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What to Do When Your USB Ports Are Not Working

USB Ports Not Working?: Here's What to Do

Are your USB ports not working? Don't panic. This is a common issue that can be fixed. Read on to learn what to do when this happens.


TherUSB port troubleshootinge's nothing like troubleshooting computer problems on your own. Ideally, we'd like to have access to tech support 24/7, but sometimes you're going to need to handle things on your own.

USB ports are pretty important for basic computer functions. Imagine if you couldn't plug in a mouse or use a USB drive for important files.

Because they're so important, it's easy to feel anxious when you see that some USB ports aren't working.

Don't panic if you're having problems with USB ports not working. We're going to give you a handy guide on how to easily troubleshoot USB problems.

How To Handle USB Ports Not Working

Before we get started, we want to make sure that you're in the right place to start troubleshooting.

Be sure to save anything you're working on before you start. You never know what will happen, and you don't want to lose anything important.

Also, take some time to shut down any applications running on your computer. You never know if something you're running is causing issues.

You may also want to consider using a USB adapter if you're having problems with getting your computer to read your USB.

After you're set, take some time to try out these simple troubleshooting methods.

Restart Your Computer

There's a reason why turning your computer off and on is a cliche in the tech support world: sometimes it can legitimately work.

Your computer is working hard on a lot of different things. Sometimes taking a break and resetting everything can be what you need to make ports function again.

Give your computer a few minutes to rest. When you restart again, plug something into the USB port to see if it can work.

Clean Your Ports

Most USB ports don't have covers that can protect them from dirt and debris. It's pretty easy for particulate matter to get inside of ports, especially if your work area is cluttered.

Before you take a look or stick anything inside the port, turn your computer off to be safe.

A thin, small, plastic or wooden stick like a toothpick can help you pick out things if you're in a pinch. Be careful if you choose to physically dig around ports, you don't want to accidentally scratch something.

Ideally, you'd want to use compressed air. It's much safer, and it can help keep your keyboard clean.

Check Your Port Connections

After you've made sure that your ports don't have debris, make sure it's still securely connected. It isn't uncommon for USB ports to have issues because of a loose or broken internal connection.

An easy way to test for this is to insert a USB device and gently wiggle it. If you notice that the devices connect and disconnects, there could be a problem with the USB port.

If you notice a loose USB port you may be able to fix it on your own, but it may be best to have a professional take a look at it.

Check The Device

USB ports can get dirty and damaged, and so can the USB devices you're trying to plug in.

After you've checked your port, it's time to take a close look at the USB device you're trying to insert.

Check to see if it's clean or if you notice any dust or dirt on it. A little rubbing alcohol can help remove anything that shouldn't be on it.

Also, make sure that the part you stick into the port is firmly attached to the rest of the device. Ports can become loose, and the same problem can happen with the device.

Try Different Ports

Do you have more than one USB port on your computer? Use other ports to test your devices and your system.

If your device can work when it's plugged in a different port, you know that the other port may have a physical problem that needs to be fixed.

If all of your USB ports are unresponsive, it could be a physical problem or a problem with your computer's software.

Try Different Devices

You may be in luck; the problem may have nothing to do with ports and may be with what you're trying to plug in.

Try putting different devices in USB ports. Use different kinds of devices, don't just stick to USB sticks or a computer mouse to properly test it.

If you notice that other devices can work in the port, the issue is with the device you're trying to use.

Plug Devices Into Different Computers

If it seems like the device you're trying to use is having problems, try to plug it into another computer.

You never know why devices are having problems. There could be a bad connection in the port or in the device. There could be a software issue on your computer that's causing problems with the device.

If the device works well in other computers, your problem is with the port.

Update Your System

Do you have a few system updates waiting to go through?

Software changes can easily affect the way your computer reads USB devices. If you're having USB problems install any software updates you've been putting off.

Do you not notice alerts for software updates? It's possible that you've accidentally postponed or hid it. Do a quick search for your latest OS online and make sure that you're up to date.

(Windows Only) Check Out Your Device Manager

Have you tried some of the more simple potential fixes? It's time to dig a little deeper in Device Manager.

Right click on the name of your computer, and then left click on scan for hardware changes.

When you tell your computer to scan for hardware, you're essentially forcing it to take stock of all the hardware that's currently in use. If you're lucky, the scan will help detect the USB.

Next Steps

USB ports not working can be frustrating, but they can be easy enough to troubleshoot.

Have you done everything in this post and are still having issues with your device or your part? Maybe we can help.

Contact us with any USB questions you may have.

And remember, we have any and all USB products you need. Browse our selection and pick something that works for you.