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USB ports stopped working


stuck
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A while ago one of the two USB ports on my ancient (1998, self built) PC stopped working, i.e. if I plugged my USB stick into it nothing happened but if I used the other one everything was OK. I put this down to yet another one of the many quirks of this PC (It runs Win98FE plus all the patches plus various other unofficial tweaks picked up via this forum) and didn’t investigate. Yesterday the second USB port stopped working, so now I can’t use my USB stick at all. The stick is fine, it works perfectly in at least two other PC, one running Win98SE and another running Win2K.

I doubt very much it is bad connections within the USB ports because the ports are on the back of the box so there is an extension cable plugged in. The cable is OK, it works fine on other PCs. Also, the extension was not frequently pulled in & out of either port, it stayed plugged into one (until it failed) and then it was moved to the other. Nor was the connection to either of the USB ports strained, pulled or bent in any way.

My repair attempts so far have been:

1) Reinstall the dedicated driver for the USB stick, no luck.

2) Remove the dedicated driver and try a generic driver USB driver for Win98FE, no luck.

3) Remove the USB controller (in Device Manager), some luck. Win98 ‘found new hardware’ and reinstalled the USB controller, implying the hardware is not at fault since Win98 could ‘see’ it but although the dedicated driver then installs with no error, the USB stick still doesn’t work.

4) The nuclear option, delete the primary partition and reinstall Win 98 from scratch (no big deal really because all the data & key application profiles are on a separate partition), similar effect to removing the USB controller, i.e. Win98 detects the USB ports and installs the controller, the dedicated driver installs with no error but the USB stick still doesn’t work.

Is it possible for USB ports to fail like that? Work at a low level such that Win98 can detect them but not at a higher level that allows to actually function?

stuck

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try to check on different computer if your Usb stick works. If yes problem can be in its software driver. Try other USB device. Something simple such as mouse. If the mouse works the problem could be in driver of your Usb stick... Sometimes the devices are being detected as "unknown device" and system stores this setting for them and it is quite complicated to force it to use correct driver.

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Like I said in my original post:

>The stick is fine, it works perfectly in at least two other PC, one running Win98SE and another running Win2K

I've not got any other USB devices to try out but given that, as I said in my original post:

>4) The nuclear option, delete the primary partition and reinstall Win 98 from scratch (no big deal really because all the data & key application profiles are on a separate partition), similar effect to removing the USB controller, i.e. Win98 detects the USB ports and installs the controller, the dedicated driver installs with no error but the USB stick still doesn’t work.

I don't think it is a driver issue

Do USB ports have fuses? IF so would a blown fuse give this sort of behaviour, where Windows finds the hardware but nothing works when you plug it in?

I'm going to do more Googling....

stuck

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Check this out: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/windows.../39025.aspx?p=2

Though I said that Windows will reinstall the drivers, I did some more research. Results: Re-install from Chipeset CD. If it is an Intel Chipset, I recommend downloading Intel Chipset Info bundle from the Intel site. This package identifies and directs Windows to install correct drivers for all its resources. I can't recall the link to the Intel Chipset Info bundle, but you can get it by typing in the same thing at Intel.com.

If the ports do not work even after reinstallation from the Chipset CD, they are dead. You'll have to replace them.

--

Best Regards,

DreamsCentral

Twitter: @DreamsCentral

Signed: Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 4:28:22 PM IST

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I don't think it is a driver issue
I think you are right.
USB ports have fuses? IF so would a blown fuse give this sort of behaviour, where Windows finds the hardware but nothing works when you plug it in?

I'm going to do more Googling....

stuck

No fuses on USB ports I think but the idea is good. I suspect that you have no power on your USB ports. You could test this by:

- measure directly with a multimeter if you have one.

- try a usb light, ventilator or something that just needs power

- try a powered hub or USB device with his own power

And check your voltages with software or in the BIOS. You could also open the computer and check the mainboard for damage like brown spots or leaking caps. If you have a power problem then it could be serious and it's better to be save.

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This sounds to me like a hardware issue, like the connectors are damaged, solder is cracked or similar mechanical fault. I've had this happen with on-the-MB USB connectors, so it's not unknown. All the card pulling/replacing and driver installing does no good if the connectors themselves are buggered. USB cards are cheap to replace these days, like $10-15, get one with an NEC chipset and you'll be golden. Those are about the only ones I've found that you can get the spec'd power out of. VIAs suck.

