Question Can only plug in USB drive once per reboot ?

Feb 8, 2022
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When I plug a USB drive into my PC it works fine. Until I unplug it. When I plug it back in later, the drive won't work. Pluging in any USB drive will not work now. It simply will not recognize that there is a drive.

Bringing up the Device Manager explains it. The "USB Mass Storage Device" has the following error:

Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware because a previous instance of the device driver is still in memory. (Code 38)
The driver could not be loaded because a previous version of the driver is still in memory.


Uninstalling the USB Mass Storage Device does not fix the problem. Updating the Driver does not find a better driver, either on my system or Windows Update. Uninstalling the Storage Volume does not help either.

Rebooting the computer will allow me to access a USB drive again, but only until I unplug it.

This did not use to be a problem on this laptop! Please help!!
 
Reactions: luigi2702

Colif

Win 11 Master
Moderator
Jun 12, 2015
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Uninstalling the USB Mass Storage Device does not fix the problem. Updating the Driver does not find a better driver, either on my system or Windows Update. Uninstalling the Storage Volume does not help either.
hard to explain. restarted a few times... its possible the driver that is stuck in memory is a microsoft driver. There are low lvl drivers designed to work with most USB devices, and its possible one is corrupted

I had one USB drive that refused to work with one install of win 10, but after I clean installed, worked fine

See if this helps
right click start button

choose powershell (admin)
type SFC /scannow and press enter
once its completed, copy/paste this command into same window:
Repair-WindowsImage -Online -RestoreHealth
and press enter

SFC fixes system files, second command cleans image files, re run SFC if it failed to fix all files and restart PC
 
Reactions: luigi2702
When I plug a USB drive into my PC it works fine. Until I unplug it. When I plug it back in later, the drive won't work. Pluging in any USB drive will not work now. It simply will not recognize that there is a drive.

Bringing up the Device Manager explains it. The "USB Mass Storage Device" has the following error:

Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware because a previous instance of the device driver is still in memory. (Code 38)
The driver could not be loaded because a previous version of the driver is still in memory.


Uninstalling the USB Mass Storage Device does not fix the problem. Updating the Driver does not find a better driver, either on my system or Windows Update. Uninstalling the Storage Volume does not help either.

Rebooting the computer will allow me to access a USB drive again, but only until I unplug it.

This did not use to be a problem on this laptop! Please help!!
Wag.....are you using the safe to remove button?
 
Feb 8, 2022
11
5
10
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See if this helps
right click start button

choose powershell (admin)
type SFC /scannow and press enter
once its completed, copy/paste this command into same window:
Repair-WindowsImage -Online -RestoreHealth
and press enter

SFC fixes system files, second command cleans image files, re run SFC if it failed to fix all files and restart PC
I did what you said and it did not help:

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> SFC /scannow

Beginning system scan. This process will take some time.

Beginning verification phase of system scan.
Verification 100% complete.

Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.
For online repairs, details are included in the CBS log file located at
windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For offline
repairs, details are included in the log file provided by the /OFFLOGFILE flag.
PS C:\WINDOWS\system32>

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> Repair-WindowsImage -Online -RestoreHealth


Path :
Online : True
ImageHealthState : Healthy
RestartNeeded : False



PS C:\WINDOWS\system32>
That sounded promising, but it didn't solve the problem. Just to make sure, I then rebooted and it still didn't solve the problem.

Thanks anyway. Do you have any other suggestions? Is there any way to see what processes are in memory and remove them? I'd settle for a work-around other than rebooting the computer every single time I want to insert a USB.

Wag.....are you using the safe to remove button?
I am ejecting it and waiting for the safe to remove message. Though I also tried not doing that specifically to see if there was a difference.
 
I did what you said and it did not help:



That sounded promising, but it didn't solve the problem. Just to make sure, I then rebooted and it still didn't solve the problem.

Thanks anyway. Do you have any other suggestions? Is there any way to see what processes are in memory and remove them? I'd settle for a work-around other than rebooting the computer every single time I want to insert a USB.



I am ejecting it and waiting for the safe to remove message. Though I also tried not doing that specifically to see if there was a difference.
Perhaps go to the mobo site and see what is offered for the bios/chipset/management engine.
 
Feb 8, 2022
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Dell Inspiron 5000 Series 15.6" FHD Notebook, AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 5 2500U Upto 3.6GHz, 16GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, AMD Radeon Vega 8, HDMI, Card Reader, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, Windows 10 Home
  • Color: Silver
  • CPU Type: AMD Ryzen 5 2000 Series
  • CPU Speed: 2500U (2.00GHz)
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • GPU/VPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8
  • SSD: 128 GB
  • Memory: 16GB
  • Options: English

That's what Newegg tells me. They no longer list it so I can't learn more from their site. I cannot figure out more from Dell's site either.
 
