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How to Troubleshoot USB Issues

Summary: This article provides information about how to troubleshoot and resolve USB-related issues on your Dell computer. Find step-by-step instructions to troubleshoot USB issues.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Symptoms

Having trouble with a USB device not detected or recognized on your Dell computer?

Your Dell computer may be experiencing a USB-related issue if you notice one or more of the following symptoms.

  • USB device that is not detected or recognized.
  • USB device is working intermittently.
  • Error message that is related to USB driver.
  • Error message that the USB device is performing at a slower speed.

Cause

USB-related issues can be caused due to incompatible device, outdated, incorrect, or corrupt drivers, damaged USB ports or cables, faulty USB port, and so on.

Resolution

NOTE: Before you begin troubleshooting, ensure to disconnect the USB devices from the computer.

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

NOTE:
  • The troubleshooting steps and information that is provided in this article applies to all types and versions of USB connectors (USB Type-A, USB Type-B, Mini USB, Micro USB, USB Type-A 3.0, and USB-C).
  • USB devices such as printers and scanners require device-specific drivers and software to be installed before connecting the device to the computer. Follow the installation instructions provided by the device manufacturer.
WARNING: Some troubleshooting steps require you to restart the computer. Before you begin troubleshooting, ensure to bookmark open web pages, and save open documents, spreadsheets, or other unsaved work.
CAUTION: USB devices must be turned off or safely ejected before they are disconnected from the computer. Most USB devices support Windows Safely Remove Hardware feature.

Dell recommends ensuring that the device drivers and BIOS are up to date using the SupportAssist application for optimal USB performance and to resolve common USB-related  issues.

To run the SupportAssist application, perform the following steps.

  1. Press and hold the Windows key (Windows Button), and then press the q key.
  2. In the search box type SupportAssist.
  3. Select SupportAssist (App) in the list of results.
    NOTE: When SupportAssist does not show up in the search results, go to the SupportAssist for PCs and tablets page for information about downloading and installing SupportAssist.
  4. Touch or click Start Now to run the tests.
    NOTE: You can touch or click the down arrow and then run the individual test. Dell recommends running a full computer test.
  5. SupportAssist runs the tests one by one and provides the results and suggested actions.

Optimize your System using SupportAssist

Duration: 00:32
Closed captions: Available in multiple languages. Click the Closed Caption icon and select the language that you want.

Learn How to Download and Install Dell Drivers.

Learn more about Dell BIOS Updates.

NOTE: Dell recommends restarting the computer after installing the driver updates.

Update your System Setup (BIOS)

Duration: 02:06
Closed captions: Available in multiple languages. Click the Closed Caption icon and select the language that you want.

If the issue persists, go to the next step.

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

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 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, go to the next step.

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Sometimes, USB issues can be caused by outdated or incorrect BIOS settings. It is recommended that you reset the BIOS to factory defaults.

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

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. At the Dell logo screen, tap the F2 key several times to enter the BIOS or System Setup.
  3. In the BIOS screen, click Load Defaults or press the F9 key on the keyboard to reset the BIOS to factory defaults.
    NOTE: Instructions to reset the BIOS defaults on your Dell computer may vary, see the User Manual of your Dell computer for more information.

If the issue persists, go to the next step.

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Running a hardware diagnostic test can help you identify hardware-related problems and provide you with troubleshooting steps to help resolve the issue. To determine if your Dell computer is experiencing a hardware problem, it is recommended that you first run a hardware diagnostic test. Dell offers both built-in and online diagnostics.

Running hardware diagnostic test using Dell SupportAssist

If the computer can boot into Windows and has an active Internet connection, run a USB test on the Dell computer using Dell SupportAssist.

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

Diagnose Hardware Issues on Your Dell Laptop or Desktop using Dell ePSA Diagnostic Test

