Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Start by unplugging suspected devices and see if you can pinpoint the culprit. Sometimes, it's as easy as replacing a cable.
I have searched high and low for an answer specific to my issue but nothing's been found. The found new hardware wizard has all of a sudden started to appear on startup and has done so for the past week. The wizard says it will help me install software for... (unknown) and then give the option to insert the disc that came with the hardware.
My system is Windows XP, Home version 2002, SP3 and is approximately four years old. Intel Pentium Dual Core, CPU. I have a Canon IP4500 printer and a Canon copy/scan D660U scanner connected and these were both properly installed with their respective CDs some three years ago. These units have been operating properly. I also have a Maxtor external hard drive. This has had some issues in that on a couple of occasions a small balloon has appeared from the taskbar near the clock advising that the USB mass storage device is not recognized. I have on a couple of occasions disconnected the hard drive and then reconnected it again. At the moment, it's OK and I have access to all of the files. Is this a separate issue to the hardware wizard? I just click Cancel to get rid of the wizard and it's just annoying.
In this excerpt from Answercast #45, I look at a system that is confused by its USB attachments.
My gut tells me that this is not a separate issue. My gut tells me that your external hard drive is either failing or at least the connection to it is confused.
The operating system is occasionally polling for new hardware (that it sees out on the USB Bus), and then seeing this external drive (in whatever confused state it might be in) as something new.
So, what I would recommend you do to begin to diagnosing this (or narrowing down the possibilities) is to:
If it does, then clearly we have a pretty good indicator that it is something related to that external hard drive.
What I would try, if that's the case... the first thing I would do actually:
That's cheap. It's quick. Sometimes, a cable that's going bad or a cable that isn't properly connected or a cable that just has problems – can result in these kinds of issues.
If removing the hard disk doesn't make the problem go away, then it gets a little bit weirder, and I really don't have a strong direction to send you off in.
Of course, you can try:
Disconnecting all of your USB devices;
And whatever else is disconnect-able;
To see if the problem goes away with one of them.
That's probably the next thing I'd have you do.
But ultimately, what it really means is that:
Somewhere on your system, there's a piece of hardware that is either incorrectly, or inconsistently, identifying itself to the system, and as a result, confusing the system into thinking that something new is present.
You may ultimately need to take this to a technician and have them look at
the specific components of the machine to see if there's anything obvious that
can be rectified.
Next from Answercast 45 – Can I take my external drive and install it as a replacement in my laptop?
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