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Troubleshoot Windows 7 USB Problems

Updated on January 12, 2012
Max Dalton profile image

Max holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from SIU and an M.A. in Communication from U of I and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.

Introduction

Yes, if you're having problems with a USB port on your Windows 7 computer, you could just have a defective USB port. However, if the USB port is not physically damaged and you haven't spilled liquids on it or dropped your computer, the USB port isn't defective and the problem is something that can be resolved using troubleshooting.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Device Manager window with the Universal Serial Bus Controllers expansion open.Check how much power your USB root hub has available if Windows 7 isn't even recognizing your connected USB device.Try updating or rolling back the driver for your USB controller if your USB device isn't functioning properly.Access the Device Manager by searching for it using the Search field in the Start menu.Let Windows 7 search for new drivers on the Internet or tell it to install them from a specific location on your computer.
The Device Manager window with the Universal Serial Bus Controllers expansion open.
The Device Manager window with the Universal Serial Bus Controllers expansion open. | Source
Check how much power your USB root hub has available if Windows 7 isn't even recognizing your connected USB device.
Check how much power your USB root hub has available if Windows 7 isn't even recognizing your connected USB device. | Source
Try updating or rolling back the driver for your USB controller if your USB device isn't functioning properly.
Try updating or rolling back the driver for your USB controller if your USB device isn't functioning properly. | Source
Access the Device Manager by searching for it using the Search field in the Start menu.
Access the Device Manager by searching for it using the Search field in the Start menu. | Source
Let Windows 7 search for new drivers on the Internet or tell it to install them from a specific location on your computer.
Let Windows 7 search for new drivers on the Internet or tell it to install them from a specific location on your computer. | Source

USB Ports Stop Working

If you just updated the driver for the controller associated with your USB port before your USB port stopped working with any USB device, try rolling that driver back to its previous version by doing the following:

Roll Back Driver

  1. Click the Windows Orb on your Windows 7 taskbar.
  2. Type "Device Manager" into the Search box and then press "Enter."
  3. Click "Device Manager" listed beneath Control Panel in the list of search results that appear in the Start menu. The Device Manager window opens.
  4. Click the expansion arrow to the left of the name of your computer to expand your computer's details if it isn't open already.
  5. Click the expansion arrow to the left of "Universal Serial Bus controllers."
  6. Right-click the controller associated with the USB port that's giving you problems and then click "Properties" to open a dialog box associated with that driver.
  7. Select the "Driver" tab.
  8. Click "Roll Back Driver" to roll back the driver to its previous version.

Alternatively, if the controller driver has never been updated, you can try updating the driver to resolve your problem. You can have Windows search for a driver over the Internet or your can download the driver from the company who built the controller and then tell the computer where the file is located on your computer to install it from. Downloading the drivers directly from the controller manufacturer is the best option, as you can ensure the correct drivers are being installed.

Update Driver

  1. Follow Steps 1 through 7 in the Roll Back Driver section.
  2. Click "Update Driver." If you want Windows 7 to search the Internet for new drivers, proceed to Step 3. If you have the drivers from the manufacturer, proceed to Step 4.
  3. Click "Search automatically for updated driver software" to have Windows 7 search the Internet for new drivers. Install new drivers if they're available.
  4. Click "Browse my computer for driver software."
  5. Click the "Browse" button to navigate to the software on your computer and then click "Next" to begin installing the new driver to your Windows 7 machine.

USB Devices Detected But Not Working Properly

  1. Click the Windows Orb on your Windows 7 taskbar.
  2. Type "Device Manager" into the Search box and then press "Enter."
  3. Click "Device Manager" listed beneath Control Panel in the list of search results that appear in the Start menu. The Device Manager window opens.
  4. Click the expansion arrow to the left of the name of your computer to expand your computer's details if it isn't open already.
  5. Click the expansion arrow to the left of "Universal Serial Bus controllers."
  6. Right-click each of the "USB Root Hub" listings and then click "Uninstall" to uninstall all of the root hubs.
  7. Restart your Windows 7 computer. The USB root hubs will be rebuilt during the restart.
  8. If the USB device that wasn't working properly came with software that you never installed, install that software after the computer reboots.
  9. Plug the USB device that wasn't functioning properly before back in to your Windows 7 computer. If the device is still acting up, update any updated drivers available from the manufacturer to see if that helps resolve the problem.

Device Not Detected By Windows 7

  • If you USB device isn't detected by Windows 7 and you have a large number of USB devices connected to your computer, the hub associated with that USB port may not have enough power available to support another device. Try disconnecting one or two of your USB devices from your computer, reconnecting the USB device that didn't work previously and then seeing if that device now works. You can check the power that each USB port has available by following Steps 1 through 5 in the Roll Back Driver section and right-clicking the USB root hub in question to open a context menu. Click "Properties" and then select the "Power" tab in the USB Root Hub Properties dialog box that appears. The power available in that root hub is listed in the Hub Information section in the dialog box.
  • Your device also may not be recognized if you're using a high-power USB cable that is more than 10 feet long. Try resolving your problem using a high-power USB cable that's less than 10 feet long.
  • Another your USB device may not be showing up in Windows 7 is that you're not connecting it to a USB port your computer recognizes. For example, the USB ports on most monitors and keyboards aren't recognized by your operating system; only USB ports located directly on your computer's tower are recognizable to the OS. The only exception to this is if you're using an all-in-one computer that doesn't have a tower. In that case, the USB ports on the tower are recognized by the operating system. If your device is connected to a USB port on either the tower or the keyboard, try connecting the USB device to the tower or your all-in-one computer's monitor instead to resolve your problem.

No Audio Playback After Disconnecting USB Audio Device

This problem often occurs because your Windows 7 computer is still trying to output audio to the USB audio device that was previously connected, such as a USB headset or mic. If you haven't done so already, close the audio program and then restart it to see if that resolved the problem. If you're still experiencing hearing audio through the Windows 7 computer's built-in speakers or a set of external speakers, restart the computer to see if that resolved the problem.

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      Chidanand 6 years ago

      thank lot

    • sam dias profile image

      sam dias 6 years ago from new delhi

      Thanks!!!

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