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scalywag66
1 Copper

Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

As you may know already, the E521 has no PS/2 ports onboard and has pretty much rendered the machine an expensive paperweight since the USB ports have all ceased to operate. A lil bit of the machine can be found here

In any event, so yesterday I was replying to an email typing away just fine when all of a sudden the keyboard stopped working and Windows began to make the alert sounds it makes when you insert or remove a USB device for like 8-10 seconds straight.   A message from Windows Vista popped up then that I failed to read exactly what it said since i was eying the ports and caught the last second of  error message as i looked back up at the screen before the message faded away.

It said something to the effect of "the ports cannot work fast enough 'something something 2.0" or that it "can perfom faster 'something something'  2.0"

Next thing I know I try to click the message bubble in the windows taskbar to read it again but the mouse wouldn't move.  Then I try to navigate using the keyboard and it didn't respond neither but i noticed all the light on keyboard(scroll lock - num lock - caps lock) were on and flashing off every 6 seconds.  Since I have a plethora of mice & keyboards, I began to switch em out and would get the same result, power to the devices but no activity on screen.  I thought it might've been the devices and connected them to my other 3 machines and they worked fine and dandy.  Put them back on the E521 and they're dead. 

I've searched online the symptons and apparently it's a common issue amongst owners on this model and have seem the finger being pointed the most at the motherboard.  Attempts to follow suggestions from people like "remove battery & reset set CMOC"  or "change 'such & such' setting in the BIOS" is futile because even during the boot phase, they keyboard still wont work despite me pressing F2 or F12.  I have no idea how to use the machine since PS/2 ports were ingeniously left out.  Thanks a lot, Dell...

So if the machine is waste now, I guess I have to accept it, but I want to know why would the USB hubs stop working.  Is it a motherboard malfunction, the hub itself, maybe windows, what would cause it to cease operating?

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11 Replies
8 Krypton

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

First, not ALL this model has this problem.  I don't recall a massive amout of posts on here. 

But, there was some hardware error.  First thing to do is reset the BIOS (CMOS Memory) with the PC powered off, open the case and remove the CR2032 CMOS backup battery on the motherboard for 10 minutes.  Reinstall the battery, observing polarity, power on and see if this helps.

If not, it could very well be the motherboard.  As this is a "BTX" configuration (NOT ATX) with a Dell proprietary (and undocumented) front panel connector only another Dell E521 motherboard will fit and work. 



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

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scalywag66
1 Copper

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

Of course not all owners.  Is obviously an exaggeration, but the problem has occurred on enough occassions to raise the eyebrow and scratch the chin.

My only gripe with resetting the BIOS is that I've read where people who try this end up in a worse situation then they started out with.  I just might have to pass on that and consider this one to be done for.  Thankfully I have 3 other machines still working.

Thanks anyways

 

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8 Krypton

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

You are confusing updating the BIOS and corrupting it.  This does not do anything except reset it back to factory defaults.  If the PC is "dead" there's nothing to fear trying to reset it back to factory defaults.



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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scalywag66
1 Copper

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

I'm not confusing resetting with updating.  I'm saying there's that chance the problem will still exist after resetting the BIOS and I don't want to get stuck in a DOS screen waiting for me to hit F2 to so that I can fix the time and date etc inside the BIOS if resetting doesn't work.  At least now it can boot up to Windows.

So I'm looking online, right?, and I come across this article here  that I think details the problem and a solution for it, if only I could move the mouse... 
I think the error message is the one I caught a glimpse of.

If it is, unfortunately for me by this point the mouse was useless and was unable to click the suggested link to see what Windows had to say/suggest. So, I guess before call it quits with it, I suppose I can either buy a PCI 2.0 USB card and see how that works, or buy a serial mouse or usb-serial adapter to get things rolling.

 

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8 Krypton

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

Try this:

Power off and unplug

Press/hold power button for ~15 sec

Open the case and remove the motherboard battery

Press/hold power button again for ~30 sec

Leave it like that for at least a couple of hours

Then reinstall the battery (right-side-up!) and see what happens when you boot with only mouse, monitor and keyboard attached. Note: You'll probably get a floppy drive error message when you reboot, but ignore that and follow prompts on the screen to continue booting.

If that doesn't help, you might try using an  externally powered USB hub with its own power brick. Plug the brick into the wall, and the hub into a rear USB port. Connect mouse and keyboard through the powered hub and then boot with only mouse, monitor and keyboard attached.

If that works, disconnect the keyboard from the hub (leave hub powered and connected to PC), and move the keyboard to another rear USB port. If you're lucky, you'll get a "new hardware" notice and the keyboard will start working again. Then shut down and reboot. If keyboard continues to work, disconnect the USB  hub from the PC and reconnect the mouse to that port.

Then you can follow that article to reinstall the enhanced USB drivers.

Ron

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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8 Krypton

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

I thought it was totally dead???

If you are just getting the message you show, the devices would still work - just work at the slower USB 1.1 speed rather than USB 2.0 speed. 

There has to be more than the port speed wrong.  Unfortunately, the basic USB port hardware I/O is configured in the BIOS.  You will have to make a decision on whether to reset the CMOS (BIOS) memory or not, it may not fix it and again it could.  If you do nothing - you are at a total standstill since nothing works with USB (Have you tried a front panel USB port?).

 

 



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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8 Krypton

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

XP requires service packs for USB 2.0 support.

Several Malware programs that hijack from usb flash drives can cause this issue.

Booting a live linux cd or dvd should show whether or not you have other issues.

You could also make a bootable usb flash drive with dell diagnostics and test the mouse that way.

 

 


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scalywag66
1 Copper

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

see what I did was just unplug the harddrive and inserted an Ubuntu Live CD.  Of course boot up when fine except for the fact that I still couldn't use keyboard or mouse to change how i wanted to use the Live CD or to do anything once Ubuntu loaded up.

So what do I do?  I decide to listen to you guys and reset the BIOS even though I had a feeling it wasn't going to do squat.  Sure enough like I said might happen, the pc is now stuck in DOS waiting for me to hit F2 to enter BIOS and adjust the Time & Date since of course, the BIOS was set to reset along with time and date.  But of course, I can't readjust the time & date because resetting the BIOS did not make my USBs available.

This is just awesome....

 

 

 

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8 Krypton

Re: Why would all USB ports on DELL Dimension E521 stop working?

You were "nowhere" before trying the BIOS reset.  The motherboard is trash and it will have to be replaced - either if you would have not reset the BIOS or if you tried the BIOS reset.  Thus you didn't "lose" anything by trying the reset.  Unfortunately things such as this happen, nothing you can do but bite the bullet and get an exact replacement Dell motherboard (nothing else will fit and work).  There are places on the web that sell refurbished Dell motherboards rather reasonable so that is the place to look.  Probably around $100 to $125 US.

Link to Amazon page for the E521 motherboard.



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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