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USB ports stopped working

Posted on 2014-04-30
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Last Modified: 2014-05-02
Hi There

I have been given a Vostro 1540 laptop by a friend to have a look at. It has recently stopped the use of all usb functions. I go in to the Device Manager and everything looks good, no errors. I delete them all and restart the machine. Again all looks fine but nothing works.

I plug in a usb key and although the light comes on nothing shows on the machine. I have also tried plugging in a mouse. When I do so the red light beneath flickers of for a second and then again, nothing.

The USB ports did work and I know this as I did some work on the laptop before Xmas and there was no issue then.

Any ideas would be great.

BTW - All W7 updates are up to date
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Question by:doey
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6 Comments
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:xaichen
ID: 40032644
Hi Doey,

Do you know if the ports are working ok before the operating system fully boots? You can test this by plugging in an external keyboard and keep mashing the F8 key as soon as you turn the system on. If you are able to get to the boot menu then this rules out physical hardware faults and the need for hardware repair/replacement.

If you are able to try using the F8 menu and use the arrow keys to boot to Windows Safe Mode and try the USB functionality again it would be interesting to know the results. If all works ok in safe mode this could be an issue caused by conflicting 3rd party drivers (has any new software hardware been installed recently?) Maybe try a Windows System Restore back to before any major changes if the owner can be specific as to when the problem started.

I hope that helps.
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LVL 19

Assisted Solution

by:Rob Hutchinson
Rob Hutchinson earned 498 total points
ID: 40032664
Can you boot to a USB bootable drive using Win7 or another OS and see if the problem still exists?

Maybe check the BIOS settings if the USB is still not working when booting to a USB drive.

If the USB drives will not even boot, then it's a good indication that the problem might be hardware.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40032684
First check your BIOS settings. Some PC's have options in the BIOS where USB is enabled or disabled. If there are no such options, boot the PC up to a Knoppix LiveCD. If You can connect and use the USB ports there, you'll know that it is a windows problem, if it won't work under Knoppix either, it is a hardware issue. If that is the case, look cloesely at all the USB ports. There is a plastic part inside which supports the USB contacts. I've seen situations where that plastic part had broken off (probably because someone had brushed past when something was attached to the port and that yanked out that device by force). This will often cause the contacts to touch each other, thus short circuiting. If you see something like this, try separating the contacts so they don't touch each other. If you are lucky, the other ports might then start working again.

If you can't see any such physical damage, there isn't much you can do, short of changing the mainboard (which usually is more expensive than a new PC). If your PC has a PC-Card or PCI-Express slot, you could also get such a card with USB ports.
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 501 total points
ID: 40032694
Forgot to provide the Link from where you can get knoppix liveCD/LiveDVD iso:

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=knoppix
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 501 total points
ID: 40033963
you can try a system restore to a date they worked ok
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Author Comment

by:doey
ID: 40037642
I tried all the bios settings and booting with a usb mouse & keyboard before writing this, but none of them worked.

I have to thank everybody for all of their help but it looks like there was something else going on. I don't know what as the machine just died. I opened it up to see if there was anything obvious happening like a loose cable or so. But no.

Thanks again
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