There was a planned power outage on the block yesterday. I forgot to turn all the computers off and have apparently paid a pretty hefty price. Namely, it seems that my USB ports have gone all screwy. On all three of my desktops.

On one computer, the simply plugging in of a USB device causes the device to reboot.

On the second computer, USB devices don’t work. It thinks that there are USB devices that are not plugged in. It sends a message every few minutes telling me that a device’s drivers did not install correctly and that I may have difficulty using my device. Further, it registers a third ROM device that is not actually present. I don’t know if that’s a USB problem, but it strikes me as being possibly related (if it thinks that the non-existent USB drive is a CD-ROM).

On the third computer, plugging in a USB device disables the mouse and keyboard.

Which actually brings me to a fourth point. Not all USB is dysfunctional, cause the KVM switch is USB and I’ve not had any problems there (except on the third computer when I plug in an external drive. And a fifth point, a USB device that was plugged into a laptop has stopped working altogether.

I suspect that this would have been avoided if I’d remembered to turn my computers off or if I’d had a better surge protector or a UPS. Taking all of those mistakes as a given, does anyone else know how I can right these wrongs? Are the USB ports permanently damaged on all three computers? Holy cow would that generate a figurative obnoxious odor.

Category: Home, Server Room

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4 Responses to Mass USB Revoltage

  1. Linus says:

    I would first try uninstalling all USB devices from the device manager and rebooting. They should re-install automatically. If that doesn’t fix it, my next step would probably be a format-rebuild (or, if you have a good backup, try restoring from it). It doesn’t seem likely that it’s a software/driver problem, but it’s worth checking.

    I guess you could just tape of the faulty ports, buy a few PCI USB expansion cards, and be back in business for $50 or so.

  2. Bob V says:

    I just had a thought: why don’t computer power supplies come with surge protection built into them?

  3. trumwill says:

    Thanks for the input, Linus. Reinstalling the drivers (or having them automatically reinstall) may at least help with the second and third case. The first occurs outside the OS, but I suspect that it may be either the easiest to solve or the easiest to declare unsolvable. I’ve long hated that mobo.

  4. trumwill says:

    Good question, Bob. It probably has to do with keeping prices down and the fact that power supplies and surge protectors are not created equal, so decoupling them lets people decide for themselves how much power they need and how much protection they want.

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