprised me, it can. I get exactly the same behaviour in both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports with both these devices. If I plug a different WD USB2 external device into the same USB 2.0 port, then I have not yet been able to replicate this problem.

Right now I'm unsure whether the issue is:

1. With the USB devices
2. The device drivers (standard Windows drivers)
3. The USB ports
4. The USB port drivers
5. Some hibernation/sleep option in either Windows, BIOS, or physical device

Right now, I am inclined to think its an issue with the devices, but I do plan to test this USB on my system at home for a few days. If anyone has other suggestions or experience with this, please offer your opinion.

Regards,
Golden

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

I had a similar problem at one point. You may want to try disabling and then enabling the automount feature in diskpart. Sometimes this will reset the automount feature if it is not working properly.

Open an Elevated Command Prompt. The commands are:
diskpart
automount disable
automount enable
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Check Power Management of the USB Root Hub and see if the computer is turning off the device to save power.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


15 May 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 

Thanks gentlemen - some good suggestions. I'll try those over the next few days and report back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 

OK. None of the USB Root Hubs have the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" setting enabled.

I'll try automount disable, then enable from diskpart next
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 

OK.

automount disable/enable seems to have solved the USB 2.0 issues - when I reboot this PC, the drives show up straightaway when plugged into USB 2.0, but not USB 3.0 - previously nothing showed up at all (I neglected to mention that in my first post).

Doing some more reading, I was shocked to see the number of users with exactly the same issues and its been going on for some time now - the common denominator seems to be the Etron EJ168 chip. I even found some posts linking back here to SF where this chip and older driver combo caused regular BSOD's a while back!

Seems it even has some dramatic impact on Hyper-V in W8CP (interestingly, same mobo I'm trying to solve this issue on)!
https://social.technet.microsoft.com...5-95b3abf42135

This seems to be a long standing problem with some mixed results:
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1884954
USB3 drive not present after PC boot

The last link suggests a format of the device.................odd why that should work, but I might just try it one day.

After installing driver 112 I still see the same trouble on the USB 3.0 ports. I think the only advice I can give here is if you plan on purchasing a motherboard, think twice if the name Etron appears anywhere...

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Interesting that there are so many problems. I wonder, with the new driver installed, have you done the typical USB troubleshooting steps?
  • Start with USB Driver - General Fix for Problems to resolve the USB issues. Also, USB ports can sometimes enter a safe power state to protect the system from power surges due to USB devices. To reset the USB ports to a nominal power state:
    1. Shut down and turn off the computer.
    2. Unplug the computer from the wall or surge protector (then remove the battery if it is a laptop).
    3. "Remove the computer from any port replicator or docking station, disconnect
      cables to printers or devices such as external monitors, USB memory sticks or SD cards, headset or external speakers, mouse or auxiliary keyboard, turn off WIFI and Bluetooth wireless devices." (Use Hard Reset to Resolve Hardware and Software Issues HP Pavilion dv5000 Notebook PC series - HP Customer Care (United States - English))
    4. Hold down the power button for 30 seconds. This closes the circuit and ensures all
      power from components is drained to clear the software connections between the BIOS
      and hardware and clear any corruption in the temporary memory.
    5. (If it is a laptop, plug the battery back into the laptop and then) Plug the computer back into the wall. Do not reconnect any unnecessary peripherals; monitor, keyboard,
      and mouse should suffice and be the only peripherals reconnected.
    6. Turn it on to reinitialize the software connections between the BIOS and hardware

I do not know if they are the same for USB 3.0, but I would imagine so since it still is USB hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64 Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Tri-Boot
 
 

Good suggestions. I must admit I haven't tried the classic fixes from the tutorial, but I will take a look at those now.

I saw your suggestion about the power state in a thread last night....and i wondered it that might help, but then i forgot to ask! I'll definately give that a crack.

Regards,
Goldn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Yeah, I give that power state suggestion a bit. I'll admit it usually only works probablly 30-40% of the time for USB issues, but those are not horrible odds.

It worked on my old laptop 100% of the time, but that is because it had some power management issues with the USB hardware itself. I never found out what the problem was. I no longer have that system because it was serviced for a bad mouse pad, and the service technicians toasted the whole system.

Hopefully you have good luck and track down the problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
OK. None of the USB Root Hubs have the "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" setting enabled.

I'll try automount disable, then enable from diskpart next

If you click on properties, go to the Power Management tab, you can disable the computer from turning off the device.

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