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I have an old Dell Dimension 4600 running Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 3.

When I attach my USB flash disk, XP recognises the USB device and I can browse, read and write files just fine, so it proves that the onboard USB interfaces are working.

I also have a Three Ireland Huawei E1550 3G USB mobile broadband device. When I plug this into the PC, XP sees the device and then reports "USB device not recognized".

The 3G stick has a data drive on it which is used to store the drivers for the 3G modem. Normally what happens is that the data drive is recognised and because there's an AutoRun.inf this is launched so that the modem drivers are installed.

I've installed the latest chipset drivers from Dell for the machine (which include the USB drivers).

I also copied the 3G drivers off of the datacard part of the modem (using another pc) and installed these manually, but the 3G stick still isn't recognised.

I've read that the USB may not have enough power to drive the 3G stick, but the PC doesn't seem that old (built 2003). Could the built in USB interfaces be too old to support this device?

Does anyone have any ideas?

Update:

Thanks for all the answers. It looks like the USB controller is USB v1 and doesn't know how to talk to the 3G stick. I'm going to get the user to buy a 3G router such as the Dovado UMR which will get us around this problem.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's possible the Dell only has USB 1, not USB 2, controllers onboard. Device Manager can tell you if you have a USB 2.0 controller. A power issue is also possible.

Some older systems' front USB ports were only USB1 capable, while the back ports were USB2, so you could try other ports on your system. (I've also seen ports go bad, so trying a different port is a good idea from that standpoint as well.)

If that doesn't work, and if you can verify the device works (in another computer), I'd try springing for a cheap PCI USB2 controller card. It's bound to be a newer controller than what you've got, and might allow the device to be recognized.

For testing purposes, be sure to plug the device straight into the port -- if it came with a cable use that, or another high-quality cable, but don't use any extension cables since these could be causing problems.

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Typically a "USB device not recognized" error means that the drivers have not been installed properly.

Windows should give you the option to look for the drivers along with the error. Have you tried installing the drivers through the guided Windows install?

If you look at your Device Manager, do you have an icon with a yellow exclamation?

If so, try installing the drivers manually from the Device Manager.

If you want to determine if your computer has USB 2.0 support check under "Universal Serial Bus controllers" in the Device Manager. If you see an "Enhanced Host Controller" you should have USB 2.0 support on at least one USB port.

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I had a similar problem with an older computer. The answer I got at that time was the old I computer could not recognize the newer USB device.

I'm not a tech, so I may not be right, but that's what I was told.

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