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Boot hangs if USB printer connected to laptop

Skyzoomer

Senior member
Sep 27, 2007
317
1
81
#1
Helping a friend. Her Win7 HP laptop hangs in POST if her Epson WF-3640 printer is plugged into any USB port. This older laptop only has USB2 ports, no USB3 ports. A receiver for her wireless mouse is plugged into one USB port and the laptop can boot up fine if that is the only thing plugged in. She had a second WF-3640 printer so we tried it but the same hang occurs, so it's not a bad printer.

This has nothing to do with the OS since the hang is in POST before even starting the OS boot. When the hang occurs the screen is black with the HP logo and wording at the bottom left to click startup or something like that. (If the printer's USB is NOT plugged in, that same black screen occurs for 8 seconds and then the boot continues normally into Win7, so apparently that black screen is just a normal thing during POST boot.) As long as the printer is plugged in, the hang occurs and nothing works so I'm not able to use the laptop's keyboard to enter BIOS if the printer is plugged in.

Without the printer plugged in, I entered the BIOS and the boot order is the hard drive first. I did not notice if there was a USB entry in the boot order list at the time, but even if there was, it was definitely not first in the boot order.

Anyone have a similar problem and know of the fix? Or maybe, is there a setting in the Epson WF-3640 printer that can prevent this?
 
Jun 12, 2005
14,100
65
126
#2
This used to be more common when USB first came out. I think that the issue is the system is trying to boot from the USB Printer. Can you disable the USB Boot in the BIOS? If so try that.
 

Skyzoomer

Senior member
Sep 27, 2007
317
1
81
#3
This used to be more common when USB first came out. I think that the issue is the system is trying to boot from the USB Printer. Can you disable the USB Boot in the BIOS? If so try that.
I will try that the next time I'm at her home. Probably in a week or so.
Meanwhile, if anyone has other ideas for me to try, please post them so I can try multiple things. It's harder when the hardware is at someone else's home, so having a list of things to try would be very helpful.
 

vailr

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,306
0
91
#4
Maybe: try booting with the printer still connected via USB, but not powered on until after the system has booted to the desktop. Or until there's actually a need to use the printer.
Either that, or use a wired instead of wireless mouse.
Those are possible easy solutions.
The more expensive solution would be to upgrade to a more recent vintage laptop, with a newer CPU & chipset.
 

Skyzoomer

Senior member
Sep 27, 2007
317
1
81
#5
Maybe: try booting with the printer still connected via USB, but not powered on until after the system has booted to the desktop. Or until there's actually a need to use the printer.
Either that, or use a wired instead of wireless mouse.
Those are possible easy solutions.
The more expensive solution would be to upgrade to a more recent vintage laptop, with a newer CPU & chipset.
Thanks for helping!

Booting with printer powered off is on my list of things to try the next time I'm troubleshooting her problem. But I want to avoid that as a final solution if possible. Reason is: my understanding is that every time an inkjet printer is powered off/on, it does a nozzle cleaning which can waste a lot of ink. She wants to do a Win7 shutdown every night which would mean powering the printer off/on every day. Also if doing a Win7 restart, the printer would need to be powered off/on to reboot which would waste ink. .... But booting with the printer powered off to see what happens would be a helpful thing to know.

Her laptop can boot up fine with the receiver for her wireless mouse plugged in, so it won't be necessary for her to use a wired mouse.

I'm hoping to find a fix that will make her laptop behave like a normal PC should. ie: boot with the USB printer plugged in. If I can't find a fix like that, I'm going to try a USB A/B switch on the printer's cable. If that works, she can press a button on the switch to switch off the printer's USB connection, power her laptop on and then press the button on the switch to reconnect the printer. .... last resort fix.

