Yesterday I started my mail client (Mulberry if you want to know) and it complained that two of my local on-disk mailboxes were not available. Odd. Windows XP had lost sight of the USB connected external drive that held them.
The drive was on, the cables were in. Unplugging and reconnecting the USB cable popped up a Windows message saying the “USB device was not recognised”. The first thought was a swearword about the last time I had done a backup of that drive.
I had already noticed that my iPod didn’t seem to be visible to iTunes but dismissed it as something to dealt with later. Now it was apparent that the issues were related because I go the same message when I tried reconnecting the iPod.
These devices were connected to different USB ports on the front and back of the machine. Because they were different kinds of devices from different vendors it didn’t seem likely that it could be a vendor driver issue. A restart improved nothing.
Checking the System Control Panel Hardware Device Manager properties for the all the machine USB ports showed nothing untoward.
Luckily, I am not the first to see this issue and it is all explained in this very good article. If you are in a hurry the answer is to shut down the machine, unplug the power for a while, and then restart it.
Unbelievable to an old hack like me, it actually does make a difference removing the physical power for some things!