OK folks-- here's the deal. I replaced my motherboard and processor (finally caved in and got a nice P4 rig). The new motherboard is an ABIT BD7II-RAID... and like most new motherboards, it sports "USB 2.0" ports.
The operating system is W98SE. After I got the Intel chipset driver installed-- all of my USB devices seem to work great! This includes my Hp Deskjet 842C printer, a logitech optical USB mouse, and my Ipaq cradle.
But the scanner will not work- it only comes up as "Unrecognized device".
I tried changing the software around, unstalling, installing, etc. No dice.
Then I realized what else had changed..... since my new motherboard has four (*4*) usb ports-- I had ripped out my external belkin powered USB hub and had set it aside.
Believing I was hot on the trail... it turns out I was right.
If the HP Scanjet 4100C is plugged directly into my motherboard's (Intel) USB "2.0" ports-- the scanner is not recognized. But..... if I first plug in a POWERED usb hub (belkin).... and then pop the scanner into that-- it works just fine.
Oddly enough, I don't even have "usb 2.0 drivers" yet (abit does NOT have them available yet! grr).
Can someone give me an official answer on my problem? Someone mentioned in a separate thread that they had heard from HP that their scanjet 5300 and the Intel-based USB hub are incompatable. I am starting to believe it. Am I potentially stuck with needing that stupid external hub as long as I continue to use this scanner?