Computer Assistance Thread

Website, internet, technology, and computer resources, discussion and assistance.

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:48 am

I have an ancient laptop that was working great until this afternoon, when none of my USB devices worked. When I plugged in my keyboard, flash drive, mouse, and external drives, the lights came on but it seemed the computer wasn't reading any information---none of those devices were recognized.

What could potentially be the problem? And is there a work-around?

(Unfortunately, "get a new laptop" is not a feasible solution.)
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
User avatar
Lady Wu
There's no better state than Wu
There's no better state than Wu
 
Posts: 12764
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:35 am
Location: Wu-ere else?

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:22 am

Lady Wu wrote:I have an ancient laptop that was working great until this afternoon, when none of my USB devices worked. When I plugged in my keyboard, flash drive, mouse, and external drives, the lights came on but it seemed the computer wasn't reading any information---none of those devices were recognized.

What could potentially be the problem? And is there a work-around?

(Unfortunately, "get a new laptop" is not a feasible solution.)


Off the top of my head it could be a USB port driver issue although it would be odd for that to just suddenly get screwed up if the system hasn't been powered down lately or had any major changes made to it. Could also be a physical issue with a bad connection - seems unlikely that 4 ports would themselves all suddenly go bad.

When you plug a device in, do you get the chime/connection sound that normally occurs when you connect a USB device? And when you say it was working until this afternoon, does that mean that the last time you used it successfully was this morning, or was it a couple of days ago? Have you reinstalled any software or OS between the last time it worked and when it stopped working? I'm assuming you already rebooted the machine and tried the devices again after a clean boot. I'm also assuming that when you say you plugged all the devices in, you were plugging them in simultaneously.

If it is just a driver issue, reinstalling the driver should fix it. If it's a hardware issue, you might want to look into a PCMCIA-to-USB adapter. I don't know what card slots your laptop has, but you could work around the issue that way without having to get a new laptop.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2681
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:17 pm

No, the chime sound doesn't play. Things worked well in the morning, then I left the computer on and went out for a few hours. When I came back I found that my mouse wasn't working. That's when I tried a few other devices and found that nothing was talking to the computer. I do remember, however, that either that morning or the day before, my laptop shut down on its own for no reason, so I somewhat suspect that there was a power surge or something that fried the ports. However, since the ports were still conducting power (my laptop fan works when I plugged it in, and keyboards, mice, external drives and whatnot light up---it's just that no information is exchanged between the devices and the computer), which made me reluctant to give up on this machine. I did check all the drivers and they were updated.
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
User avatar
Lady Wu
There's no better state than Wu
There's no better state than Wu
 
Posts: 12764
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:35 am
Location: Wu-ere else?

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby James » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:34 am

Would you mind checking Device Manager to see if there are any errors or warnings?
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17931
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:34 am

Lady Wu wrote:No, the chime sound doesn't play. Things worked well in the morning, then I left the computer on and went out for a few hours. When I came back I found that my mouse wasn't working. That's when I tried a few other devices and found that nothing was talking to the computer. I do remember, however, that either that morning or the day before, my laptop shut down on its own for no reason, so I somewhat suspect that there was a power surge or something that fried the ports. However, since the ports were still conducting power (my laptop fan works when I plugged it in, and keyboards, mice, external drives and whatnot light up---it's just that no information is exchanged between the devices and the computer), which made me reluctant to give up on this machine. I did check all the drivers and they were updated.


I think the ports are bad or the connection between the ports and the motherboard is bad. The fact that it doesn't chime when you plug it in tells me that the OS isn't recognizing that a device is connected. If the drivers are up to date then it's unlikely to be a software issue. I guess you could try reinstalling the OS in case something else is messed up, but I'm thinking it's probably hardware failure. Which unfortunately means either a new laptop or some kind of adapter card - they retail for pretty cheap, usually around $15.

