Universal Serial Bus ports, while a convenient way to transfer data and use external devices, sometimes stop working. A variety of issues may cause a USB port to appear broken, including power surges, outdated driver software and incompatible devices, so it is important to know how to diagnose and fix these problems. Windows offers several tools to manage your USB ports, both online and integrated in your computer's operating system.
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Plug your USB device into several ports in your computer. Some USB ports may not be compatible with plug-and-play devices, or you may be trying to use a high-speed device on a low-speed port. Test multiple ports until your computer indicates that the device is recognised and ready.
Click on the Start menu, then "Control Panel," "Hardware and Sound" and "Device Manager." Click on the arrow next to "Universal Serial Bus controllers" to expand that tree. Problematic devices will be indicated by a yellow exclamation mark.
Right-click on a USB root hub, then click "Update Software Drivers..." to install the latest device drivers. Repeat this step for each USB root hub.
Right-click a USB root hub in Device Manager, then click "Uninstall" to remove the hardware drivers. In case of a power surge, your USB ports must be refreshed by uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers. Repeat the uninstall for each device listed under USB controllers in Device Manager, then restart your computer and allow Windows to automatically reinstall the drivers.
Run Microsoft's free Fixit diagnostic tool to diagnose hardware problems.
Tips and warnings
- If the steps above do not solve your problem, contact your manufacturer.
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