How to Troubleshoot USB Issues

How to Troubleshoot USB Issues




Having trouble with USB devices not detected or recognized on your Dell PC? Here are some troubleshooting steps that can help resolve USB issues on your Dell PC like USB devices not detected or recognized, working intermittently, USB driver error, etc.

Troubleshooting

Before troubleshooting USB issues on your PC, ensure to disconnect the USB device from your PC.

Expand the sections below for more information and follow the troubleshooting steps in a sequence.

Note: USB devices such as printers and scanners require USB device drivers and device specific application to be installed before connecting the USB device to the PC. Follow the installation instructions from the USB device manufacturer.
Warning: Some troubleshooting steps require you to restart your PC. Before you begin troubleshooting, ensure to bookmark open web pages, save any open documents, spreadsheets, or any other unsaved work.
Caution: USB devices must be turned off or ejected before they are disconnected from the PC. Most USB devices support Windows Safely Remove Hardware feature.

USB performance issues may occur if there is any type of damage caused to the USB cable or the USB ports on the PC. You may experience symptoms like USB device stops working, works intermittently or device wiggles when you plug it in etc.

USB cables and ports are exposed to elements that may cause a build-up of dust or even physical damages. If you notice that the port or connector has dust or other contaminants, use a can of compressed air to clean the ports and connectors.

Warning: Do not use any type of cleaning solution, water or even a damp cloth. Disconnect the USB device and the cable before using the can of compressed air to clean the ports and connectors.

If you do notice a physical damage, contact Dell Technical Support to learn more about repair options that are available in your region. If there is no damage, proceed to the next step.

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In some cases, USB issues can be caused by outdated BIOS settings. It is recommended that you reset the BIOS to factory defaults.

To access the BIOS or System Setup on your Dell PC:

  1. Restart your Dell PC.
  2. Press F2 key several times at the Dell logo screen during startup.
    or
    Press F12 key several times at the Dell logo screen during startup and select BIOS Setup or System Setup from the menu.
  3. In the BIOS screen, click Load Defaults or press F9 key on the keyboard to reset the BIOS to factory defaults.
    Note: Instructions to reset the BIOS defaults on your Dell PC may vary, refer to the User Manual of your Dell PC for more information.

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Running a hardware diagnostic test can help you identify hardware related problems and provide you troubleshooting steps to help resolve the issue. To determine if your Dell PC is experiencing a hardware problem, it is recommended that you first run a hardware diagnostic test on your PC. Dell offers both built-in and online diagnostics. Dell ePSA hardware diagnostic test will help check if the hardware devices are working correctly.

Running Dell Pre-boot System Assessment or enhanced Pre-boot System Assessment (Dell PSA or ePSA)
  1. Restart your Dell PC.
  2. When the Dell logo appears, press F12 key to enter One-time Boot Menu.
  3. Use the arrow keys to select Diagnostics and press Enter key on the keyboard.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts and respond appropriately to complete the diagnostics.
    If the test fails, ensure to write down the error code and validation code.

ePSA Pre-boot System Assessment (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:28) English Only

Use the Dell Interactive Support Agent (English only) to get information about ePSA or PSA diagnostic error codes.
Alternatively, you can visit the SupportAssist Pre-Boot System Performance Check page to get more information about ePSA or PSA diagnostic error codes.

To learn more about Dell ePSA or PSA diagnostics, visit the Dell knowledge-base article Resolve Hardware Issues with Built-in and Online Diagnostics (ePSA or PSA Error Codes).

If the Dell ePSA diagnostics and other troubleshooting steps has not identified the cause of USB issue, we recommend that you consider running a hardware checkup using Dell SupportAssist. Dell SupportAssist diagnostic test helps you troubleshoot a problem and get automated fixes.

Performing Hardware Scan - Dell SupportAssist - (2:11)

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To verify if the USB device is faulty, unplug the USB device from your PC and plug it into another PC. If the device is not detected and is not working on another known-good PC too, the USB device is faulty. Contact the device manufacturer to know the warranty status and repair options for the USB device.

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SupportAssist helps you optimize your PC by running a series of diagnostics to identify modifications to files and settings of your PC. Optimizing your PC improves your system speed, storage space availability, and stability by cleaning temporary files, tuning system performance and optimizing network.

