USB ports on a computer or laptop don't work: effective solutions

The sudden failure of USB ports is faced by many computer users. This is a fairly common phenomenon that occurs under various conditions for software reasons or due to equipment malfunction. Non-working ports create considerable discomfort, because in this case you will not be able to use either external drives or USB-connected I / O devices, including a mouse, which will seriously complicate work on a laptop or PC. Virtually all peripherals (not counting monitors) is connected via USB, so for the full functioning of the computer it is better to resolve the issue immediately. Ports can refuse all at once or only some of them. To solve the problem, it is necessary to find out why USB does not work, and you can quickly determine the source of the trouble and fix it if you track the moment of the malfunction. Ports may cease to function after reinstalling the operating system or updating drivers, as well as without any previous events, which complicates the search for causes. It is possible that the malfunction is of a hardware nature, but more often than not, the user will be able to cope with the problem with just a few clicks. Consider what actions will help eliminate trouble.

Restore USB ports.

Check port status

The first thing to do if the USB ports on a desktop computer or laptop do not work is to check them for clogging and physical damage. They become clogged quickly enough, since they remain open and no plugs are provided for their protection, although they can be closed with a cover on the front panel of the PC case. Visually inspect the connectors, brush with a hard long bristle brush. It is possible that the USB ports stopped working due to damage. In this case, it is unlikely that they could fail all at once. Check the non-working connector by plugging in a USB device, such as a USB flash drive, and evaluate how physical contact is made. If the connected device does not enter the socket tightly, moves unnaturally free, then most likely the port has failed and will need to be replaced. Many devices are connected via USB cable. In this case, the failure of the cord itself is not excluded. You should also make sure that the device itself is connected properly, for which you need to try to connect it to another computer.

Computer restart

The reason that all USB ports on a laptop or PC have stopped working is often a random system failure. Surprisingly, in most cases, errors in the functioning of devices are really solved by a normal reboot. This simplest method is also effective in the situation with the failure of USB ports. After re-scanning the hardware, including the connectors, the system will start them in good condition, if possible.

Check BIOS settings

A frequent reason for the fact that not a single USB port on a laptop or desktop PC is working is the fact that the functionality is simply disabled in BIOS. To solve the problem, you will have to dig into the settings of the basic input and output system. Perform the following steps:

  • Restart the computer and go to the BIOS. For different versions, different keys or their combinations are used for this purpose, for example Del, F2 and others. You can see this information before booting the system or try the options.
  • Here we select the “Advanced” tab (or “Integrated Peripherals”) and go to the “USB Configuration” section (depending on the version or BIOS type, the names of partitions may differ). You may encounter parameters with the names “USB Controllers” or “USB Function”, all of which must be set to “Enabled”, which means that the ports are active. If you see “Disabled” in front of one of these items, you need to select a parameter (move with arrows on the keyboard) and activate it by pressing the Enter key. To save the changes, press the corresponding key (usually F10) and confirm the decision by pressing Y or Enter.
  • Restart the computer and check the operation of the ports.

If the above method did not produce results, then the reason for the lack of functioning of USB-connectors is not in the BIOS settings, so you should look further, trying other solutions to the problem.

Missing or incorrect installation of USB drivers

If the USB or USB connectors do not work on a laptop or PC, the problem may be related to incorrect device operation. Dysfunction is often provoked by missing, crookedly installed, outdated or damaged drivers, which happens after reinstalling the operating system, as a result of a malfunction, violation of software integrity during installation, updating, etc. To solve the problem, perform the following actions:

  • We proceed to the Device Manager (via the Control Panel, or via the Run console (Win + R), where we enter the command devmgmt.msc or in any other way convenient for you).
  • A list of all connected devices is available here, if any of them does not work, a yellow exclamation mark will appear next to the name or in the place of the name “unknown device”. The problem of an unrecognized hardware system may be either irrelevant / damaged drivers, or a hardware malfunction associated with the lack of contact, failure, etc.
  • Expanding the “USB Controllers” branch, you will see a list of used USB devices. You can update or reinstall the drivers using the disk going to your motherboard or from the official website of the manufacturer.
  • Double-click to open the properties where you can view the status of the device and update the software in the “Driver” tab or see the current version information and other information. By pressing the RMB on the device name, the context menu is also invoked, and if the device is disabled, select the "Enable" option. Here, in the context menu there is the item “Update drivers” (click on it and select the method - the options for automatic updating are available when the system itself searches for suitable software, and manually).

You can also use the USB controller configuration update option, for which you need to find the name in which the “USB host controller” is found and select the corresponding item in the context menu. After the actions performed, we check the operation of the ports. If there is no device with this name, the configuration of all USB controllers should be updated. Another effective way involves removing the controller, this option is available when you press PCM on the device, you can click “Update hardware configuration” to restore it in the “Action” tab of the Device Manager, or it is better to restart the computer, after which the drivers will be reinstalled automatically.

USB ports do not work due to controller damage

As you can see, the USB ports on the computer may not work for many reasons and one of the most unpleasant of them is the failure of the controller. If the above methods did not help correct the situation, perhaps the reason lies in the hardware malfunction. If you are not a specialist in the field of computer repair, you should not try to repair anything yourself, in this case it is better to entrust the matter to professionals. To avoid high repair costs, you can install an expansion card (USB PC controller) installed in the PCI slot on the motherboard. Such a solution to the problem significantly saves your money, and the issue of an insufficient number of USB ports is always solved by using a USB hub.

Power outages

Another reason why the USB jacks on a laptop or PC do not work is the lack of power to all connected devices. For example, when you connect an external drive that uses two connectors, other equipment, the same keyboard, can be turned off. This is because the power of the power supply is not enough to provide energy to all devices. This factor often provokes a number of other problems in the operation of equipment. In this scenario, there are not so many options for resolving the issue - it is the replacement of a low-power power supply unit with a more powerful power supply (with a margin of about 25% of power), or the use of an active USB hub with external power. So, you will be able to connect more devices at the same time, as well as power them separately.

Through the Device Manager, you can also deactivate the power saving option for USB ports. In the properties window of the desired device, go to the tab "Power Management" and remove the check mark next to the item that allows shutdown in order to save energy. On older computers, the reason may be in a dead CMOS battery. This problem is also characterized by resetting the current date and time, which is observed every time the device is turned on. If it's all about it, then you need to replace the battery.

USB ports on the front of the computer do not work

In the case of a stationary computer, it happens that the problem concerns only the connectors located on the motherboard (rear) or connected to it via a loop (front). So, if only the front USB ports do not work, it is easy to find out if you should remove the side cover of the system unit and check their connection to the system board, including the integrity of the wires. When working, the computer must be turned off. How to make the connection correctly is described in the manual for the specific motherboard, but, as a rule, this can be determined by the inscriptions on the motherboard (USB1 or USB2, as on the block). After inspecting the wires going to the front panel, you can see if they are disconnected or damaged. It is possible that the malfunction arose due to the closure of contacts, which is often caused by the accumulation of contaminants. In this case, it is necessary to clean the contents of the system unit from dust. This procedure is also best carried out periodically for prophylaxis, without waiting for the appearance of “carpets” inside the system unit.

As a rule, the above methods solve the problem and each of them is effective depending on the cause of the problem. In this case, there may be cases of physical damage requiring the intervention of specialists. And if you cope with the replacement of the port or return the power supply wiring and will be able to more or less have the appropriate skills of the user, then with the breakdown of the south bridge of the motherboard, things are much more serious. Replacing an element will correct the situation, but you shouldn't even try to carry out the procedure without the necessary tools and special skills.