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Troubleshooting and Fault Resolution Guide - Motherboard USB not Working

written by: Steve McFarlane•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/27/2010

This article explains possible reasons why motherboard USB ports are not working and how to solve the problem.

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    Is your motherboard USB not working?

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    Universal Serial Bus (USB) allow for interfacing with the computer through an easily accessible port. USB ports support nearly every computer peripheral on the market today, including printers, modems and removable storage media. So when the motherboard USB ports are not working it can cause much inconvenience to computer users.

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    Reasons for USB Failure

    The Universal Serial Bus can develop issues for a number of reasons; some issues can be software based, while others are a result of a hardware failure. In some cases, USB hubs can be used to provide additional hub ports when other ports have failed, but if one or more USB ports aren’t working, here are some possible causes and how they can be resolved.

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    Disabled in the BIOS

    The USB ports may be disabled in the BIOS (basic input output system).

    How to fix this problem – The BIOS has critical settings that will affect how the computer functions, if it functions at all. Therefore much care needs to be taken when changing settings there. In some cases, reloading the BIOS defaults can be used as a recovery method, if the settings are really messed up, but the computer is unlikely to run at an optimal level if certain key settings are not optimized.

    The BIOS can be accessed by pressing the F2, or F10 function key just moments after the computer is turned on. However, the BIOS access method may vary between motherboards. The motherboard documentation may need to be consulted to find the right access key. Once in the BIOS, verify that the USB function is enabled, save the settings and exit the BIOS

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    Motherboard Fault

    The motherboard USB may not be working because of a fault with the motherboard. This can be an internal fault or it could be Trouble Shooting Guide - Motherboard USB not Working caused by physical damage to one or all of the USB ports.

    How to fix this problem – In most cases this problem cannot be cost effectively resolved without replacing the motherboard. However, some users have solved this kind of issue by re-soldering the ports onto the board. In most cases a new board will need to be installed.

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    Operating System and Driver Trouble

    A common reason for USB failure is missing or corrupted drivers. Evidence of the problem can usually be seen in the Device Manager itself, where the USB drive is listed with a yellow exclamation sign beside a “Universal Serial Bus Host controller,” or “USB root hub.”

    In some cases where the USB feature is turned off from the BIOS, or the OS can’t find a USB hub, nothing will be listed for the USB in the Device Manager.

    How to fix this problem – Assuming that the hardware component of the USB interface is OK, re-installing the USB drivers or updating old drivers can usually resolve this problem.

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    While USB ports can fail for a number of reasons, the cause of the problem could be hardware or software based.

    To troubleshoot and resolve the problem, users may have to resolve the issue in the BIOS, in the Operating System or if all else fails, buy a new motherboard.


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