Cleaning files

Cleaning your files helps you remove redundant files, temporary folders, and other unnecessary clutter from your PC

  1. Open SupportAssist and click the Optimize My System tile.
  2. On the Home tab, under Clean Files, click Run Now.
    After the optimization is complete, a 'Check' icon and the last optimized date are displayed on the tile.
    Note: During optimization, the name of the task that is performed is displayed below the menu bar. The percentage of optimization that is complete is also displayed on the tile.
    If you want to stop the optimization, click Cancel.
Note: If you cancel the optimization, the changes that were performed are not reversed.
Tuning your system performance

Tuning your PC performance helps you adjust the power settings, registry, and memory allocation to maximize the processing speed of your PC.

  1. Open SupportAssist and click the Optimize My System tile.
  2. On the Home tab, under Tune Performance, click Run Now.
    After the optimization is complete, a 'Check' icon and the last optimized date are displayed on the tile.
    Note: During optimization, the name of the task that is performed is displayed below the menu bar. The percentage of optimization that is complete is also displayed on the tile.
    If you want to stop the optimization, click Cancel.
Note: If you cancel the optimization, the changes that were performed are not reversed.

Optimize My System Using SupportAssist - (1:39)

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Windows Device Manager can help you identify and troubleshoot any device driver related issues with the USB device.

To view the USB devices in Windows Device Manager:

  1. Press the Windows logo + R key on the keyboard.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc in the run dialog box and press the Enter key.
  3. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section.
Symbol Description Troubleshooting steps
A black down-arrow on a white field on a device resource in Device Manager indicates that the device has been disabled. Note that this does not indicate that there is a problem with the device. To enable the device, right-click on the device and select Enable.
A black exclamation point (!) on a yellow field indicates the device is in a problem state. Note that a device that is in a problem state can be functioning.
  • Plug the device into another USB port.
  • Remove any USB hubs and connect the device into a USB port on the PC.
  • Disconnect the device from the PC.
  • Right-click on the device, and select Uninstall.
  • Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device (if it is shown).
  • Click OK and restart the PC.
  • If the device came with a CD/DVD with the USB drive, install the device driver before connecting the device to the PC.
A red "X" indicates a disabled device. A disabled device is a device that is physically present in the PC and is consuming resources, but does not have a protected-mode driver loaded.
  • Plug the device into another USB port.
  • Remove any USB hubs and connect the device into a USB port on the PC.
  • Disconnect the device from the PC.
  • Right-click on the device, and select Uninstall.
  • Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device (if it is shown).
  • Click OK and restart the PC.
  • If the device came with a CD/DVD with the USB drive, install the device driver before connecting the device to the PC.
A device with a yellow "?" with an exclamation point (!) under Other devices or sometimes also listed as "Unknown device" indicates that the device or its drivers are not available or installed.
  • Remove any USB hubs and connect the device into a USB port on the PC.
  • Disconnect the device from the PC.
  • If the device came with a CD/DVD with the USB drive, install the device driver before connecting the device to the PC.

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Dell recommends updating the device drivers and BIOS as part of your scheduled update cycle. Device drivers and BIOS updates may contain feature enhancements or changes that will help keep your system software current and compatible with other system modules (hardware and software) as well as increased stability.

It is essential to update the following device drivers for optimal USB performance and to resolve common USB related issues:

  • BIOS
  • Chipset driver

To learn how to download and install a device driver on your Dell PC, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How do I update the device drivers on a Dell PC?

To learn how to download and update the BIOS on your Dell PC, refer to the Dell knowledge-base How to Download or Update the BIOS on a Dell PC?

Update your System Setup (BIOS) - (2:06)

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8 or 8.1 and Windows 7 has a built-in hardware troubleshooter that can help you automatically find and fix any problems that might be affecting your PC. "Microsoft easy fix" solutions was previously known as "Microsoft Fix It". Microsoft easy fix solutions can help diagnose and resolve USB related issues.

To run Microsoft easy fix solution for USB related issues:

  1. Download and save the .diagcab package Troubleshoot problems with devices and printers.
  2. Run the DeviceCenterDiagnostic.diagcab file.
  3. Follow the prompts in the easy fix solution to complete the troubleshooting process.
Note: Some Microsoft Easy Fix packages may require you to log on to Windows as an administrator. You may be prompted to provide user credentials when you run the package.
Note: .diagcab solutions package are for Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8 or 8.1 and Windows 7 only. Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows XP cannot run .diagcab solutions package.

