• WELCOME Grumblers
    Backup is now done at 3PM EDT. You may find the server down for up to two minutes at that time.

Mystery USB Device-What is it?

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
What is this thing? There are no markings, but I found it plugged into the back of the Windows 10 PC in our office at home. To compound the mystery, I'm the only person ever to plug things into this machine since I installed it a few years ago, and I have no recollection of this.

I've been trying off-and-on for a month or so to update Windows 10 in this computer, but the updates always fail. I've tried all sorts of fixes, but so far, nothing has worked. I even tried a clean install...same result. When I was unplugging and disconnecting everything from this computer, as instructed in one of the fixes, that's when I happened to find this device.

Hoping to identify it, I plugged it into another computer, but nothing came up in the Device Manager or in the list for "This PC".

Suggestions welcome. Care to take a guess? o_O

Photo-Mystery USB Device Side B.jpg Photo-Mystery USB Device Side A.jpg
 
Sponsor Wanted

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
It looks like a very old thumb drive and may have been used with "ready boost" to speed up the computer. If it won't read in another machine it is probably faulty.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Well, I'm quite sure it's not a thumb drive, because I would not usually stick one of those in the back of the computer, and I probably wouldn't leave it there or forget about it.

I wouldn't use Ready-boost and other such devices to speed up a slow computer. Instead, I'd get it upgraded or buy a new one. Anyway, this PC, which was custom-built for me in 2014, has an Intel i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, a 512 GB solid state hard drive, and very zippy graphics card. I'm not a gamer (at all) but need to edit large image and video files.

My guess is that its purpose was to connect some sort of wireless peripheral device, but can't think of what it might have been, or what happened to it.

Not a major issue, but more of a curiosity, since Gail and I are the only ones to use this machine. I doubt she even realizes there are USB ports on the back as well as the front, and there are a couple of empty ports remaining on the front.

Whatever this thing is, I put it there.o_O
 
Last edited:

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Failing the thumbdrive/ ready boost idea it could well have been used to connect something like a wireless mouse or keyboard. These are usually stuck into one of the rear ports to leave the more easily accessible ones in the front free.
 

GUMBY GCF

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jim I am positive it was used to connect a computer{ that was not connected to internet directly hardwired } wirelessly to wifi. I still have a couple laying around just never got ride of them when all the new computers came with built in wifi.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
You may be right, Gumby. I used a USB wifi connection for an old laptop a long time ago, but I can't imagine how tat device could have found its way into the back of this computer, since it came with a pretty good internal wifi adapter, which I just upgraded to 5g.

Incidentally, this PC came with Windows 7 and was upgraded to Windows 10 a few years ago when it was offered free. But it has not accepted a Windows update since January. I have tried hours and hours of fixes, but nothing works - still reverts to previous version - so just last night I sent it off with a technician to make a clean re-install of Windows 10.

Anyone else having Windows 10 updating issues?
 

bruce papier

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Windows 10 update issues? Oy Vey! have I had Windows 10 update issues! We have one computer we mainly use for internet and one for record keeping. Both were fairly old. The one we used for the internet ran Windows 7 (I think). We kept getting the offer to upgrade to 10. We didn't want to. The computer suited us fine. One day, the download for the upgrade began during the workday. Totally without our prompting. We continued to receive updates on a regular basis. Sometimes during business hours, sometimes overnight. It always took a couple hours for the computer to install the updates. We came in one morning to find the computer grinding away on the latest update when the screen went black, never to light again. The last update just fried the computer.
 

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
Windows 7 is on its last 4 months before it will no longer be patched/updated/supported.

That does look a lot like a wifi card that goes in USB. It should show something in device manager when you insert or remove it. Does internet work with it removed?
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Windows 7 is on its last 4 months before it will no longer be patched/updated/supported.

That does look a lot like a wifi card that goes in USB. It should show something in device manager when you insert or remove it. Does internet work with it removed?
Hi Mike:

I'm sure it's not a wifi device, because this computer had an internal 2.4G adapter, which I replaced with a 5G adapter last week. It has very zippy wifi now.

Toward your suggestion, I opened the Device Manager and watched for a change as I plugged in this device. Sure enough, it came up as "Generic Bluetooth Radio". Apparently this is a Bluetooth USB dongle. Properties showed all kinds of data, including the manufacturer's name: "Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd."

That seems to solve the mystery, except that I'm pretty sure that computer has an internal Bluetooth capability. The thing is, I asked a local computer technician to clean-install the current version of Windows 10, because it has not accepted any updates since last January. I hope to get it back and hooked up tomorrow. Then, I can check to see if this USB dongle is really needed, which I doubt.

