USB ports on a laptop extend the computer's functionality by allowing you to connect various USB devices, such as printers or external hard drives. If the USB ports on your laptop have stopped working, the problem lies either with a software glitch that can be quickly solved by changing a setting on your operating system or in a hardware failure that will require replacing the entire motherboard.
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Things you need
Click on the "Start" button at the bottom of the desktop and then choose the "Control Panel" option. Scroll through the list of menu options in the Control Panel and double-click the icon labelled as "Device Manager." Click on the "Continue" button when your operating system pops up a second window asking you to confirm that you want to continue.
Scroll down to the bottom of the Device Manger window and locate the menu heading labelled as "Universal Serial Bus Controllers." Click on the plus sign next to the entry to expand the menu. Right-click on the first entry that appears and then choose the "Uninstall" option. Repeat the process for all of the USB controllers listed.
Restart the computer and wait for a new window to appear prompting you to reinstall the USB controllers. Click on the "Install" button and wait for the operating system to finish installing the drivers for the USB ports. Attempt to use the port again.
Check the manual that came with your laptop and find out what model of motherboard it uses, if the USB port still isn't working. Order a replacement motherboard. Power off your laptop and flip the unit over. Press down the release latch for the battery and slide the battery out of the case. Remove all of the screws on the bottom side of the case. Remove the plastic cover at the middle of the case and then pull out the RAM modules underneath that are connected to the motherboard.
Turn the laptop back over and open the lid. Pop the plastic bezel above the keyboard off of the laptop case with the edge of the screwdriver. Lift the keyboard off of the case and then unplug the cable running from the keyboard to the motherboard. Set the keyboard aside. Pull out the screws holding the heat sink to the processor at the lower right side of the motherboard. Remove the heat sink and then pull the processor directly up and off the motherboard.
Disconnect the wireless network card and the graphics adaptor if your model of laptop has them. Set them aside. Pull off the remaining screws holding the motherboard to the case. Lift the motherboard out of the case. Set the new motherboard back in and then reconnect the network card, graphics adaptor, processor, heat sink, keyboard and plastic bezel. Flip the unit over and reconnect the RAM modules. Reattach all the screws and then pop the battery back into the case.
Power the laptop back on and wait for the operating system to finish loading to make sure the motherboard was installed correctly. Attach the USB device into the new USB port and attempt to use it again.
Tips and warnings
- Touch a metal object that is grounded to the floor before opening the laptop's case to release the built up static electricity in your body. If you don't ground yourself first, you can damage the internal components of the computer.
- Replacing the motherboard on your laptop may void the warranty provided through the manufacturer.
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