Windows Enterprise Desktop

Oct 28 2019   1:12PM GMT

More Odd USB-C Symptoms

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Tags:
Troubleshooting
usb storage device
USB-C

Call me hard-headed, or perhaps stupid and irresponsible. I’ve kept using a Sabrent NVMe enclosure with Samsung 970 EVO 1 TB SSD on my Lenovo X380 Yoga. This, despite an error message indicating that it draws more voltage from the USB-C port than the port can provide. (See my October 21 post Multiple ISO Mount Strategies Prove Helpful for more details.) As you might expect, I have been reaping the not-so-happy results of such activity. It has taken the form of more odd USB-C Symptoms on that machine. I’m talking about regular and frequent dwm.exe crashes (the Windows desktop windows manager). Take a look at this Reliability Monitor snapshot:

More Odd USB-C Symptoms.relimon

All of the critical events shown represent APPCRASH for dwm.exe, 36 total. Happens only when a USB-C/Thunderbolt attached NVMe SSD is present.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Trial-and-Erroring Diagnosis for More Odd USB-C Symptoms

I noticed this behavior while leaving an RDP session open on the X380 Yoga laptop. After about an hour, the connection would fail, and I’d find exactly 9 repeated instances of wdm.appcrash at the same time. Remembering the error message, I’d observed and reported in the afore-cited Mount Strategies post, I unplugged the USB-C SSD. Since that time, the error has not recurred. I can also leave RDP up and running into my desktop overnight without issue, either. It’s weird that this would manifest as a desktop window management issue in Windows 10, but the relationship between having the device plugged in and causing the error is too strong to overlook.

Of course, the old troubleshooting (and data science) saying goes “Correlation is not causation.” Now that I’ve unplugged the USB-C NVMe device, I’ll still keep watching that test machine to see if more odd USB-C symptoms recur anyway. So far, it’s been less than 24 hours since I unplugged the device. It may be too early to tell, but I am encouraged that the dwm.exe crashes have not recurred since, despite numerous — and some extended (4 hours or more) — RDP sessions into the test machine. We’ll see if this stacks up to something . . . or perhaps nothing.

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