We have a question answers portal where we address to the questions submitted by our readers and try to answer them. The portal is also open to all of our readers to answer the queries submitted by other readers, so its more of a community sharing troubleshooting tips. Today I am writing this article in answer to one of these queries I received there. The query was submitted by one of our readers as the question is as below –
“My pen drive get detects but when i click the icon the whole screen hangs without opening it”
This is a rather common problem these days with many USB pen drives or thumb drives and portable USB Hard disk drives that these pen drives or hard disk drives usually don’t open or hang the Windows Explorer when double clicked. This is usually not the fault of the pen drive or Hard disk drive but the problem is more serious which – such pen drives which don’t open or hang the PC are usually infected with viruses, malwares, adwares or other malicious softwares which try to exploit the autorun feature of the USB Pen drives and USB Hard disk drives.
image – autorun.inf file in pen drive
Most common type of viruses use an Autorun infection where there is an autorun.inf file created which is usually s hidden system file which you won’t be able to see in Windows Explorer with default settings. You need to turn on settings to view hidden as well as system files. Such filed exploit the automrun functionality of Windows and launch a virus file or malicious file whenever you double click on the pen drive or USB Pen Drive. In many cases, the virus might have been removed already by an anti-virus software installed on your computer or the previous computer where the pen drive or portable HDD was connected, in some cases the virus may still be on the pen drive. The reason why Windows hangs in some cases is that autorun file is trying to run a virus file which the anti-virus is trying to prevent at that time or the virus file does not exist (already deleted somehow) but the autorun file starts some invalid file which makes windows explorer to hang. And another scenario is the autorun files which are designed to hang Windows explorer so that the computer is practically stalled for most common users. Please read some tips below which will keep you out of this mess:
Avoid Virus Infection and Computer Hang By USB Pen Drive or USB HDD
Use Right Click Instead Of Double Click
It does take some time to get used to this habit, but its always safer to right click on a pen drive and selection Explore or Open Option. This way, even if a pen drive has an autorun file, it will not be started which is usually started by a double click on a pen drive.
Scan Non-Trusted Pen Drives and USB Hard Disk Drives
If you are not sure about a new Pen Drive and USB Hard Disk drive to be clean, it is recommended to first scan it with your Anti-virus software (any good one installed on your computer) before attempting to open it. It does take a few minutes, but its better than spending hours to fight an infected computer. You can also try some of the useful tools for the same listed below –
- Scan and Remove Suspicious ‘autorun.inf’ with Autorun Eater [ virus removal tools ]
- AutoRunExterminator – Delete / Remove Autorun.inf in Hard drives and USB drives root directory
- Stop or Suspend AutoRun In Windows With AutoRun Vaccine
Keep Your Anti-Virus Updated
This is a very generic suggestion, but it helps to fight infections which spreads through pen drives and other USB Hard disk drives.
Fix Hardware Flaws On USB Drives or Computer
Sometimes the problem maybe at hardware level as well. If a pen drive or USB Hard disk drive gets a fault at the hardware level, it may hang a computer too. Also en External USB Hard drive with higher power requirement usually comes with a Y-Cable, do check out this article for the complete details on how to use such hard dries correctly – Portable USB Hard Disk Does Not Work Properly On My Old Computer.
Also on ageing or old computers, there maybe faulty USB ports which might not be supplying proper power required to run an external hard disk drive. This may happen because of power supply or USB port problems, in such cases, try to connect the USB Hard drive to another USB port on same computer or try to connect it on other computer to ensure if the hard drive is at fault or the computer.
I hope you find the above tips useful to troubleshoot your Pen drive hanging Windows PC. For more useful tutorial, check out-