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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fix USB Ports That Aren't Working

 Over the last decade, the Universal Serial Bus replaced all other add-on ports to become the primary method for attaching devices to computers. All computers now come with several open USB ports on the rear of the case and often some on the front for convenience. If one or several of these ports won't work, reinstalling the USB drivers or reconnecting the internal wiring usually solves the problem.

1). Attach a different device to the malfunctioning port to ensure the port itself has failed, rather than the specific device. If nothing will work on the port, then the USB port itself has the problem.

2). Open the "Start" menu and click "Control Panel." Click "System and Maintenance" and finally "Device Manager." Enter the administrator password if the system asks for it.
3). Look for any icons on the list bearing a yellow exclamation point, representing a failed device. For USB port problems, this will usually be either a "Generic USB Hub" or "USB Root Hub."
4). Right-click on the USB port with the problem. Click "Update driver software" then pick "Search automatically for updated driver software." If the system successfully updates the driver, check if the problem has resolved. If not, right-click on the device again and click "Uninstall."

5). Open the "Action" menu, and press "Scan for hardware changes." The system will detect the USB port and reinstall the driver for it. For front-panel USB ports that still won't work, or don't show up in Device Manager at all, you will need to check the internal connection.

6). Shut down your computer, unplug the power and open the side of the case. Locate the wires coming from the USB front panel and follow them to the motherboard.

7). Press on the connection to make sure it is firmly attached. Some USB panels connect with a series of small cables instead of a single plug, so check all wires coming from the panel.

8). Move the connector to another available USB header if the wires were already securely attached. If the USB port now works, the first header on the motherboard was defective. If the port still fails, the USB front panel may be broken internally and need replacement.


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