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Seek's avatar

Computer hardware savvy Jellies: Can I fix these malfunctioning USB ports?

Asked by Seek (34714points) January 2nd, 2013

I have a gateway laptop with Windows 8. There are three USB ports: two on the right, one on the left.

The two on the right do not work. Windows says the ports are working, but they’re not. For example: I can plug my corded USB mouse into the left side port, and it works. I plug it into the right front port, and the computer says the device is unrecognizable.

Could this be a driver problem? Or should I have the ports replaced?

And please don’t mention warranty repairs – the last thing I need is to be without a computer for three to four weeks, and then “gifted” with a different, refurbished computer that has none of my programs on it.

Thanks, Jellies!!

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11 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Can you link to the specific laptop? It is quite possible the port on the left is USB 2.0 and the ones on the right are USB 3.0. Or it could be the other way around. By any chance do the female USB plugs have different colors around them?

jrpowell's avatar

Missed the edit window.

But I am going to go to bed soon so I thought I would add that USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 use different drivers. If the device is seen but not recognizable the ports are probably fine and it is a driver issue.

When I wake up I will lecture you about having a bootable back-up since you are having sex without a condom with your computer right now.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s much more likely that microsoft has gotten really confused about whether the ports are in use or not. This happens a lot.

Easiest thing to do:

1) control panel – device manager
2) find the listing for USB Adapter
3) Disable it
4) Turn off machine. Turn on machine
5) Go bafk to control panel/device manager
6) Enable USB adapter

You may need to deintall/reinstall if disable doesn’t work. But that’s just a different button.

It is highly unlikely that this is a hardware problem.

Seek's avatar

@elbanditoroso Disable/Enable failed. In fact I seem to be losing ground as now it doesn’t read the mouse at all, even as “unrecognizable”

Grr… Stupid modern technology

Sarah90's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr @Seek_Kolinahr
You know I have always liked Gateway but ever since they were acquired by Acer.
The quality has gone down the drain (same as when AlienWare was acquired by Dell)
Gateway always had great video cards in their PCs but also had problems with their track-pads being too sensitive

I recently bought a top of the line Gateway and I had problems with not being able to turn on the freaki’ wi-fi adapter. I gave up worrying about it.
All I got from people is instructions of how to turn it on. (That’s like having no power in your home and someone giving you instructions of how to walk up to the wall and flip the white switch to the “ON” position.

I’m presently using my brand new Sony Vaio powerbook that I got for Xmas.
I believe it has something to do with Windows 8. It appears they were not able to work out all the bugs.
I have read several comments from people having hardware problems and having to update/re-install the BIOS or drivers.

Response moderated (Spam)
Deshi_basara's avatar

USB 3.0 slots will read 2.0 devices….

It may be a driver issue, Go to the device manager (havent messed with 8 yet, but if you still have the “my computer” menu option or icon right click it and choose manage, then in the new window find “device manager”). From there find your USB slots, right click, “update driver software”, then follow the wizard.

They might be dead. EVERYTHING has a failure rate. in which case, take it to where it was purchased and have them fix it.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of end users that make the argument you made. Computer systems are not perfect, and when things get messed up to a certain point it needs to be understood that a machine the preforms well is more valuable than “your programs” which can all be reinstalled.

Seek's avatar

@Deshi_basara The “argument” is simply that I find it less convenient to be out of a computer for weeks at a time than it is to use a USB hub on the one that functions until I can figure out how to fix the two that don’t.

And I’ve tried updating the drivers. Windows insists they’re up to date and accurate.

Deshi_basara's avatar

I agree with that sentiment. It would be more convenient, but at this juncture I cannot agree with @elbanditoroso; I believe is it more of a physical issue.
But to cover some bases here; you have a working USB device (such to the caliber of a flashdrive, not a routing hub) that you can use to make sure that the port is not working correct? I mean by this, take said flash drive, plug it into the working port, establish that it does in fact work and read, then take it out of that port and plug the exact same device into the other ports to establish that they do not work. If this is true, then you’ve already moved passed steps 2 and 3 with the enable/disable and driver update. The next step would be to make sure that it is physically attached. If so then I have no other reason to believe that it is anything but a bad port that the OS cannot detect for some reason.
Perhaps this is because it is a motherboard attached USB drive and since one attached drive is working, the OS believes them all to be working

If you want you can try to re-establish the connection yourself. (assuming it isnt attached to the motherboard permanently [though I’m sure it is]). Turn it off, unscrew the bottom screws (under the rubber feet), pop it in half and push firmly on all the cables/wires/connectors to be user they are all firmly seated.
Why was argument in parenthesis? Are you trying to say that it is not a statement to establish a point using reasons on why something is right or wrong? Because I believe it is.
As previously stated, I agree that being without your machine for a few weeks can be a pain. The part I was referring to was:

“and then “gifted” with a different, refurbished computer that has none of my programs on it.”
But I guess my original comment was clear enough for some. ~shrug~

Seek's avatar

Well, as to the last bit, I’m more concerned about “different” and “refurbished” than I am about the programs. Reinstalling stuff is a minor inconvenience, but ending up with a new computer that may have a whole host of problems my current machine does not, that worries me. And apart from this rather minor USB thing, my computer runs beautifully.

Deshi_basara's avatar

Refurbished machines go through testing that is more extensive and invasive than first run equipment honestly. Otherswise companies would run a huge risk with PR reselling known bad products.

I’m also sorry for the way I come off. I tend to be rather blunt and seem aggressive or pushy. I don’t mean to be, it’s just how I talk =/

But yeah, It may be the the ports had a botched solder job. It happens. They might replace the motherboard, but if they do it will be the same model. No company would replace more than they need to on a warrenty job. Outside of the down time, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Not even a program install as I doubt highly that they would replace your hard drive if they didnt have to.

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