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Windows Vista does not boot with hard drives plugged in

I've check boot order and everything seems to be correct. I have two external hard drives and whenever my computer restarts it does not boot. I have to unplug the WD external hard drives and do a hard restart on my computer. This can't be good for any.

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I had the same problem with vista home 32bit. I accessed the bios then went into usb configuration, and disabled the "legacy suppor" for usb, this is an older support for usb 1.0 before 2.0. Once disabled was able to reattach two external hdd, and reboot normally

Posted on Mar 25, 2009

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You've cross-posted your request. I'm linking the other post since I'munsure of which is the most recent, or which I should respond to.


Now, as far as your boot setup being fine, the other possibility is that windows, in its great wisdom, cannot get its head around a Plug and Play device and Device detection at the same time, both of which are services.

1> Go Start -> Control Panel -> ( under Performance) Admin Tools -> Computer Mangement
2>After opening the computer manager, you'll see three explorer brancheson the left of the util, the last will be Services and Applications.Click the + next to it to expand it if needed.
3>Under Services and Apps, click on Services in the left explorer panel.
4>It should show several services to the right hand side. Find: "Shell Hardware Detection"
4.1>right click on the entry and then Properties.
4.2>Oncein properties, make sure you're in the "General" tab. Once there, apop-down field next to a label of "Startup type" is where you want tochange it to Manual.
5>Restart computer with external HD plugged in and check whether or not it starts up.
6>If problem persists, Repeat #4.2 but instead of setting the service startup to Manual, set it to Disabled.

*Setting the service to manual or disabled will stop autoplay hardware events. I.e. inserting a cd in a cd drive will not automatically pop up to play it, sticking a USB flash thumb drive in will not automatically respond, etc. You will need to access these devices directly in whatever fashion the device dictates.
- If there is a new problem, please repeat the steps above, but reset the service Startup Mode to Automatic.

*Also please note that you do not have to do a hard restart in order for the windows initialization to continue, in my experience. Simply unplugging the USB storage device allows windows to start up.
If, in fact, unplugging the device does not allow windows to continue initialization, please state so again.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008

  • Dshack
    Dshack Dec 16, 2008

    *Also, external drives are typically meant to be used as such, rather than a remote storage disk or expanded storage, and so the problem you are experiencing may be due to attempting to use the device in a manner which is not conducive to its purpose or function.

    Please consider unplugging and powering off the drives when not in use, and only plugging them in after the system has started.

    If the above solution works, then obviously you will be able to avoid that. However, I still suggest considering using the drives in this fashion rather than keeping them plugged in.


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Go into your bios (usually F1, F2, or delete key) and turn off "boot from usb" or "support for usb boot devices" or something similar. If that doesn't work, turn off usb support for dos, but that will also remove support for usb keyboards and mice so beware.

Posted on Dec 14, 2008

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