Why does my USB Not Working

Many a times, when you plug in a Universal Serial Bus (USB) compliant device like a USB mouse, keyboard or even a USB flash drive, either there's no response from the computer or you get a message 'USB Device Not Recognized' along with a popping sound. Why does this happen? Why is the USB not working? There may be many reasons for this to happen, like virus infection, driver, connection or power problem, etc. There are a few ways in which one can rectify this and also avoid encountering this error again in future.

Reasons for USB Ports Not Working

There are five common reasons for USB ports not working in XP. These could also be the causes for USB ports not recognizing devices.

Virus Infection
This is the most common reason behind USB not working. Systems infected by computer viruses, worms, malware or spyware softwares tend to make the user's life miserable by causing these type of troubles. Even if you find that your system is absolutely clean of malicious software, make sure that, if inserting a USB flash drive, it is also void of such infections. Use a licensed and updated antivirus software which not only keeps your system protected but also scans and cleans any external memory device.

Problems With the USB Device Driver
USB driver problem is another very common cause. You may ask why the USB ports stopped working. In reality, there is no trouble with the hardware, but the driver software may have a bug. In computers which have regularly updated anti-virus software, this is the most common cause of a USB device not working. To fix this problem, just follow the most commonly used method of uninstalling and reinstalling the USB driver. For this, go to the device manager by right clicking on the 'My Computer' icon and selecting properties or directly go to the 'Control Panel' by clicking on 'Start' button. In the device manager, select the 'system devices' in which you will see the 'USB root hub'. Right click on it and choose the uninstall option. Now reinstall the driver from the driver CD received with the computer motherboard.

Faulty USB Connecting Cables
If you have a desktop computer, most likely there will be a USB port on the front panel of the cabinet. For this provision, the entire USB card is never relocated to the front side, only extension cables are used to provide a connection at a convenient place. Many a times, a fault may crop up in these extension cables which may lead to the USB not working. Check the connectivity of the cables either yourself by using a multimeter or just call your computer vendor.

Verify Power to the USB Device
There are a few USB devices like high capacity external hard drives which need power to be supplied from an external source. Check if the you have switched on the power and if the supply cables have a proper internal connectivity.

Faulty USB Device
USB devices are normally very delicate and even a small impact can lead to minor faults which in turn may cause malfunctioning of the device. So remember to handle USB devices with utmost care.

But, there may be cases where the above remedies may not come to your rescue. Is that possible? Of course, it is! Even after installing an anti virus software or reinstalling the drivers and doing the remaining checks, you may still find the USB ports not working. There is another crude but the simplest way you can try, which has prove fruitful in most cases. Simply, remove the USB device, shut down the system, unplug the power supply and wait aside for a few minutes and then reboot the system. This is one method you can use if you get the USB flash drive not recognized kind of an error.

What happens in the above method is that when the system is shut down and rebooted, the chip on the motherboard that controls various hardware will reload all the drivers including the USB driver, which now starts recognizing theUSB device.

Read more on:
  • USB Device Not Recognized
  • How does a USB Jump Drive Work
  • USB Flash Drive Recovery
So, the next time you find the USB not working, first try the last remedy. You may not need the other ways to solve this problem.

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