troubleshooting Question

Acer Aspire notebook USB ports randomly stop working

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my father bought my mother an Acer aspire  one 532h for christmas.  All of a sudden last weekend the USB ports stopped working in Windows.  MP3 player not recognized, USB wireless mouse stops working.  Nothing. So today I get my hands on the thing. I plug in my digital camera, boom - recognized.  mouse, not so much.  I try an MP3 player, no deal.  I unplug and plug in my camera, not recognized.  Nothing showing up in device manager.  I uninstall and reinstall every USB device in device manager (which shows everything's fine) and still no change.  However, when booting if a USB device is plugged in (i.e. the mouse) the machine just sits and won't boot (not booting to the USB drive, just sits and pauses until the device is removed).
I've  flashed the bios, I've reset the bios to factory defaults (not that my parents played with the bios, but thought what the heck).  No deal.  I did what Acer apparently calls a reset, which is pull the battery, unplug the A/C adapter, and hold the power button.  no deal.  
From what I've read, it seems to be a common thing for Acer machines (Especially netbooks) and the workaround seems to be get a usb card. Well, the netbook only has a PCMCIA express slot.  From what I've read, Acer support says send it to them, and they reinstall the OS.  From what I read, it fixes the problem for a few weeks.  The OS is Windows 7.  
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