USB port failure

I have a dell dimension running XP Pro.  The USB devices started failing  ... mostly the computer would not recognize flash drives.  I moved the computer to a different location, installed patches, did basic software maintenance, and returned the computer to its original location and suddenly the USB  ports worked again.  Then suddenly the USB ports stop responding again weeks later.  I notice one port does not seem to be supplying power while others are because USB hard drives will spin up  and XP recognizes,  but aalwaaays installs it as an "unknown device".  

I have gone into the registry and removed ?? devices from mounted devices with no change.  Still no recognition of anything from printers that were working fine to flash drives to battery backup data ports.

Any ideas?   Thanks
palefaceAsked:
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SysExpertConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1) You may have hardware issues with the port, possibly a device drew more than the allowed 500 ma current and damaged it.

Also intermittent issues could be cabling or motherboard related.

Recheck all USB internal cables ( if any ).

I would block the bad port using masking or packing tape.

I hope this helps

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rettiseertCommented:
Have you tried restoring your Windows using the included restore tool? If this is a software related problem then restoring your sistem may fix the problem.

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PUNKYConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I hope the system has not come to state like SysExpert said above, but it seems pointing to it. I suggest you reset bios by key command in the link see if it helps:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Misc/Q_21797028.html
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palefaceAuthor Commented:
I ended up installing a new set of usb ports via a pci card ... it looks like a mobo problem.  I wish i had seen the reset bios via Punky before adding the card .. good info.
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