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Windows updates can support your Windows operating system in many ways. Windows updates can solve specific problems, provide protection from malicious attacks, or even add new features to the operating system.

How to install Windows Updates on Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows 8 or 8.1?

  1. Right-click Start and click Settings.
  2. In the Settings panel, click Update & Security.
  3. In the left panel, select Windows Update.
  4. On the right panel, click Check for updates.
  5. Restart the PC after downloading and installing the updates.

How to install Windows Updates on Microsoft Windows 7?

  1. Click Start and open Control Panel.
  2. In Control Panel, click System & Security.
  3. In the right panel, select Windows Update.
  4. On the right panel, click Check for updates.
  5. Restart the PC after downloading and installing the updates.

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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If the problem persists, uninstalling the USB Host Controller and USB Root Hubs will force the PC to reinstall the USB root hub during restart.

Note: After uninstalling the USB Root Hub or USB Host Controller, your USB keyboard and mouse will stop responding. Manually force a shutdown by pressing and holding the power button for 20 seconds.
  1. Disconnect any USB devices connected to your PC, except the USB keyboard & mouse before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Press the Windows logo + R key on the keyboard.
  3. Type devmgmt.msc in the run dialog box and press Enter key.
  4. In the Windows Device Manager window, expand the Universal Serial Bus Controllers section.
  5. Right-click the USB Host Controller and select Uninstall.
  6. Click OK to confirm and uninstall the USB Host Controller.
  7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 to uninstall all the USB Host Controllers.
    Note: If the USB keyboard and mouse are not responding, manually force a restart and repeat steps 5 & 6. To force a shutdown, press and hold the power button for 20 seconds.
  8. Restart your PC.

To refresh the USB root hub on your PC:

  1. Disconnect any USB devices connected to your PC, except the USB keyboard & mouse before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Press the Windows logo + R key on the keyboard.
  3. Type devmgmt.msc in the run dialog box and press Enter key.
  4. In the Windows Device Manager window, expand the Universal Serial Bus Controllers section.
  5. Right-click the first USB Root Hub and select Uninstall.
  6. Click OK to confirm and uninstall the USB Root Hub.
  7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 to uninstall all the USB Root Hubs.
    Note: If the USB keyboard and mouse are not responding, manually force a restart and repeat steps 5 & 6. To force a shutdown, press and hold the power button for 20 seconds.
  8. Restart your PC.
Note: You may be required to install the USB device drivers and application. Follow the device manufacturers instructions to install the USB device.

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Windows Safe Mode allows us to identify if the issue is related to the operating system, device drivers or a 3rd party software. To learn more about how to boot your Dell PC into Safe Mode, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article below based on the operating system installed on your PC:

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (1:16) English Only

Once the PC is booted into Safe Mode, refresh the USB Root Hubs and USB Host Controllers.

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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System Restore is a built-in Windows tool designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with your PC, System Restore should be used prior to restoring the PC to factory defaults.

Select the Operating System installed on your PC to find more information about how to perform System Restore:

If the issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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If the diagnostic tests on the USB ports passed, it is most definitely an issue related to software installed on your PC. If the above troubleshooting steps did not resolve the issue, you can try to restore your PC to factory defaults as a last resort.

Dell PCs are built with a small amount of hard disk space reserved for reinstalling your operating system. This method is the easiest way to restore your PC to factory condition. The restoration process deletes all user data from the PC, so be sure to back up all your files prior to starting this process

Warning: Restoring your PC to factory defaults or reinstalling the operating system using any recovery media will erase all data on your PC. Ensure to backup all important data like documents, spreadsheets, pictures, videos, etc. before restoring or reinstalling the operating system.

Select the Operating System installed on your PC to find more information about how to restore your PC to factory defaults:

Note: After restoring or reinstalling the operating system, it is recommended that you download and install the latest device drivers from Dell Drivers & Downloads website.

Perform a Reset in Windows 10 - (1:36) English Only

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Additional resources

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Informational videos

USB Explained (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:49) English Only

USB Port Issues - (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:53) English Only

USB Device Not Recognized (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:40) English Only

USB Devices Not Working Windows 10 (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:10) English Only

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Article ID: SLN115082

Last Date Modified: 08/22/2018 01:09 PM


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