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MSI X470 Gaming Pro: Possible bad USB port causing USB hard drive corruption

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TL: DR: Is there any good way to test if a USB port is bad?

I was trying to pull files off of one of my drives using a Vantec USB SATA dock. Whenever I tried to access the drive, it would work for a few seconds, then transfer speeds would drop to zero. Trying to cancel the transfer would cause Windows Explorer (and any SMART monitoring programs) to become unresponsive. After a while, I'd try to shut my system down only to have it hang on the "shutting down" screen. Once any drive activity lights stopped flashing, I'd force shutdown. In two cases, I ended up corrupting the drives, once on my 4TB backup drive (which would've been recoverable if I was patient, but it turned out I had backed up all of its files before), and again on my old 1.5TB Windows 7 drive (which I am currently trying to recover the files on), which admittedly is probably my fault.

At first I thought the dock was the problem, but the problems disappeared when I used the front USB ports on my system in addition to a different USB cable and power supply for the dock. Then I thought the cable was the problem, until I plugged it into the same USB port it was originally connected to when the problem started. I moved it to a different USB port, and so far nothing bad has happened.

Are there other ways I can check if this port is bad? And if it is bad, what should I do? Try to RMA the board?

I've also learned from this ordeal how important backups are.
 

eidairaman1

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The docks/adapters go bad, sometimes the drive controller does too
 
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The docks/adapters go bad, sometimes the drive controller does too
I've ruled out the drive's built in controller on two of the three drives since they both work perfectly when connected over SATA.

So far the data recovery on the 1.5TB drive is going smoothly. It's currently in the dock connected to a different USB port. I think it's safe to say this drive and the dock are fine.
 

eidairaman1

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I've ruled out the drive's built in controller on two of the three drives since they both work perfectly when connected over SATA.

So far the data recovery on the 1.5TB drive is going smoothly. It's currently in the dock connected to a different USB port. I think it's safe to say this drive and the dock are fine.
I would do a test run in the suspected port, first though, disconnect power totally and then dust that port out, electronic grade contact cleaner by CRC or WD 40 Special is good for that.
 
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TL: DR: Is there any good way to test if a USB port is bad?
Unfortunately, there is no diagnostic tool (software or hardware device) to conclusively verify if a USB port is good - other than a USB port voltage tester. These are handy to ensure +5VDC is present, but these cannot test for the presence of, or the integrity of any data.

About the best you can do is try another device in the port and try that device in another computer. Note that typically both ports in a USB pair of ports use the same USB hub. So trying a totally different pair of ports can be revealing too. For example, if using your case's front ports, try one of the rear ports.

Are there any errors in Device Manager?

As far as going for an RMA, if your motherboard is still under warranty, if you determine the port is bad, then sure, go for it.

One word of warning. WD 40 makes many products under the "WD 40 Specialist" moniker. As seen here, those include Gel Lubricant, Penetrant, Rust Penetrant, Silicone Lubricant, Multipurpose Grease, White Lithium Grease, Carburetor Cleaner and Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser - to name but a few. Do NOT use any of those on your electronics.

As eidairaman1 noted, make sure the product you use is WD-40 Specialist Electrical Contact Cleaner. I mention this because a friend's son grabbed the wrong can and ended up spraying a bunch of Silicon Lubricant in his motherboard ports. The Silicone lube is great for gears, chains, rollers and pulleys used on garage doors and door openers, but not electronics. :(
 
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If you have a USB flash drive. Try that and see what happens. A dead USB port should be a non issue though even if it is dead. You can buy USB adapter cards really cheap and your board has 4 PCI_E 1.0 slots. I would not RMA an entire board for that issue.
 

eidairaman1

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If you have a USB flash drive. Try that and see what happens. A dead USB port should be a non issue though even if it is dead. You can buy USB adapter cards really cheap and your board has 4 PCI_E 1.0 slots. I would not RMA an entire board for that issue.
I would only do that if out of warranty, if in warranty an rma is due
 
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I would only do that if out of warranty, if in warranty an rma is due
If you bought it it is absolutely your right to do just that. For me I would rather spend the money I would use shipping the board to MSI on an adapter, especially if it's the only board I have to use. Maybe it's just me but I have never seen a dead USB port as enough of an issue to do an RMA a board.
 
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I would only do that if out of warranty, if in warranty an rma is due
I agree. While dealing with RMAs is a PITA, I would be concerned there are more issues with that board not yet discovered. If I could see the port was physically damaged, I might let it slide and keep that board and just use a different port. But if the port does not work and there is no apparent damage, the problem could be due to the hub or perhaps power distribution or something else that might affect other parts of the board. So I would RMA it for sure.
 
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Recuva is a miracle program. It managed to mostly recover the corrupted 1.5TB drive (all of the data I care about seems to be fine).

As for the issue, I'm just gonna not use the defective port for anything other than charging my mouse. The dock is working fine connected to a different port.
 
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