Reactions: luigi2702
Dell Inspiron 5000 Series 15.6" FHD Notebook, AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 5 2500U Upto 3.6GHz, 16GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, AMD Radeon Vega 8, HDMI, Card Reader, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, Windows 10 Home
  • Color: Silver
  • CPU Type: AMD Ryzen 5 2000 Series
  • CPU Speed: 2500U (2.00GHz)
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • GPU/VPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8
  • SSD: 128 GB
  • Memory: 16GB
  • Options: English
That's what Newegg tells me. They no longer list it so I can't learn more from their site. I cannot figure out more from Dell's site either.
https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us?app=drivers

Try supportassist.
 
Feb 8, 2022
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That was amazing! Best driver download page EVER! It updated several drivers according to my Service Tag. (Audio Driver, System BIOS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Graphics)

Unfortunately that did not solve my problem. :(

Can anyone figure out how to at least figure out what driver is stuck in memory? And how to remove it without a reboot?
 

Colif

Win 11 Master
Moderator
Jun 12, 2015
58,067
4,708
161,190
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Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware because a previous instance of the device driver is still in memory. (Code 38)
The driver could not be loaded because a previous version of the driver is still in memory.
look in event viewer at the same time as you get this error, as it should show there as a warning or error. If you find it, open the details tab and take a screenshot or copy/paste that info into this post

Can anyone figure out how to at least figure out what driver is stuck in memory? And how to remove it without a reboot?
you can run also download this, and look at it while USB drive is installed so you can perhaps identify the driver being used - https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html
it has a column called Driver Filename but you may need to scroll the program to the right as there are a lot of columns between it and Device name (which is first column). You can drag the columns by their header field so that driver name is right at start, if you want.

i plugged in a USB drive to check and its possibly same driver for you.

It could be USBSTOR.sys but I don't know how you could remove it from memory without a restart, as a restart is only time PC with fast startup turned on, is actually off. PC needs to turn off to clear memory.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: luigi2702
Feb 8, 2022
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That program confirms that it is indeed ubstor.inf

Incidentally disabling/enabling or uninstalling it with that program does not help.

Is there really no utility that will remove unused processes from memory?

Or maybe there is another more complete way to uninstall the driver so that it can be reinstalled from scratch? I know that it used to work. It broke after I plugged in a Kindle, but I don't know if the Kindle broke it or was merely the first device to discover the new malfunction.

look in event viewer at the same time as you get this error, as it should show there as a warning or error. If you find it, open the details tab and take a screenshot or copy/paste that info into this post

I don't know much about the Event Manager, but I believe the relevant error has the following information:

Device USB\VID_1949&PID_0324\G001PX1114920PSV had a problem starting.

Driver Name: usbstor.inf
Class Guid: {36fc9e60-c465-11cf-8056-444553540000}
Service: USBSTOR
Lower Filters:
Upper Filters:
Problem: 0x26
Problem Status: 0xC000038E

Log Name: Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-PnP/Configuration
Source: Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-PnP
Date: 2/9/2022 2:43:21 AM
Event ID: 411
Task Category: None
Level: Error
Keywords:
User: SYSTEM
Computer: Sibyl
Description:
Device USB\VID_1949&PID_0324\G001PX1114920PSV had a problem starting.

Driver Name: usbstor.inf
Class Guid: {36fc9e60-c465-11cf-8056-444553540000}
Service: USBSTOR
Lower Filters:
Upper Filters:
Problem: 0x26
Problem Status: 0xC000038E
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
<System>
<Provider Name="Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-PnP" Guid="{9c205a39-1250-487d-abd7-e831c6290539}" />
<EventID>411</EventID>
<Version>0</Version>
<Level>2</Level>
<Task>0</Task>
<Opcode>0</Opcode>
<Keywords>0x4000000000000000</Keywords>
<TimeCreated SystemTime="2022-02-09T07:43:21.8486590Z" />
<EventRecordID>938</EventRecordID>
<Correlation />
<Execution ProcessID="4" ThreadID="21320" />
<Channel>Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-PnP/Configuration</Channel>
<Computer>Sibyl</Computer>
<Security UserID="S-1-5-18" />
</System>
<EventData>
<Data Name="DeviceInstanceId">USB\VID_1949&amp;PID_0324\G001PX1114920PSV</Data>
<Data Name="DriverName">usbstor.inf</Data>
<Data Name="ClassGuid">{36fc9e60-c465-11cf-8056-444553540000}</Data>
<Data Name="ServiceName">USBSTOR</Data>
<Data Name="LowerFilters">
</Data>
<Data Name="UpperFilters">
</Data>
<Data Name="Problem">0x26</Data>
<Data Name="Status">0xc000038e</Data>
</EventData>
</Event>
 
Reactions: luigi2702

Colif

Win 11 Master
Moderator
Jun 12, 2015
58,067
4,708
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the steps here might work still


I would try to do that before using the USB drive so that you don't get conflicts or errors saying its currently in use.
 
