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What to Do When Your USB Device Doesn’t Work?

Here are a few tips what to do, if you are wondering what could possibly be wrong with your computer when you cannot get your USB device to work.

Something is obviously broken, but you have no idea if it is the computer or the device; is it hardware or software problem? Let’s try to fix it together!

The first thing you need to do is to eliminate the obvious – unplug the USB and then plug it again. Is the problem fixed?

No? Well, then, unplug it one more time, reboot your computer, then plug the USB again.
Is that helpful? You may also try with another port! Still not working? This seems to be a persistent problem, so we may just move on to more serious tests.

You can try to run the USB on another computer or try a different device on the same PC.
In case the device does not work on either machine, you can be certain that the device is defective. A driver update is worth trying. USB devices supposedly install their own drivers as soon as the user plugs them in a computer, but sometimes this doesn’t work.
You can check for available Windows driver on the manufacturer’s webpage. In case you find one – download and install it.

If this still doesn’t solve the problem, you may have to make peace with the fact that your device is defective. In case you have just purchased it, try to get your money back. Just don’t forget the receipt!
So, the device is working perfectly fine on another PC, but not on your own, but other devices work just fine on your computer? Well, in this case, try to install the driver.

If this is not working either, or in case all the devices fail to function on your PC, it is obvious that the problem is in your machine. The question remains – is this a software or hardware problem?

You can try to reinstall the USB port drivers. This is how you can do it:

  • Make a restore point, just in case. Open the Start menu and type “restore point” in the Search field. Then select “Create a restore point”.
  • All running programs need to be closed.
  • Start the Device Manager by typing “device” in the Star menu’s Search field. Then select Device Manager.
  • In the Device Manager, move to the Universal Serial Bus Controllers section.
  • Select Uninstall by right-clicking the first listing. Repeat for each of the others.
  • When you are finished you can reboot. The driver reinstallation will be started automatically.

Keep in mind, that in case you use external mouse and keyboard, when you uninstall one of the USB devices, your PC may freeze. To fix this, you should reboot your computer manually.

In case none of the above mentioned suggestions is working, you may be facing a defective USB port. At this point, you should bring your computer to professionals.


Berta Bilbao

Berta is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space. Her fascination with IT security began a few years ago when a malware locked her out of her own computer.

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