Duration: 01:34
Closed captions: English only

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

If the USB device is working correctly on another computer, go 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 + 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
SLN115082_en_US__8I_Device_Manager_Disabled_Symbol_TM_v1 A black down-arrow on a white field on a device resource in Device Manager indicates that the device has been disabled. This does not indicate that there is a problem with the device.
  • To enable the device, right-click the device and select Enable.
SLN115082_en_US__9I_Device_Manager_Warning_Symbol_TM_v1 A black exclamation point (!) on a yellow field indicates that the device is in a problem state. A device that is in a problem state can be functioning.
  1. Plug the device into another USB port.
  2. Remove any USB hubs and connect the device to a USB port on the computer.
  3. Disconnect the device from the computer.
  4. Right-click the device, and select Uninstall.
  5. Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device (if it is shown).
  6. Click OK and restart the computer.
  7. If the device came with a CD/DVD with the USB drive, install the device driver before connecting the device to the computer.
SLN115082_en_US__10I_Device_Manager_RedX_Symbol_TM_v1 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.
  1. Plug the device into another USB port.
  2. Remove any USB hubs and connect the device to a USB port on the computer.
  3. Disconnect the device from the computer.
  4. Right-click the device, and select Uninstall.
  5. Check the box next to Delete the driver software for this device (if it is shown).
  6. Click OK and restart the computer.
  7. If the device came with a CD/DVD with the USB drive, install the device driver before connecting the device to the computer.
SLN115082_en_US__11I_Device_Manager_Question_Symbol_TM_v1 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.
  1. Remove any USB hubs and connect the device to a USB port on the computer.
  2. Disconnect the device from the computer.
  3. If the device came with a CD or DVD, install the drivers from the CD or DVD before connecting the device to the computer.

If the issue persists, go to the next step.

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Microsoft Windows includes various troubleshooters that are designed to quickly diagnose and automatically resolve many personal computer problems. Although Windows Troubleshooter cannot fix hardware problems, they are a great place to start if you encounter a problem with the computer. Windows Troubleshooters are built into the Control Panel in Windows 10, 8.1, or 8.

How to run the Windows hardware troubleshooter in Microsoft Windows 10?

  1. Right-click Start, and then select Control Panel.
  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems.
  3. Click Hardware and Sound and then click Hardware and Devices.
  4. Click Next and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.

How to run the Windows hardware troubleshooter in Microsoft Windows 8.1 or 8?

  1. Right-click Start, and then select Control Panel.
  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems.
  3. Click Hardware and Sound and then click Hardware and Devices.
  4. Click Next and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.

If the issue persists, go 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 computer 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 computer after downloading and installing the updates.

If the issue persists, go to the next step.

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If the problem persists, uninstalling the USB Host Controller and USB Root Hubs will force the computer 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 the USB devices that are connected to the computer, except the USB keyboard & mouse before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Press the Windows + 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 and 6 to uninstall the remaining USB Host Controllers.
    Note: If the USB keyboard and mouse are not responding, manually force a restart and repeat steps 5 and 6. To force a shutdown, press and hold the power button for 20 seconds.
  8. Restart the computer.

To refresh the USB root hub on the computer:

  1. Disconnect the USB devices that are connected to the computer, except the USB keyboard & mouse before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Press the Windows + 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 and 6 to uninstall the remaining USB Root Hubs.
    NOTE: If the USB keyboard and mouse are not responding, manually force a restart and repeat steps 5 and 6. To force a shutdown, press and hold the power button for 20 seconds.
  8. Restart the computer.
NOTE: You may be required to install the USB device drivers and application. Follow the device manufacturer's instructions to install the USB device.

If the issue persists, go 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 third-party software. To learn more about how to boot your Dell computer into Safe Mode, see the Dell knowledge-base article below based on the operating system that is installed on the computer:

How to boot into Safe Mode with Networking

Duration: 0:50
Closed captions: English only

After the computer is booted into the Safe Mode, refresh the USB Root Hubs and USB Host Controllers.

If the issue persists, go to the next step.

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System Restore is a built-in Windows tool that is designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with the computer, System Restore must be used before restoring the computer to factory defaults or reinstalling the operating system.

Select the operating system that is installed on the computer to find more information about how to perform System Restore:

If the issue persists, go to the next step.

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

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

WARNING: Restoring the computer to factory defaults or reinstalling the operating system using any recovery media will erase all data on the computer. Ensure to back up all important data like documents, spreadsheets, pictures, and videos before restoring or reinstalling the operating system.

Select the Operating System installed on the computer to find more information about how to restore the computer 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

Duration: 01:36
Closed captions: English only

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Additional Information


Helpful videos

USB Explained (Official Dell Tech Support on YouTube)

Duration: 02:49
Closed captions: English only

USB Device Not Recognized (Official Dell Tech Support on YouTube)

Duration: 01:36
Closed captions: English only

USB Devices Not Working Windows 10 (Official Dell Tech Support on YouTube)

Duration: 02:10
Closed captions: English only


Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Browse to the Dell.com/support website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

NOTE: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and China personal computer customers. Server and Storage are not applicable.

Article Properties


Affected Product

Chromebox, Alienware, Inspiron, Retired Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

06 May 2022

Version

13

Article Type

Solution