Reactions: luigi2702

Colif

Win 11 Master
Moderator
Jun 12, 2015
58,067
4,708
161,190
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Do you have bitdefender free installed? Seems that can also cause this error. Someone found that earlier today.

Yes, I saw that cache wasn't there, its mentioned in the last link I dropped. I could have perhaps edited previous post, didn't think of it until now.
 
Reactions: luigi2702
Feb 8, 2022
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I am both cursing like mad and joyously praising your name. Literally. If anyone could hear me they would think me quite mad.

Yes. I have bitdefender free installed. I just uninstalled it and the problem went away, like it was just a dream. Well, I was going to be uninstalling it before June 30th anyway since they are shutting down their free option. This merely pushed that plan forward.

Thank you for your patience and persistence. You are a cyber bodhisattva amongst the unworthy masses.
 
Feb 8, 2022
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They stopped offering it for download at the end of 2021. They are giving a 6 month grace period to switch out before they shut it down for those who already have it installed.

Sucks. What do you think I should replace it with? Avast, Kaspersky, Avira?
 
Feb 13, 2022
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Do you have bitdefender free installed? Seems that can also cause this error. Someone found that earlier today.

Yes, I saw that cache wasn't there, its mentioned in the last link I dropped. I could have perhaps edited previous post, didn't think of it until now.
I registered this account specifically so I could THANK YOU for this post. I had this same problem -- my Kindle Paperwhite would be recognized when I plugged it in after rebooting Windows 11... but then, after ejecting it and plugging it in again, got the annoying "Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware" error in Device Manager.

I tried every other solution, and was ready to factory reset the Kindle... when I came across this article. Removing Bitdefender solved the problem completely, as @Nowhere_Man reported. THANK YOU AGAIN. I was frigging pulling my hair out! (And if I'd factory reset my Kindle, I would still be having the problem and have to reload all its content!)
 
Feb 8, 2022
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Incidentally, I replaced BitDefender Free with Kaspersky Security Cloud - Free. It was a blessing since it turns out that I actually like Kaspersky better BitDefender.
 
Feb 20, 2022
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@Colif @Nowhere_Man @corsican70
I literally made an account to specifically thank you for this post. ive been looking for what felt like WEEKS for a fix, used USB oblivion and all this other stuff. wasted like 20 hours of my life on it..

Thank you all on this post for the help
 
Mar 17, 2022
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I registered just to say THANK YOU to both Nowhere_Man, the OP and Colif, the person who posted the solution.

I can confirm that Bitdefender Free was indeed the cause of this amazing and frustrating issue. I too had to reboot my PC just to use thumb drives (removable media), I had the same messages in Device Manager, same symptoms, etc. SOLUTION: Immediately and permanently uninstall and stop using Bitdefender products. My personal preference for a replacement: upgrading Malwarebytes to the paid version at $40/ yr current pricing.

Shout out to toms Hardware too, thank you for hosting a helpful community.


Original Posts and Solution...
When I plug a USB drive into my PC it works fine. Until I unplug it. When I plug it back in later, the drive won't work. Pluging in any USB drive will not work now. It simply will not recognize that there is a drive.

Bringing up the Device Manager explains it. The "USB Mass Storage Device" has the following error:

Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware because a previous instance of the device driver is still in memory. (Code 38)
The driver could not be loaded because a previous version of the driver is still in memory.


Uninstalling the USB Mass Storage Device does not fix the problem. Updating the Driver does not find a better driver, either on my system or Windows Update. Uninstalling the Storage Volume does not help either.

Rebooting the computer will allow me to access a USB drive again, but only until I unplug it.

This did not use to be a problem on this laptop! Please help!!
Do you have bitdefender free installed? Seems that can also cause this error. Someone found that earlier today.

Yes, I saw that cache wasn't there, its mentioned in the last link I dropped. I could have perhaps edited previous post, didn't think of it until now.
I am both cursing like mad and joyously praising your name. Literally. If anyone could hear me they would think me quite mad.

Yes. I have bitdefender free installed. I just uninstalled it and the problem went away, like it was just a dream. Well, I was going to be uninstalling it before June 30th anyway since they are shutting down their free option. This merely pushed that plan forward.

Thank you for your patience and persistence. You are a cyber bodhisattva amongst the unworthy masses.
 
Reactions: luigi2702

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