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Laptop usb ports not working


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#1 Bill_in_Texas

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:21 AM

My wife has a Toshiba Satellite laptop purchased late 2011 with four usb ports.  Only one is working now and this apparently started this week as she performs a doc backup on Monday mornings and the port she uses worked last Monday but not today. We have tested them all, uninstalled them and had Win 7 re-install after restarting  and still nothing on three of them. We have tried several devices to assure it's not a particular device.  They show to be working properly in the device manager.  Any ideas?



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#2 zingo156

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:46 AM

Visually inspect all of the USB ports on the computer. Do any of the ports look damaged? A shorted usb port with damaged pins can cause other ports to function incorrectly or to stop working all together. If all of the ports look ok, boot to safe mode: with the computer off, immediatly after pressing the power button begin tapping F8 on your keyboard, when the boot options menu comes up, use your arrow keys to select "boot to safe mode with networking" hit enter. In safe mode plug in your usb devices and see if they work there.


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#3 Bill_in_Texas

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:49 AM

Ok I inspected and all the ports appear to be in good order.  I then restarted in safe mode and they still wouldn't work.  Thanks for you help.



#4 zingo156

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:59 AM

If you can burn a cd I would recommend making a bootable linux disc: http://puppylinux.org/main/Overview%20and%20Getting%20Started.htm

 

Boot to the disc by tapping F12 after powering on and select the dvd drive. Then test your usb devices there. If they do not work in linux, it is a hardware issue. Have you tested those usb devices on a different computer? If you have and they work, it is hardware related (something in the laptop itself) that is causing the issue.

 

There are some built in devices that can cause usb problems such as: the built in touch pad, the webcam, etc. All of these things would require taking the computer apart to disconnect. If you can take it apart yourself disconnect the touchpad, webcam, and keyboard. Then test usb devices again. Make sure if you take the computer apart, to disconnect the power cord and remove the battery.


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#5 Bill_in_Texas

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 11:12 AM

Yes they do work on another machine and they also work in the one good port on the laptop.



#6 zingo156

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 11:17 AM

It is very likely hardware related, to rule out software for certain, boot to a linux disc and then retest all the usb ports. If they still do not work, you will know for certain it is a hardware problem.


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#7 Bill_in_Texas

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 11:26 AM

Thanks, I'll give that a try.



#8 Bill_in_Texas

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 01:36 PM

Well they didn't work in Linux either so I guess a hardware issue.  Thanks again.



#9 mjd420nova

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 07:22 PM

Loads of laptops suffer from the USB blues where the connections, on the laptop and the connector get pushed and tweaked enough to push the small connection points out of contact.  Some suffer even more damage to the circuitry and PCB holding the connectors when the get jammed or yanked.  Using external fans, lights, even the cooling pads can draw more current than the circuit can handle.  It might not smoke but would get hot.  External devices requiring external power but don't have an AC adapter will draw from the USB port and that leads to problems.  Best approach is to use a USB powered hub to support those needing it and not relying on the laptop or even a desktop to provide power.



#10 Bill_in_Texas

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 07:51 PM

Loads of laptops suffer from the USB blues where the connections, on the laptop and the connector get pushed and tweaked enough to push the small connection points out of contact.  Some suffer even more damage to the circuitry and PCB holding the connectors when the get jammed or yanked.  Using external fans, lights, even the cooling pads can draw more current than the circuit can handle.  It might not smoke but would get hot.  External devices requiring external power but don't have an AC adapter will draw from the USB port and that leads to problems.  Best approach is to use a USB powered hub to support those needing it and not relying on the laptop or even a desktop to provide power.

I have a hub that could be used in the good port that is left.  It's just strange that 3 of the 4 went within the past week.  Probably better to buy a new one than pay to get this one fixed I would think.  Since she does regular backup it's almost better to buy them to throw away in a couple of years.  Thanks for the input.



#11 mjd420nova

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 11:14 PM

I service a few LTs a week and this is not an uncommon problem and  not confined to any one mfgr.  It used to be that if you needed superior connections, you had to pay good money but the fact is that if connectors and cables are mated, secured that way and not touched for a year, the cheapest will do a great job.  The minute you begin to plug and unplug from the port multiple times a day,  even the best cable will fail and the port connectors soldered to the MOBO will become loose and fail to make good connections.  Those power connections will become worse when more than minimal current is drawn and things heat up making the connection worse and a cascade results in failure, sometimes smoke signals.   You would not believe the number of things(junk) users have plugged into the USB port to power them. 



#12 Bill_in_Texas

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 08:42 AM

Thanks for the commentary mjd420nova.  I have looked at laptops online and I think we will go less expensive this time and just replace her machine instead of repairing it.  I originally bought this machine for myself to be portable with a residential design program so the i5 processor and 6 gb ram were necessary I thought.  She doesn't need that.






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