What To Do When Your USB Port Is Not Working

Kenny Trinh Updated on May 11, 2020
What To Do When Your USB Port Is Not Working

Your USB (Universal Serial Bus) port allows your computer to communicate and connect with external devices. This means your computer can access devices like cameras, a mouse, keyboards, smartphones, and ay device that is USB compatible. 

But there are times when your device gets disconnected from your computer. There could be something wrong with your device but the most likely cause is that your USB port has some hardware or software issues.

Things to do when your USB port isn’t working

If you do happen to experience problems with your USB port, you might want to try the steps listed below. They are essentially quick fixes that can solve most of the issues you’re having.

1. Remove and reconnect your USB/USB cable

Sometimes the simplest approach is the best one. Removing and reconnecting your device usually solves this problem. But if you experience this problem again multiple times, then there must be something wrong with your USB port itself or there could be software issues with your PC.

2. Check your USB port

To make sure that it isn’t a software issue, remove your device and insert it into another port. If it works, then it’s a good sign that you have a problem with a specific port. Do this with your remaining USB ports as well to check if the other ports have issues as well.

Once you’ve confirmed that its not a software issue, then there is a possibility that your USB port could be damaged or there could be some obstructions inside the port. Maybe a piece of plastic or small debris is lodged inside the USB port.

You can use needles, toothpicks or even a hairpuller to try to pull out the object. But if it really stuck you should call a professional or use better tools. When you’re done clearing the debris, you should clean the USB port. 

We don’t advise using a brush since you might damage the inside of the port. You should instead use canned air or an air duster to blow away the dirt. This prevents debris from building up and prolongs the lifetime of your USB port itself. 

Now if you discover that the USB cable is loose, then there might be broken connections inside the port. 

Since you are using a laptop, we really advise that you call a computer technician right away and have them fix the port for you. Many of a laptop’s parts are integrated or simply hard to remove which is why you need a professional to do it for you. In a worst-case scenario, the technician might have to replace your USB port entirely.

3. Update your device drivers

If there’s nothing wrong with your USB port physically then it could just be your drivers. Go to the device manager and search for “Universal Serial Bus Controllers”. Right-click on “Universal Serial Bus Controllers” and click “scan for hardware changes”. 

If you’re lucky your computer will update the drivers and your USB port will now work. You can also use external programs like Driver Booster to automatically update your driver for you. It saves you the trouble of having to do it yourself and having to deal with malfunctioning USB ports.

4. Disable USB Selective Suspend Settings

Your laptop has settings that help conserve their battery’s power. Unfortunately, this can cause problems with some windows features. 

One such setting is the USB selective suspend setting. When this setting is turned on it cuts the power supply to your USB cord.

You can disable this setting by going to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Power Options. In Power Options, search and click on Change Plan Settings and then click Change Advanced Power Settings.

Scroll down and you’ll see the USB selective suspend setting. Click and disable it.

Your laptop USB ports should work fine after this.

5. Uninstall and reinstall your USB devices

If updating your drivers doesn’t work, then you should reinstall them. The process is similar to the previous step. Go to device manager and search for “Universal Serial Bus Controllers”. Right-click the USB controllers under “Universal Serial Bus Controllers” and uninstall and reinstall them one by one. 

I advise uninstalling and reinstalling the USB controllers with exclamation marks on them. It’s usually a sign that there’s something wrong with it.

By reinstalling your USB controllers, you are removing fatal errors that could prevent it from working properly. Hopefully, after this, your USB port will finally work. 

6. Restart your laptop

If all of the methods mentioned above fail, then you might want to restart your computer or turn it off and then turn it on again at a later time

Restarting your computer is a common fix for most problems since it works! Many applications that leave behind electric footprints get restarted, errors like your USB port not working can be fixed and most of your computer problems will be wiped away leaving you with a clean slate.

In the unlikely event that your USB port is still not working, then you can try the last resort method mentioned below.

7. Update your PC

The last method you should do is to update your PC. Although they’re very annoying, updating your laptop’s OS is very important. Most updates contain crucial patches that strengthen security while also solving a plethora of bugs that your computer could have.

Who knows, one of these bugs might be the reason why your USB ports aren’t working.

Windows will periodically update your PC but there are cases where it fails to do so. This will often cause problems with your PC and we advise you to manually or force your laptop to update.

You can do this by going to Settings, search and click for Updates & Security and search for the Windows Updates tab. You should see an option to update your windows called “Check for Updates”. Clicking on this will usually prompt your computer to download Windows updates.

This is the last method because it is the most time-consuming. But just like restarting your computer, it can fix most problems such as your USB port not working.

Conclusion

In the end, your USB ports malfunctioning is caused by faulty hardware, malfunctioning software or a combination of both. Following the solutions above should fix your laptop’s USB ports. Try to follow them in ascending order since the first solutions aren’t as time-consuming as the others. 

If you’ve followed all the solutions above and it still doesn’t work, then we advise calling a professional. The problem could be bigger than you think.

Kenny Trinh
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Building his first desktop at the age of 10, start coding at 14 years old, Kenny knows a thing or two when it comes to finding a good laptop and he aims to share everything he knows. Current go-to laptop: Apple Macbook Air 2019.

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