Computer Restarts On Plugging USB Printer / Hard Disk / External DVD Writer

by Abhishek Bhatnagar on November 7, 2009



We received a mail from one of our readers Jay telling :

My computer restarts when a USB device is inserted. Its works when i plug in my keyboard and mouse (both USB) but when i try plugging in my external hard-drive, printer or external dvd drive the computer restarts as soon as i plug them in. Tried to update drivers for my pc but with no results.


We have written about a problem : Computer Restarts On Inserting Pen Drive , but this article talks of software problem and not the one which Jay has reported. The problem reported by Jay is a hardware related problem, so has different solution. In this article we will discuss the reason and solution to this problem.


If your computer is re-starting on inserting a USB pen drive (not USB hard disk) , see our tutorial – Computer Restarts On Inserting Pen Drive



If your computer re-starts on inserting USB external hard disk, or USB DVD writer or USB printer or any other USB device which extracts power from USB port, then it might be either BIOS or Motherboard problem or it can be a problem with the Power Supply Unit of your computer.


Try the USB hard disk or printer on some other computer to ensure that the device you are connecting to your computer is healthy. After that try plugging a pen drive to the USB port and see if that works ? If the pen drive works fine on the port, then it means that the USB port is able to run small devices which extract very little power from USB (like a small pen drive), while the same USB port is not capable to supply enough power to the USB devices which need more power than a small drive like en external hard disk or external DVD writer.


The solution to this this problem would be to upgrade your desktop computer’s Main power supply unit (also called SMPS unit) and replace it with one which had a good load capacity. But if the problem lies on the Motherboard circuitry or BIOS settings, it might not solve the problem even by replacing the Power supply unit. So before changing the power supply unit, we recommend you to do a BIOS upgrade and check in your BIOS that all power related settings are set to default values.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

computergod November 8, 2009 at 7:25 am

sounds like he is withdrawing the usb key without
disconnecting from system first…

Jason November 8, 2009 at 7:43 am

Hi Abishek:

I have problems with a slow boot on Vista Ultimate.

Although the boot does not fail it returns event codes of 100 usually and also codes of 101 102 etc. Microsoft’s knowledge base does not provide any assistance with this annoying problem/

Can You help? Thanks


Shaun November 10, 2010 at 1:31 am

Here recently with Windows 7 Professional x64, I was getting ready to play a game. Before so, I began to plug in the USB cable coming from my steering wheel into the computer and my computer restarted for no apparent reason. I tried again to make sure it didn’t just happen, by chance, at the same time I was plugging in my USB device…and it did the same thing.

I grabbed a USB mouse and plugged it in and it worked with no problems.

Now, my steering wheel has force feedback, requiring a power adapter to run the force feedback motor. Just out of curiosity I decided to go ahead and unplug the power adapter and boot to Windows. Once booted to Windows I plugged in the USB cable for the wheel. Then I plugged in the power. No problems…

It almost seems as if when the device is already powered on before plugging in the USB cable, it causes, perhaps, a short that resets the computer when it makes contact with the USB port.

So, try plugging your device into the USB port with no power. Then give it power and see what happens.

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