How to repair USB ports in Windows XP

Posted June 26th, 2015 in Computers
Sometimes, when you plug your USB stick (also known as a flash drive, or thumb drive) into your computer, it is not detected. This may be because the thumb drive itself is broken (which is not covered by this article) or because your USB ports are not working property. To test which of these is the issue, try plugging the USB stick into another computer. If it works there, then this article might help to fix your problem. 

If the USB stick is recognised when you start your computer with the USB stick plugged in, but not when you plug it in after the computer has been started, repairing your USB ports may help. 

1. The first step

The first step to repairing USB ports is to open the device manager, and remove everything under Universal Serial Bus controllers. To remove them, double click on each of the entries under this category and choose Driver from the tabs up the top. There are several buttons under this tab, one of them is Uninstall. Click this button - it will warn you that you are about to remove the device from your system. Click OK, as this is what you need to do. Repeat this with every entry under Universal Serial Bus controllers until they are all gone. Reboot your system, and windows will detect the new hardware and re-install the drivers. Under normal circumstances, this should be enough to get your USB ports working again.

2. Repairing the XP installation

If step 1 did not help with recognising USB ports, you may need to repair your XP installation. I was provided with an Operating System CD when I purchased the computer, as well as the system restore disks. Insert the CD into your disk drive and reboot. If your system is like mine, the CD player did not read any of the files on the CD, and you will need to do step three before you can use your operating disk to repair the installation. If your system boots to a CD, then continue with this step. If you weren't provided with a CD, you need to make some XP boot disks.

To make the boot disks for Windows XP, do the following:

Download the setup disks for floppy boot at: You will need 6 blank formatted floppy disks for this process.

Save this file to your system. Once downloaded, navigate to where you saved it, and double click on it. This will extract the files, and a dos prompt will come up asking you where you want to copy the images to. Type in the drive for your floppy, which is usually a. It will proceed to copy files to this disk. It will tell you when you need to insert the next disk. Make sure you label all the disks as you do them (1 - 6). Once this is finished, insert disk 1 in the drive and reboot.

After rebooting with either the first floppy disk or the cd, watch the screen when it boots, as it will ask you if you want to boot from cd rom. Press any key to boot from cd.
You will be presented with a screen asking you if you want to set up Windows XP, or repair an installation. You want to repair your system, as setting up XP will wipe your drive. Repairing it will not destroy your data files, it will only repair the XP installation. Type in R because you want to repair.
The next screen will present you with a list of the windows installations you have on your system. Most likely you will only have one, so type in 1 at the prompt. If you have several installations, type in the one you want to repair (the one where the USB ports don''t work under).
You will then be asked for the administrator password. If you can''t remember this, you''re in trouble. If you can, type it in. If you don''t have an administrator password, just hit enter.
This logs you in, and leaves you at the command prompt. Once there, you need to type in chkdsk /r at the prompt. This is what actually repairs your installation. This can take quite a while, up to a couple of hours. You will see a progress indicator of how it''s going. Once this is finished, type exit at the prompt, and it will restart your computer.

After repairing your XP installation, insert your floppy disk to update the bios. If this isn''t what you want to do, then skip this step and just go back to step one.

To update the bios, once the system has booted from the floppy the disk launches into the program to update the bios. Just let it run and do it''s stuff. Once it''s finished, reboot your system then perform step one. Once this is done, your USB ports will hopefully work.

3. Repairing your CD player

I had an odd situation. The drive for my CD player was recognised, but when I put a disk in and opened it, you couldn't see any of the files on the disk. It was just - blank. This is a situation that had gone on for a while for me, but it wasn't an issue as I could use the network to access files I needed. A minor inconvenience, but one that didn''t bother me greatly. Until I needed to repair my XP installation. I spent days trying to figure out why it wasn''t working, trying steps like removing the CD from the system (under device manager) and rebooting, to trying to find an updated driver for it. None of this worked.

After a lot of scouring of Google to find what the problem could be, I came across a little gem. There was a registry key causing the problem, and by deleting it - I could probably get my cd player working again. I tried this, and it WORKED! The key you need to delete is under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Class/{4D36E965-E325 -11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} - "Upperfilters" and "Lowerfilters".

For the uninitiated, you need to do the following:

Go to start/run, and type in regedit. This brings up the registry. Be VERY careful what you do in here - corrupting the registry can prevent your system from booting. That being said - make SURE you delete the right registry key.

You will be presented with a screen with a ''tree'' view down the left side. Navigate down the tree to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Class/{4D36E965-E325 -11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
Click on this, and in the right side you will see two entries:
- Upperfilters
- Lowerfilters
Click on each of these, and hit the delete key.

Reboot your system, and you will then find your CD player will probably work again. After this, go back and perform step four, three, two and one in that order. Step two is optional, you may find you don't need to do that, or maybe you can''t find the files you need. If this is the case, skip this step and see if the rest solves your problem.

Hopefully this article helps you to fix the problem you are having with your USB ports.


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