I have had an 8-in-1 USB reader for a couple of years and it recently stopped working. Connecting the drive to a USB port produced a message that the drive was malfunctioning. I checked the port by successfully connecting another device. I am running Windows XP. I followed the steps of editing the registry and removing the lines of code indicated in your troubleshooting section. The drive still did not work. I tried it on another computer and it worked so it is not a hardware problem with the reader.
Yesterday, I purchased a new 12-in-1 reader and it encounters the same "malfunction" error. This is especially discouraging given the cost of the new reader.
What could be causing this problem? I can't think of any changes I made to the computer between the last successful use and the first malfunction. I did not install any other new hardware or software.