Thanks again for taking the time to help.
 

sm625

Diamond Member
May 6, 2011
8,176
0
106
#6

vailr

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,306
0
91
#7
my understanding is that every time an inkjet printer is powered off/on, it does a nozzle cleaning which can waste a lot of ink. She wants to do a Win7 shutdown every night which would mean powering the printer off/on every day.
Did you consider either: "sleep" or "hibernate" instead of "shut down" for the laptop?
Otherwise, the option to simply replace the inkjet printer with a monocolor laser printer would also be something worth considering. There's Samsung or Brother monochrome laser printers that cost under $100 and then generic replacement toner cartridges can be found for under $25 which should last much longer than inkjet ink.
 

dlerious

Senior member
Mar 4, 2004
615
12
116
#8
Have you tried swapping USB ports.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
5,565
34
126
#9
I use to have a very similar issue on the wife's work computer. It is running W7pro on SSD and had been connected using a TP-Link USB wireless networking device. It would cause a delay in keyboard response, which I concluded was Windows trying to get the USB wireless adapter's resources figured out. I played musical USB ports and all exhibited the same exact problem. If I removed it, no problem. Now that PC is hardwired so no more delays in initial keyboard response.
 

Skyzoomer

Senior member
Sep 27, 2007
317
1
81
#10
Interesting! But too bare for her use and I'm not inclined to build hardware to solve this problem.

If that doesnt work, you can try a more hardcore hack:
https://www.amazon.com/JBtek-Raspberry-Arduino-Female-Switch/dp/B00UR321B6/

Rip that sucker open and wire in a SSR across the switch contacts. Control the SSR with a GPIO signal, which can be toggled on after windows starts. Yes I have been forced to resort to things like this....
I saw that Arduino switch before. My research indicated that it just turns off the 5 volt power to the USB device. In my friend's case, the Epson printer has its own power supply and does not need 5 volts from the laptop to work, so I don't think that switch will solve her problem.

Regarding wiring in a SSR, I believe it would have to break the correct data line (the one with the pull up resistor) to prevent the laptop from seeing the attached USB printer. Then the length of the other data line would have to exactly match the length of the switched data line since it is a differential method of data transmission. Too much work for me ;).

But I love your thinking! I'm a hardware guy too. Thanks for doing your research on this problem.
 
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Skyzoomer

Senior member
Sep 27, 2007
317
1
81
#11
Did you consider either: "sleep" or "hibernate" instead of "shut down" for the laptop?
Otherwise, the option to simply replace the inkjet printer with a monocolor laser printer would also be something worth considering. There's Samsung or Brother monochrome laser printers that cost under $100 and then generic replacement toner cartridges can be found for under $25 which should last much longer than inkjet ink.
Tried hibernate but that powers the PC off. On power on, the boot hang still occurs. Did not try sleep though so will try that next time I work on the problem.

A monochrome laser printer won't work for her since she wants to occasionally print in color. Also not sure if the same problem wouldn't occur with a replacement printer.

Thanks!
 

Skyzoomer

Senior member
Sep 27, 2007
317
1
81
#13
I use to have a very similar issue on the wife's work computer. It is running W7pro on SSD and had been connected using a TP-Link USB wireless networking device. It would cause a delay in keyboard response, which I concluded was Windows trying to get the USB wireless adapter's resources figured out. I played musical USB ports and all exhibited the same exact problem. If I removed it, no problem. Now that PC is hardwired so no more delays in initial keyboard response.
Thanks for sharing! :)
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
8,449
1
106
#15
This used to be more common when USB first came out. I think that the issue is the system is trying to boot from the USB Printer. Can you disable the USB Boot in the BIOS? If so try that.
This is almost definitely the problem. The Epson printer has several removable storage slots and also has a built in USB "drive" that contains the drivers for the printer. It's very likely that the laptop is trying to boot from that USB drive and for some reason instead of continuing on when it fails, it is getting stuck. Removing the option to boot from USB from the BIOS should fix it.
 

Skyzoomer

Senior member
Sep 27, 2007
317
1
81
#17
This is almost definitely the problem. The Epson printer has several removable storage slots and also has a built in USB "drive" that contains the drivers for the printer. It's very likely that the laptop is trying to boot from that USB drive and for some reason instead of continuing on when it fails, it is getting stuck. Removing the option to boot from USB from the BIOS should fix it.
Yes, per my reply to pcgeek, I will see if there is a way to "remove" USB as a boot option. I previously insured that her hard drive was the first boot option in BIOS but that did not correct her boot problem.

Thanks.
 

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