Troubleshooting Ports on your Notebook or Desktop Dell PC

Summary: This article takes your through identifying and troubleshooting the Ports and connectors on a Dell PC.

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The following article provides information on ports and how to identify and troubleshoot issues on a Dell Notebook or Desktop PC.

Table of Contents:

  1. Troubleshooting the Ports on your System
  2. Damage
  3. Intermittent Issues
  4. Non Functioning


1. Troubleshooting the Ports on your System


This article will help you to troubleshoot a range of issues relating to the External Ports on your Dell PC.

We will cover what is considered to be damage and what may be covered under your Dell Pro Support Warranty.

SLN284190_en_US__1icon Note: If you have Accidental Damage Cover, please disregard this section as damage is specifically covered as part of the Accidental Damage package.

You can check your warranty status on the link below.

Issues with external ports can usually be tracked back to one of three issues :

Damage to the port

where physical harm has occurred, such as bent or missing pins or parts broken off.

Intermittent Function

Where the signal comes and goes intermittently. Usually to do with a loose connection or port.

Non Functioning

No signal or signs of life through port at all.

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2. Damage


When we reference damage we are specifically discussing physical breakage. If you are unsure of the various ports and connectors please see the visual guide on the article below.

Please see the visual guide on the article below.

  1. Checking for damage is very basic, it's looking at the faulty port and visually checking if there are any :

    • Cracks in the plastics surrounding the port?
    • Any part of the port crimped or bent?
    • Any pins from inside the port bent or missing?
    • Any parts of the port missing or broken off?
  1. If you identify any of the above you will need to have in place a complete care warranty or be prepared for a chargeable repair call. (Your local Technical Support team will provide a quote for this repair.)

  2. If there isn't, then look at the cable or part your are trying to connect to the port and check for the same issues with the external parts.

  3. If there is damage, then you will need to replace the external part.

  4. If there is no damage to the port or external device then carry on with the next section.

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3. Intermittent Issues


  1. Does the external device work ok in another system?

    1. Yes, then proceed with the next step.

    2. No, then you will need to replace the external device.

  2. Plug the external device to the port. If you move the connector whilst it's plugged into the port, does it affect whether the device is picked up or not?

    1. Yes, then contact your local Technical Support team to take the connection issue further.

    2. No, then proceed to the next section.

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4. Non Functioning


  1. Have you ruled out a software issue in any way? There are three basic ways to accomplish this.

    1. You can two way swap your Hard Drive with one from a similar working system and see if the fault follows the Hard drive to a new machine or if the issue stays with your system? Please follow your User Guide for instructions on removing any hardware parts as the steps change from system type to the system type or you can search on our support site using terms such as "your PCs model type", "CRU" and "removal" to find a guide specific to your machine.

    2. You can boot from an Ubuntu Live CD (Regardless of the the operating system currently in use on the PC.) and check to see if you experience the same issue in another OS. Ubuntu live CD's allow you to boot the OS off the CD without installing it on your Hard Drive. You can download an ISO of the CD on the Download link below. Tap rapidly at the F12 key when the system boots to the Dell Splash screen and choose the CD/DVD drive option from the boot once menu that appears.

    3. You can run a factory restore or reinstall your Operating system.

SLN284190_en_US__3icon Caution: Carrying out option iii. would be done as a last resort and only done if one of the other two steps couldn't be done. You MUST back up all data before carrying out this procedure - if you do not data WILL be lost. Any operating system reinstall or factory restore involves formatting your Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Please refer to the guides on the Windows portal for further information on these procedures.
  1. Was the issue seen once the OS and Software was ruled out?

    1. No, then the issue is resolved.

    2. Yes, then contact your support to take this further.


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Article Properties

Affected Product

Laptops, Chromebook, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



Article Type


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