Now wait a minute. One of the forum pages I had found (geez I can't find it now) had someone with a similar problem and a different computer and someone asked him what type of motherboard he had and he said it and then he gave him a download location for some stuff to "replace the chipset" but of course it's not the same motherboard as mine so it's not useful to me. So it can't just be synonymous with replacing the motherboard. There is some firmware in there that can be replaced.
At any rate, I proudly say PROBLEM SOLVED (with no help from any of you). The solution? A different forum page told me not merely to disconnect the battery from the motherboard but the POWER as well. Don't just have the battery out. But disconnect the power. Not just have the computer off, but you see, there is of course a capacitor on the output of the power supply which is there to smooth the ripple, but it of course remains charged even after the power is turned off, and short of leaving the computer off for YEARS, you need to disconnect all semblance of power to the motherboard. I have a feeling it would accomplish the same thing to just hold the power button in with the power cord to the back of the computer disconnected, but I left the power inside the computer disconnected from the motherboard for 30 minutes and that's it. It worked again. When the computer started up it said "checksum error, the cpu has been changed, please verify CMOS settings and save" and the USB ports worked again.
So it wasn't drivers, it wasn't failing hardware, it was fixed just with that.
The only problem now is that damn fantom drive may be bad as well. I had it connected to my other computer (oddly enough it worked on it on the second try) and after a few minutes of NOT using it after doing an error check - which mysteriously took 20 times LONGER than it did the first time on the first computer, suddenly a message appeared on my screen telling me the RECYCLE BIN on drive g: (fantom) was corrupted. And the fantom drive was being suspiciously loud. But it passes windows error checker. But my other computer, the laptop, keeps passing windows error checker even though half of it is bad, so I know windows error checker doesn't do a very thorough job.... So do you suppose the fantom drive is bad? I see it takes a damn long time on the desktop computer as well to do the error checker now that USB works again (there isn't even one bar of progress and it should be up to 2 or 3 if it's as fast as that first time).
Edited by thesand4, 06 November 2009 - 01:14 PM.