More and more our world is introducing gadgets that are becoming the backbone of our society. Nowadays, it’s near impossible to imagine living without smartphones, laptops, desktops, and countless other devices. So of course, powering these devices so that they continue to perform well has become very crucial. USB ports allow you to be able to connect to other devices and accessories, so are essential!
USB Ports can stop working for many reasons. Physical blockage by dust can be fixed using compressed air. Hardware/software issues around drivers can be checked and fixed in the device’s settings menus. Physically loose or damaged ports should be taken to a repair shop for professional repair.
So if your USB port is suddenly not working, you shouldn’t panic. Let’s explore how you can know when your USB is not working, why it might not be working, and the different methods you can use to repair it.
How to Know if your USB Port is Working
When you suspect that your USB port is not working, the first thing you need to do is confirm that it is actually the USB port that is the problem and not an issue with the device itself. So, plug something in, and if it doesn’t work you now need to plug something else in to see if it’s the port that’s broken, or the device you’re plugging into it.
Why do USB Ports Stop Working?
USB devices, just like any electrical device, can stop working at unexpected times. Sometimes you can fix the problem, but other times you’re going to have to throw in the towel and figure how how to get your device repaired professionally.
There are several reasons why a USB port may stop working:
- There is a possibility that your USB port has some kind of obstruction, causing physical blockage in the port. You can clean this out with tweezers or, to make sure you don’t accidentally scrath anything important, try to blow it out with canned air like ths Falcon Dust (on Amazon).
- Your USB port not working could be due to an issue with your operating system or drivers, making the computer unable to detect the USB cable when connected. Fixing this is a bit more involved, requiring you to reserach how to check drivers and get into your devices internal hardware settings. Not impossible, but a little intimidating.
- The USB port can also become loose, due to stress caused by the weight of some USB cables. This is a hardware issue that really requires you to know what you’re doing to fix. You may ne to re-solder the port to the motherboard or something that you’d need some practice with.
- The USB Selective Suspend feature could be on. Windows has a power-conservation strategy of putting a port that is not being used on “low power”, but it should not affect active ports. If you notice the port only works when you are plugged into a power outlet too, then that’s a quick way to tell this may be your issue. Fix it in the energy and battery-use settings.
How to Fix USB Ports that Aren’t Working
There are so many ways that you can potentially fix a USB port that is not working. Just make sure to check whether the USB port has started working after trying each method, before moving on to the next one.
Method One: Fixing Physical Problems
Checking the port visually should be the first thing you do once you notice that your USB port is not working. Shut down your PC or laptop. Look at whether your port is clean, has some trapped dust inside, or has some kind of obstruction.
If there is an obstruction, gently remove it. Dirt can be removed by using a vacuum or compressed air. The dust or debris reduces airflow, causing overheating, which reduces performance.
USB ports are soldered to a motherboard or a secondary printed circuit board. If the port happens to be loose, the method for fixing this will depend on whether your device is a desktop or a laptop.
When the device is a desktop, you can get a replacement board which you can easily slot in. If the USB port is for a laptop, it is advised to contact an expert; but if you are confident that you can do it, solder on. If you want to try out a few more methods before attempting this, check out software fixes first.
Method Two: Try Restarting Your Computer
A simple reboot can do wonders. Remove your USB device, restart your computer, reconnect your device and see if the USB port recognizes it. If it does, then your problem is solved; if not, then check the device manager.
Restarting your computer will be the simplest method to repair a USB port that is not working, and it could save you a lot of headaches.
Method Three: Scan for Hardware Changes Using the Device Manager
The device manager helps you know whether a device on the system is working as it should and gives you a way to fix it.
- Click on the Start menu, and then click on Device Manager. If you do not know where your Device Manager is, then type devmgmt.MSc into your Run or Search box, and the Device Manager should open.
- In the Device Manager, double click on the Universal Serial Bus controllers, and you’ll see a list of your USB ports.
- Right-click on the USB ports and click on “Properties,” and a prompt “This device is working properly” should appear. If this prompt does not appear, then you should click on “Update Driver.”
- The update will take roughly three minutes, and your port will be ready to use.
If the port is still not working, then try the next method.
Method Four: Uninstall the Universal Serial Bus controllers
- Click on the Start menu, and then Device Manager. If you do not know where your Device Manager is, then type control panel or devmgmt. MSc into your Run or Search box, and the Device Manager will open.
- In the Device Manager, double click Universal Serial Bus controllers, and you will see a list of your USB ports.
- Right-click on each USB port listed under Universal Serial Bus controllers, and uninstall it.
- Restart your computer, automatically scan for any hardware changes you have made, and reinstall all the uninstalled USB controllers.
- You can now connect your device and check whether the USB port is working.
Method Five: Check the Power Management
Windows has a way of saving power by switching off your USB controllers when not in use and switching them back on when needed. But, sometimes, it forgets to switch them back on. It would be best to correct this by:
- Clicking on the Start menu, and then clicking on Device Manager. If you do not know where your Device Manager is, then type control panel or devmgmt.MSc on your Run or Search box, and the Device Manager will open.
- In Device Manager, double click Universal Serial Bus controllers, and you’ll see a list of your USB ports.
- Right-click on every USB controller listed under Universal Serial Bus controllers, and click on the Power Management tab.
- Then uncheck the “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” option, and click okay.
Method Six: Disable USB Selective Suspend
- Go to Control Panel and click on Power plan.
- Under Power plan, click Change plan setting, then Change advanced power settings.
- Then click on USB settings, then USB Selective Suspend setting, and finally click Disable.
What to Do if You Can’t Fix a USB Port
So what can you do when you have tried all the methods above, and your USB port is still not working? You have two options: check whether you are still under warranty and return it or look for a shop that you can repair it at.
If you have two ports and one is broken, maybe consider buying a USB hub. A USB hub is a device with several ports available to connect to a host system. This USB 3.0 Hub (on Amazon) is a good USB hub to consider.