USB devices connected via an AnywhereUSB device started disappearing from the OS

We have a Windows Server 2008 R2 server with two USB license dongles connected via an AnywhereUSB device. The server is running in an ESXi 5.1 virtual machine. After installing the last portion of Windows updates in the end of last week those dongles started disappearing from the OS along with the virtual USB hub device thus preventing the software from functioning correctly. They reappear only after the server is rebooted. It happens several times a day.

The System and Application logs on the server contain no suspicious events. Several other similar (but not identical) USB dongles connected to other servers through the same AnywhereUSB device work properly. Those servers are running the same OS with the same set of Windows updates.

The previous version of AnywhereUSB drivers installed on the server was 3.60. I installed the latest version of the drivers (3.80) but it hasn’t changed the situation. Similar USB dongles connected to other servers via another AnywhereUSB device work normally as well with old drivers.

I’m at a complete loss here. If the problem is in the new Windows security patches, why doesn’t it happen to other servers? If the problem is in the AnywhereUSB device, why other USB dongles connected to it aren’t affected?

Is there any way to collect detailed diagnostics on the AnywhereUSB drivers and their faults?

I recommend going through this knowledge base article:

Unfortunately, this document is not relevant in our case. It describes what to do if a dongle can’t be detected/connected to a server from the very beginning. My situation is different. The devices are successfully connected to the server when it boots but disappear later.

Meanwhile, the situation has become catastrophic. The problem appeared on another server running Windows Server 2012 R2 and connected to another AnywhereUSB device with another set of USB dongles. It’s the main accounting server, and it can’t be rebooted during office hours.

An additional observation: if I check the situation with the Remote Hub Configuration Utility, it can see all AnywhereUSB devices. However, it shows that the server is disconnected from the device, its group on the device is marked as “Available”, and the “Connect” button doesn’t react to mouse clicks. In addition, AnywhereUSB devices appear and disappear from the list all the time.

As it started happening since I installed the last set of Windows hotfixes, it’s obviously a conflict between AnywhereUSB drivers and one of the hotfixes. This evening I’ll uninstall the entire set of hotfixes and see if it improves the situation. However, an urgent attention of the Digi technical support service is required.

P.S. I’ve found the article Seems that it describes our scenario pretty well. It states that the problem is in the USB dongle drivers. We’ll try to update the driver to the current version and see what happen.

Update: I’ve deployed a brand-new virtual machine running Windows Server 2012 R2, AnywhereUSB drivers v.3.80 and the latest version of USB dongles’ drivers and RTE (not too new, but January and September 2015 look not bad, either). No luck. The AnywhereUSB USB hub emulator keeps disappearing from the Device Manager. Configuration Utility shows that the AnywhereUSB device is disconnected from the server and refuses to connect it back. The only way to restore the protection system is rebooting the server.

While a USB dongle driver still can be a reason for such behavior, I believe the problem hides somewhere in the AnywhereUSB device drivers. They shouldn’t be influenced by a failure on upper levels of the drivers’ stack, and if they do, they’re bugged themselves.

Try this KB article:

This article describes what to do if an AnywhereUSB device disconnects from the network. However, our devices don’t disconnect, they’re pretty stable. The problem is on the server side, and it appeared immediately after a set of Windows hotfixes was installed.

I’ll update the firmware, but I doubt pretty much that it will help solving the problem.

Another update: the AnywhereUSB firmware was updated to the latest version but it didn’t help. USB dongles still keep detaching from the server every so often requiring a server reboot. Now I see the only way to solve the issue, which is uninstalling all the latest updates and disabling the Windows Update service on the server for good. An extremely bad solution, but I have no choice. Seems that the idea of connecting USB dongles to servers over LAN was bad from the beginning. Will chose a dongle-less software next time…