USB port is a dominant IO standard in smartphones, computers, tablets, and many other device types. It is a “bulletproof” connector that can withstand lots of abuse and still be capable of charging your devices, transferring data, outputting image, and many more. However, USB ports sometimes fail, and users need to know what to do when USB ports are not working in Windows.
Here is what you need to do when USB ports are not working on Windows 10 and 11. We prepared a list of numerous tips and suggestions that help users fix their broken USB ports. There are many reasons why USB ports may not work. If you do not know what exactly happened to your computer, start with the simplest ideas and go to the next one step-by-step.
Caution. Never insert unknown peripherals and USB drives into your computer. You can permanently damage your computer, smartphone, or any other device with an innocent-looking USB killer, a device that looks like a standard thumb drive made to destroy your hardware.
How to Fix USB Ports Not Working?
Here are many things you can try to fix USB ports not working on Windows 10 and 11:
- Begin with restarting your computer. Note that restarting and turning off/on your PC are two different processes, especially if you use the fast startup feature. Open the power menu and select Restart. Restarting your computer will ensure you are not dealing with a random bug.
- If possible, connect the device you want to plug into your computer to another PC or Mac. You need to ensure your peripherals work without issues to know what to troubleshoot.
- The next thing you need to check is the chipset driver. The lack of the proper and the latest chipset driver is one of the most common reasons for laptop USB ports not working. Go to your laptop’s manufacturer’s website and download the latest chipset driver. Note that some laptops provide several drivers necessary to ensure your notebook or tablet works as it should. Download them all, restart your computer and try connecting USB devices again. This should fix the USB ports not working.
- Now it is time to disconnect all but the most necessary USB devices. Leave only your mouse (if you connect it with a USB cable) and remove all the other accessories, such as a keyboard, external drive, etc. A problematic or malfunctioning USB device can temporarily break all the other ports, leaving you completely stranded. Pick one working device and try connecting it to all available USB ports. If possible, connect your mouse and keyboard with Bluetooth—this will ensure all USB ports are unoccupied during the troubleshooting.
- Not all USB devices are equal. Some consume more power and bandwidth, while others require little to nothing. Perhaps you are overloading your motherboard, which cannot supply enough juice to all ports. Therefore, disconnect one or two devices (especially external drivers or webcams) to see if it helps fix USB ports not working on Windows 10 and 11.
- Disconnect USB devices from your computer’s front panel. USB splitters cannot power many USB devices without external power. Try connecting the splitter to the back of your computer or plug the devices directly into the PC.
- Check your BIOS settings. Some laptops and desktop computers allow disabling front and rear USB ports, which might be why your USB ports are not working. There are also different options for managing charging via USB ports. Disabled USB ports in BIOS are the most common reason why USB ports are not working on Windows after users update or revert their BIOSes to newer or older versions since a BIOS reset is a part of the process.
- Another thing you should consider is changing the cable (especially Type-C). Not all same-looking cables work the same way. One might let you transfer data and charge, and the other supports only charging.
- Again, not all USB ports are equal. Modern computers oftentimes have multiple USB ports with different generations (2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and 4). The device you try to connect might not work with older standards (if it requires more power and bandwidth). Also, some USB ports on a single motherboard connect directly to a CPU via PCIe lanes, and other use chipset lines. Socket, CPU, or chipset damage might result in broken USB ports, even if the rest of the computer works.
- How about software? There are apps that prevent computers from using USB devices. Usually, you can find such software on school or work computers. If possible, check your antivirus settings and the list of install apps. Disable such programs if you have the necessary right.
- Finally, ensure there is no dust or physical damage inside the USB port. Use a flashlight to inspect the USB port and check for burn marks, cracks, bends, debris, and other sorts of nastiness that should not be there. Never connect any device to a damaged USB port. Also, keep your USB ports and devices away from liquid. USB ports carry electricity, which does not play well with liquids. If your see signs of liquid damage, disable your computer and contact a repair shop. Also, never connect liquid-damaged devices to your computer. They can short-circuit your device and cause damage beyond repair.
Change Power Settings to Fix USB Ports not Working in Windows 10/11
Windows 10 and 11 can disable select USB devices to save power. You can disable this setting to ensure all devices keep working when your PC is on.
- Press Win + R and type devmgmt.msc.
- Open the Universal Series Bus controllers section and right-click the first one to select Properties.
- Go to the Power Management tab and uncheck the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option.
- Click OK.
- Repeat step 3 for all the other USB controllers available in Device Manager.
Fix USB Ports not Working on Windows – Built-in Troubleshooter
Modern Windows versions, including Windows 7, have a built-in troubleshooter that can try to fix USB ports not working. Chances of the troubleshooter fixing the problem are slim, but you can still try. Troubleshooters like this often help to solve problems caused by random bugs, botched update, or misconfigured operating system.
Press Win + R and run the command:
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
USB Ports Not Working on Windows 11 – How to Fix It?
Windows 11 has a new setting that provides extra power savings when your device’s screen turns off. It automatically disables USB devices and ports, making customers think USB ports are not working. Check this setting before you proceed with more complicated methods.
Note that the USB power saving mode is unavailable on desktop computers with Windows 11. You can only access it on laptops and tablets. Also, Windows 10 does not support USB power saving.
- Open the Start menu and click All Apps.
- Find and open Settings.
- Go to Bluetooth & devices.
- Scroll down and click USB.
- Toggle off the USB battery saver option.
Now your computer should stop disabling USB ports together with its display.
If nothing from this article helped you fix USB ports not working, then you need to seek professional help and diagnose your PC for hardware issues. Perhaps your computer has water damage or other problems caused by shock, drops, age, voltage spikes, etc.