USB ports are generally designed to autoconfigure and function without the intervention of the user. However, there’s a number of factors that could lead to the malfunctioning of USB ports in Windows. Below are few ways to troubleshoot and resolve such problems in Windows 7, 8, and 10.
Here I’m assuming you have a working USB stick or other USB devices but when you connect to the USB port on your PC then it doesn’t show up in your computer folder.
The following solutions are presented in the order of complexity, so you don’t waste time trying some complicated fix when actually a few clicks could solve your problem.
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SOLUTION 1: Check Physical Connections
If you are experiencing this problem just after making some hardware repairs on your computer, then chances are your USB connector might have come loose or lost contact with the connection point.
This is mostly applicable if the faulty USB ports are on a separate chip that is linked to the motherboard via a connector as it is with the laptop below.
In this case, is completely physical and could be resolved by reseating the connector properly to the connection point.
SOLUTION 2: Run Full Windows Updates
If you begin experiencing this problem just after installing your Windows, be it Windows 7, 8, or 10, then you want to start off by running a simple Windows update with your PC connected to the internet. To do that you go to your search and type, “Check for updates”, then click on check for updates from the search results.
On the window that pops up, click on check for updates and allow the update checking to run.
This simple process not only updates your USB drivers which could eventually fix your USB problems, but also is an easy way to download, install, and update other device drivers on your PC, be it graphics card, sound, wireless card, HDMI or any other devices you may have on your PC.
This process could take a while depending on how much updates your PC needs to install, and if you’re prompted to authorize the installation of the updates, then simply click accept and install and hit the install button to begin the installation of the updates.
Usually, the first update after installing Windows could take quite some time depending on the speed of your internet connection.
If you encounter some errors trying to run Windows update, check out our article on How to Fix Windows 10 Update Error 0x80080008.
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SOLUTION 3: Run Windows Troubleshooting Tool
If running a systems update doesn’t fix the problem, then the next fix would be to try using the Windows troubleshooting tool in your Windows settings, to do that go to your search and type, “Troubleshoot”, then click on troubleshoot from the search results under system settings.
It will open up the troubleshoot tool where it says “Find and fix other problems”.
Here you want to click on hardware and devices, then click on run the troubleshooter. After a moment a window like this will pop up which says hardware and devices, detecting problems.
This process could run for a moment, and then if any of your devices have some errors, it will be listed in the results here. You could have multiple devices to select from, and if you don’t see a device that matches your USB then you could first select the unknown device option, because sometimes when device drivers are not properly installed, then the device will appear as unknown device.
If you don’t see unknown device in your results then choose I don’t see my device listed. So here I will choose unknown device and click next.
When the process is over, you could see a result that says install a driver for this device with options to either apply the fix or Skip the fix.
The result could also be to just restart your PC to finish installing drivers and updates, in any case, just choose to apply this fix and wait for the process to complete.
In my case, it says “We have installed the current drivers, but they might not be the latest. Click below or visit manufacturer’s support website to check for updated drivers”.
If you choose “Check for updated drivers”, then it will automatically redirect you to the Windows update page, and if you haven’t run Windows update you can proceed with that, but I already did, so I will go back to this window and hit next.
Then it runs for a moment and pops up a page saying the troubleshooting has completed, and in this case, the driver wasn’t installed so I will proceed to the next fix.
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SOLUTION 4: Manually Install USB Drivers
The next fix would be to manually update my USB drivers, to that you go to your device manager in the control panel.
Then scroll down to where it says Universal serial bus controllers, click on the drop-down to the left and it will display a list of your USB controllers.
Here you want to update your Generic USB hubs and your USB root hubs, to do that simply right-click each of them and choose update driver.
Then search automatically for updated driver software and allow the process to run.
You should ensure that each one says “The best drivers for your device is already installed”.
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SOLUTION 5: Reinstall USB Controllers
If you still can’t access your USB device, then you should try reinstalling your USB controllers. This is similar to the previous process only that this time instead of selecting update driver.
I’m going to select uninstall device, and again do that for all Generic USB hubs and USB root hubs, this will make a clean install of your USB drivers, and would help clean up any corrupt drivers you may have on your USB ports.
After uninstalling then go to your device manager menu, click on “Action” and then click “scan for hardware changes” and wait for a moment, Windows will automatically install back your USB controller drivers.
Then check and see if you can access your USB devices.
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SOLUTION 6: Download USB Drivers from Manufacturer Support
Here you would need to visit your manufacturer support page and manually download and install the corresponding USB drivers to your PC.
This could be a little trivial because first, not all laptops have the USB drivers on the manufacturer support pages, obviously because the USB drivers should install automatically when you install Windows or at least when you run windows updates.
However, some PCs may require you to manually download and install one or two USB drivers, especially for the USB 3.0 controllers. So you could check and see if the faulty USB ports are the 3.0 version, an easy way to find out is by looking at the marking beside or on top of the USB port.
If you see the normal USB sign then is a 2.0 version, but if you see a USB sign with double S which stands for super speed, then is a 3.0 version, some manufacturers color code the 3.0 version to blue but others still leave it as black but with the double S sign.
So if you have a USB 3.0, then you may need to download and install the drivers manually. For instance, here I have a HP EliteBook 8540w, to obtain the USB 3.0 driver I will open up my browser and search HP EliteBook 8540w Drivers, then click on the corresponding support page from HP.
It’s always advisable to download your drivers from the manufacturer support page otherwise you might end up installing some unwanted applications that could affect your PC negatively. For this HP, under the firmware drivers, it says NEC USB 3.0 Controller Firmware Update Utility, so here I will simply download and install accordingly.
Hope one of these solutions would work for you, if you have any questions regarding the procedures in this tutorial, you can post in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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The following video demonstrates the solutions in this tutorial.