Thanks for your help!
:)
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Did you by chance have bluetooth earphones? That might be what this was for.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Did you by chance have bluetooth earphones? That might be what this was for.
Yes, I often use a wireless, Bluetooth-connected headset for hands-free conference calls. I also have used this computer with a small Bluetooth boom-box speaker, and occasionally to transfer photos from my smartphones.

Since this Bluetooth adapter is obsolete, I'll get a new one. Amazon has several of them for just a few dollars. Any recommendations for a new Bluetooth USB dongle?
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
UPDATE...

Well, the new USB dongle I bought is good only for audio, so I need to send it back. In looking for a more suitable replacement, I realized that several of the newer internal PC cards for 5G wifi also include Bluetooth 5.0, as well. So, I bought one of those, which means I will also send back the 2.4G/5G internal card I installed a few days ago.

And then I decided to try the old dongle again, and guess what? It works just fine. Even so, I think it will be better to use the internal card, rather than a USB dongle for Bluetooth.

Closing on on perfection here.
:rolleyes:
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Further UPDATE...
Well, the new WiFi/Bluetooth internal card arrived today. When I installed it, I must have done something wrong, because now, the computer will not even boot. An "American Megatrends" screen says:
Chassis Intrude! Please check your system.
Fatal Error....System Halted.


OK, I'm done with this. Sent the tech guy a text message and hopefully he can fix it. Otherwise I may throw this $@*&^%! computer out the window.
 

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
I wonder
Further UPDATE...
Well, the new WiFi/Bluetooth internal card arrived today. When I installed it, I must have done something wrong, because now, the computer will not even boot. An "American Megatrends" screen says:
Chassis Intrude! Please check your system.
Fatal Error....System Halted.


OK, I'm done with this. Sent the tech guy a text message and hopefully he can fix it. Otherwise I may throw this $@*&^%! computer out the window.
It sounds like it was set up with a switch to detect with the chasis (cover) is off the computer. Is the cover on completely?

Mike
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Yeah, I checked to make sure the front and back covers were properly fitted and all screws were tight. After taking it apart twice, I was unable to find any sort of switch or cover interlock mechanism.

When cleaning up, I found a tiny, blue plastic cube that looks like a jumper block with three holes for pin connectors. It must have fallen out - along with an unused cable tie, when I turned the case upside down. Or maybe it was just left in there by accident.

The tech guy is coming in a couple of days. He'll figure it out. I hope.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jim, tech guy cost, your time and labor? For about $500 you can have a nice all in one with a 24" HD screen, wireless mouse and keyboard, everything on your desk, no box, and power and ethernet (if not wireless) the only wires. Fully up to date Win10 to boot. :D
 

IFGL

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Usually those jumpers are to connect two pins on the motherboard you move it across one pin to reset the board to factory settings.

Google the motherboard you should be able to get a manual in pdf format that will have a diagram.
 

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
Most of the time they wouldn't bother to wire that feature up to the case, if the case even supports it. I see it often on servers, where there could otherwise be an air flow/cooling problem if someone forgot to put the case cover on. The motherboard may have a jumper to bypass that feature, if so. It's possible, that it either fell off or is loose. He will get you sorted. There should be nothing at all wrong with the computer or with Windows. The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) software comes up before Windows starts booting,and is putting up the road block. That is what gets accessed first, when the power is turned on, to access the drives and other peripherals before it boots up.

You may even be able to DISABLE that feature yourself, if you go into the BIOS setup menu. (Pressing DEL or F2 key right after you turn the power on should bring you there. It should briefly flash the instructions on screen to get into SETUP.)

Hopefully your tech can take a look at it soon.
 

Donald

Grumbler
Chassis Intrude operation:
A connector found on a motherboard that supports a chassis security feature that detects if a chassis component is removed or replaced, in which case an alarm sound is heard through the onboard speaker or PC chassis speaker if present. For the chassis intrusion circuit to work, the chassis power supply must be connected to AC power. By default, on the motherboard the pin labeled chassis "signal" and "ground" are shorted with a jumper cap. You need to remove the jumper caps if you intend to use the chassis intrusion detection hardware.

You mentioned that you found a jumper, so this could be the missing one. Also, as previously mentioned, try to find a MB manual online from the manufacturer and check the BIOS for a Chassis Intrude setting...usually under "Security".
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Another update..

The tech guy says he fixed the chassis intrude issue, and it was related to that loose jumper, which must have fallen out of its place when I turned the computer upside down. He's also installing the 5G adapter/Bluetooth adapter card, but has to disconnect two of the existing USB ports to do connect it internally. He's also upgrading the RAM to 16 GB.

When I get this thing back, it darn well ought to run like a pretty good new computer.
:rolleyes:
 
Sponsor Wanted
Top