Stan

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This sound quite similar to a WinME unit I worked on some time ago. The built in USB functioned erratically, then failed completely. The problem was a hardware failure, apparently a component failure. It wasn't a damaged connector or solder joint so I couldn't repair it.

My 98FE unit had 2 factory USB ports. I needed more so I installed a Stratitec 5 port USB card, quite cheap at the local WalMart. It came with Orangeware 2.0 drivers, which do work on 98FE after installing them manually. Between the Orangeware drivers and NUSB98FE 3.20 , every USB device I've tried has worked properly. A new USB card and drivers are a very worthwhile upgrade to a 98FE unit if you want to use modern USB devices, even if you do get the original USB connectors working.

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... The nuclear option, delete the primary partition and reinstall Win 98 from scratch (no big deal really because all the data & key application profiles are on a separate partition), similar effect to removing the USB controller, i.e. Win98 detects the USB ports and installs the controller, the dedicated driver installs with no error but the USB stick still doesn’t work.

I don't think it is a driver issue ...

Well, since this is Win9x, live experimentation is nice and easy because you can copy SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT somewhere and replace their later possibly FUBAR versions from DOS for a perfect 100% registry rollback. The only other thing that needs to be done is get a complete filelist so that you can manually compare it to a later one for rolling them back as well. Now you can play in device manager and with USB driver packages all you want with the guaranteed ability to restore the system exactly to a previous state. This is not easy on Windows later than WinME.

But there is a sure way to rule out the driver as having disabled the port. This is what I do when a computer hits my shop with an apparent defective port, be it Parallel, Serial, PS/2 or USB, that cannot be repaired by normal methods. Note that this method is to avoid blasting away a working system drive! ...

  • (1) Grab a spare HDD like 10, 20 40 GB whatever. Drive contents are expendable. Remove the working drive, install the spare.
    (2) Double check the BIOS so that everything is enabled (reset to default or even shorting the reset jumpers or removing the battery for a few minutes to clear the CMOS might be in order here).
    (3) Boot with a Windows setup disc, I usually grab WinXP SP2 (USB issues were pretty much ironed out at this point), if that's impossible SP1, or SP0, or Win2K or maybe WinME might be OK as a last resort. Now do a full and clean install. Finally test the ports! If they cannot be seen here they are likely blown (or a pair are blown). At this point I just grab a $9 USB (or whatever) card and just fix it.
    (4) If the ports are working ok here, I grab a copy of the registry and use that in my detective work later to repair the possible registry discrepancies. In your case, you should probably now grab the Win98se disc and install that next on the spare drive, try to get the ports working and if successful grab the registry and files (slave it later if necessary) and repair what you now know is Port Death by Windows.

When you are satisfied that you have the answer just reverse (1) and voila, no harm has befallen the working system disk. When I have a customer's computer, blasting their system is just not an option naturally.

BTW, perhaps a Linux live CD can check this as well (I have not tried this since I have plenty of drives and Windows discs). And there are some really low level tools like HwInfo that boot from a floppy that might now have USB testing.

FWIW, I believe the OS port drivers, particularly USB can disable the power and data lines to effectively kill the port. So the whole point of this method is to see if the motherboard parts are recognized and utilized by a completely independent version of Windows that is completely untainted by any user tweaks, BIOS or otherwise.

EDIT: doh! ... defective <> detective :wacko:

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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Windows seeing the ports and installing the driver doesn't prove the hardware is sound. Windows wouldn't detect a burnt output buffer for instance.

Usb ports have fuses in the form of silicon circuitry that disconnects the power to the load if the loads tries to draw too much (=500mA with a normal port). No damage. The port automatically restarts when you disconnect the load or restart the computer.

Did you have a look with UsbView?

And yes, never throw away your old hard disk drives, use them for experimental installations!

Or else, copy your Win installation Cd on them: faster than the Cd. You can have an Ms-Dos boot on the Hdd, then a volume or folder for W95b, for W98se, for WinMe, for the drivers, for urgent applications...

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