What I am about to give you is one of the BEST tips that I have ever picked up in my 10+ years in the Computer business. The trick is remembering to try this as part of your troubleshooting steps the next time you are experiencing problems with your USB ports. So what’s the problem?

Problem: USB Ports will not recognize devices – USB Ports are NOT working!

Some things with computers just don’t make sense. I remember one time I was troubleshooting a PC for hours and could not, for the life of me, figure out what was preventing the computer from booting up. I tried every software and hardware related troubleshooting step I could think of and finally figured it out when I resorted to testing every single piece of hardware in the PC. It turns out it was a stupid floppy drive! Imagine that…one component, that is obsolete and not even used anymore, preventing the computer from starting!

Sometimes the solution to your problem is outside the bounds of anything you could imagine would fix your problem. In this case, it makes sense but it is not something you would normally think to do, in troubleshooting USB port problems. Additionally, this same tip has the potential to fix many types of hardware issues from hard drives to USB ports to graphics and display related issues and more.

Trust me, I’ve already made the mistake of going out and buying a PCI card with USB slots because none of the USB ports on my desktop PC were working. I went on for months thinking that all the USB ports on my motherboard had burned out but when I learned this fix and came home and tried it on my computer, low and behold the USB ports worked fine again. Amazing.

I have even had a similar thing happen on a laptop PC that uses a PCMCIA ExpressCard with USB ports and they stopped working. I tried restarting the computer numerous times but then I applied the fix to the laptop and low and behold, upon booting the computer back up, my USB ports worked again!!

USB FIX Solution:

  1. Power down the computer and disconnect the power cord. If the computer is a laptop, remove the battery as well.
  2. Once the computer is powered off & the power cord is disconnected, press the power button several times. This will help drain any power that could be lingering in the computer.
  3. Let the computer sit for several hours. If you can do this at night and leave it sitting disconnected and powered down over night, that works very well. Otherwise, just leave it for 2-3 hours and that should be sufficient.
  4. Finally, put the battery back in (if it’s a laptop), plug the power cord in, boot the computer back up and see if they work.

I have had this amazingly simple fix cure USB problems on multiple different computers including Desktops & Laptops. In one case, with a Desktop computer, I was sure that the USB ports were fried (which happens occasionally on computers that are multiple years old) so I went out and bought a PCI USB Card. I had the computer disconnected from the wall and sitting for several hours and upon plugging it back in, the original USB ports started to work again! So I no longer needed the PCI Card. I have also used this trick successfully on multiple laptops.

Why Does It Work?

In the technology business, when you encounter problems, the first thing to try is always to restart the device. I always say that a simple reboot cures 50% of problems. This not only applies to computers but all types of electronic devices from phones to DVD players. This method that we are using here goes beyond a simple reboot and is closer to a power reset (which is another method for fixing all types of computer problems including computers that won’t even boot). For whatever reason, sometimes devices get clogged up after they have been running for a long time and starting fresh is a good way to fix problems. That is basically what we are doing here.

Next time you encounter USB problems such as USB ports not working, USB devices not recognized, or other USB problems, try this amazingly simple USB fix and you might be surprised that your USB ports are back to working like new again!