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Solved: USB ports stopped working

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by DKTaber, Apr 10, 2013.

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  1. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    About 3 years ago, I gave my old Pentium 4 XP custom-built computer to a non-profit agency. It worked flawlessly until about 3 months ago when ALL of the USB ports stopped working. I checked the many posts on this forum for the same problem, and have tried


    • doing a system restore back to October;

    • checking to make sure the USB ports are enabled in the BIOS (they are);

    • deleting all the USB ports from Device Manager and letting Windows install them again (which it did);

    • reinstalling the chipset drivers.
    None of these fixed the problem. Given that, the conclusion I come to is that some component on the mobo has failed. Am I right, or is there something else I need to try?
     
  2. Hitori

    Hitori

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    Sounds like you tried all software related avenues...
    The next thing you could have tried was opening up the case and checking the connector cables to the front USB ports. According to the manual there should be three USB headers on the motherboard supplying 6 front USB ports.
    If all three headers are in use, I think it's pretty unlikely all the connectors have been compromised simultaneously...
    If only one of those headers is in use supplying 2 front USB ports, worth a shot to move the cable to either of the free ones... and cross fingers.
     
  3. pritesh123

    pritesh123

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    Hey man I have the same problem on my windows XP. As Hitori has suggested, i am not so good to hardware.... Please reply me...
     
  4. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    Should have listed that as one of the things I already tried. I tried using the header next to the one the front ports were on. Made no difference. In any case, that would not explain why ALL the USB ports are non-working. The 4 rear USB ports are hard-connected to the mobo, so disconnection/bad header is not possible, and they don't work, either. I don't know which of the onboard transistors on the mobo controls the USB ports, but it's my guess that it's "gone south".

    The conundrum in this situation is that after deleting all of the USB ports (and the hub) from Device Manager and rebooting, Windows recognized the presence of the ports and reinstalled all of them. If the system KNOWS they exist, why do they not work???
     
  5. Hitori

    Hitori

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    Yup, that's why I added 'cross your fingers', it was a long-shot... but worth it if it could have restored a couple USB ports to functionality.

    As for why they are installing but not functioning... that does sound like a failed USB controller. It is still physically present so it reports itself to Windows, and the appropriate drivers are installed but when it is called upon to function, it simply cannot allocate power/bandwidth.
    Here is an interesting article on troubleshooting USB problems. Think you've covered them really.

    So while I believe the only option would be to purchase a USB port add-in card (assuming the system can accommodate it) you can try a last ditch motherboard cleaning with compressed air. There is a tiny chance that something might be shorting on the motherboard. Have used compressed air to bring a couple systems back from a 'No POST' state, could not hurt to try.
     
  6. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I do have a compressor, so may try a compressed air cleaning. But I would be very surprised if that did anything; you can eat off the inside of this computer. If that fails, I could add a USB card. . . but the computer has been in service since late 2004 and has all the original parts, including the HD, so I'm looking to sell it or give it away. Despite the fact that it is every bit as fast as my Win 7 Core i7 laptop, it will probably be a hard sell because it's an XP system and is so old. However, the case is a Lian-Li, which goes for ~$140 today, so giving it away doesn't seem rational. What's your opinion: Could I get anything for it because of the Lian-Li case?
     
  7. Hitori

    Hitori

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    Just occurred to me: how old is that power supply and is it a generic unit or a brand name?
    Again, I do not hold much hope since you weren't getting any errors when you connected a USB device but you could test out another known good power supply unit...

    But back to my original train of thought: since the case is a thumbs-up, and the hard drive and optical drive are functional, if you can score a compatible motherboard (bit of a tall order, I know) you can swap over the CPU and RAM. No need to reinstall XP even.

    Heck, you might even want to consider upgrading the system... might mean new power supply, motherboard, CPU & RAM... and possibly a reinstall of XP.

    Failing that, you should be able to get something if the case is pretty sweet.
     
  8. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    My sense is that the power supply (a VANTEC Aeroflow VP4-C7040) has a 0.001% chance of being the source of the problem. Everything else on the computer works, the LED's are super bright, etc.

    I actually gave some thought to replacing the mobo. The least expensive one I could find (eBay) is $70. But since everything except the USB ports works, a more fiscally prudent thing to do would be to buy a USB card, which can be had for $9. But then, I would have an 8.5-year-old computer with an obsolete CPU, obsolete OS, and 80GB HD. . . that I don't really need. If there were a market for it, I'd install the USB card and sell it. But I have had two P4 XP computers on CraigsList since Monday with no bites. So I'm probably going to list it on DelawareFreecycle and let the party that takes it worry about the USB card.
     
  9. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    I seriously doubt if you'll be able to sell those Intel Pentium IV desktops.

    Refurbished Intel Core 2 Duo desktops(which include the Windows disc) are selling for $200 - $250 or less.

    I've bought 4 of them in the past year.

    --------------------------------------------------------
     
  10. Hitori

    Hitori

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    This organization has the backing to upgrade donated PCs before passing them along to the recipients... also works as a tax write off. Worth checking out:
    http://www.computerswithcauses.org/
     
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