USB Pot Luck?

As we travel more and more, we increasingly use USB based devices to add functionality to our laptops or other devices.  In the course of traveling to our office in Pune, India, I decided to bring along a variety of devices.  This included a Casio camera, a Motorola Slvr, a WD Passport Essential, a WD Passport Wave, an HTC Evo 4G and a Sansa MP3 player.  Bringing a USB Mini-A and a USB Micro-A cable seemed to be sufficient, but I happened to have an additional Mini-A with me.

Things were fine until I decided to update my MP3 player with songs from my WD Passport.  This necessitated using both Mini-A cables.  On plugging in the MP3 Player  I got that nondescript message

usb device not recognized

Naturally, I went through all the usual suspects.  Check Drivers, Find New Drivers, Check Windows Updates, Reboot, Power down, remove the battery and search the web for solutions.  However, the fix was much simpler, I had to use the right cable.  Although I had two cables which looked ostensibly the same and on other devices they worked the same way, for this device the right cable made all the difference.  Although, I can’t tell what the difference between the two cables is, changing the cable is now the first thing I do when Windows tells me “USB Device Not Recognised” even if I think it is the right cable.

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