How to Enable Some Ports Disabled on My Laptop

Written by ruri ranbe
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How to Enable Some Ports Disabled on My Laptop
A computer won't recognise USB devices if the USB ports are disabled in the BIOS. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The basic input/output system (BIOS) determines which hardware components on your computer run at start-up. Users can reconfigure the BIOS to enable or disable certain components, including USB controllers, mouse ports, parallel ports and serial ports. If a port is disabled in the BIOS, the operating system will fail to detect a device connected to that port. To re-enable disabled ports, access the BIOS menu at start-up and change the settings for each component.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Turn on or restart the computer. Press the "Pause/Break" key when the boot logo appears to freeze the screen.

  2. 2

    Read the on-screen message to ascertain which key should be pressed to enter system set-up. Press "Pause/Break" to unfreeze the screen.

  3. 3

    Press the set-up key identified in the preceding step to load the BIOS menu. Use the directional pad to select the "Integrated Peripherals" or "Onboard Devices" menu.

  4. 4

    Use the arrow keys to highlight "USB" or "USB Controllers." Press the "+" and "-" keys to change the USB port settings to "Enabled."

  5. 5

    Scroll to "Parallel Port" or "LPT Port Mode." Use the "+" and "-" keys to enable the parallel port and set the mode as "SPP," "EPP," "ECP" or "EPP+ECP."

  6. 6

    Highlight "Serial Port." Use the "+" and "-" keys to change the setting to "Auto," "COM1" or "COM3."

  7. 7

    Select "Mouse Port." Use the "+" and "-" keys to change the option to "Enabled."

  8. 8

    Press "Esc" and use the directional pad to select "Save and Exit" from the menu. Press "Enter" to save your changes and quit system set-up.

Tips and warnings

  • New laptops don't come with a serial or parallel port and therefore won't offer these options in the BIOS.
  • The set-up of the BIOS varies from one computer to another. Review the owner's manual for your motherboard or browse the computer manufacturer's website for more assistance, if necessary.

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