EDIT: Also, when you say that the drivers were all updated, do you mean that you went in and re-updated them or just that they are up-to-date? Because you should probably reinstall those to make sure if you haven't already.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2681
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:54 pm

Thanks James and Adrian.

I had already checked the Device Manager, which claimed everything was working properly. I tried updating the drivers too but the system said everything was up-to-date already.

A dummy question since I've never had to deal with PC cards before... are they all the same size?

PS: Now that I think about it... that time when my laptop just shut itself down may have to do with the USB drawing too much power from it, perhaps? Do these adapters come with external power?
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
User avatar
Lady Wu
There's no better state than Wu
There's no better state than Wu
 
Posts: 12764
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:35 am
Location: Wu-ere else?

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Starscream » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:01 pm

My 2 year old PC is on the verge of collapse soon too. The beep during the bios bootup takes minutes when it should be heard within seconds from power on. This has been on and off for the past half year. Then today, my pc hanged when I was surfing the net halfway. When that happened to my old pc years back, it died of motherboard burn out. So this time, I am backing up my data just in case if this is the last time it is going to boot up again. :cry:
”太慢了。“
User avatar
Starscream
Decepticon Air Commander
 
Posts: 2144
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 5:36 am
Location: 真仙殿

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:09 am

Lady Wu wrote:Thanks James and Adrian.

I had already checked the Device Manager, which claimed everything was working properly. I tried updating the drivers too but the system said everything was up-to-date already.

A dummy question since I've never had to deal with PC cards before... are they all the same size?

PS: Now that I think about it... that time when my laptop just shut itself down may have to do with the USB drawing too much power from it, perhaps? Do these adapters come with external power?


As far as PC Cards go, most of the USB adapter ones I've seen are of one type, what's called Type II. If your laptop has a Type II slot (about 5 mm thick) then any Type II PC card should work. However, depending on your laptop and how old it is, you may have an Express Card slot instead, and those do come in different sizes. There are also some older and newer versions of PC Cards that are different in size, but like I said most of the ones with USB ports seem to be the same (Type II). How old is your laptop?

As far as the power issue goes, in terms of wattage they are unlikely to have contributed much more than a little bit of usage - the only thing I might worry about is the laptop's 5V amperage rail on its power supply. USB devices draw from the 5V rail and even if the wattage being supplied is enough, exceeding the limits of the amperage rail is just as bad. So I guess it's possible that was the problem, but it doesn't seem very likely to me. Maybe James can shed more illumination on that?

In any case, yes, a number of the PC Cards with USB ports have connections for an AC-to-DC adapter although not all of them actually come with the adapter. Syba makes a 5-port USB PC Card that does come with an adapter, and it retails for $20.99 at Newegg. I've never used one though - I'm unfamiliar with the brand names on those, so I would do some comparison shopping and read some reviews first.


Starscream wrote:My 2 year old PC is on the verge of collapse soon too. The beep during the bios bootup takes minutes when it should be heard within seconds from power on. This has been on and off for the past half year. Then today, my pc hanged when I was surfing the net halfway. When that happened to my old pc years back, it died of motherboard burn out. So this time, I am backing up my data just in case if this is the last time it is going to boot up again. :cry:


It might not be the motherboard - could also be an ailing power supply or CPU. Are you good with computers? If you are you could disconnect power-intensive devices or even go through a step-by-step process of disconnecting and reconnecting each piece of hardware, to see what the issue is. But if you can decrease the power load on the PSU and get a post (the beep sound during boot) then it's probably the PSU. If decreasing the load doesn't solve things, could be the motherboard or CPU.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2681
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby Starscream » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Did you mention power supply? Incidentally, I was using USB to charge the power of a pair of portable speakers and surfing the net when my pc hanged. After I restarted my PC (beep sound still slow), everything worked as usual and I scrambled to backup my data. Usually I dont't have issues with the plug in devices. It's really not much stuff I plug in and I don't abuse my pc by charging my phone with it and running graphics intensive stuff or movies or hold a video conference all at the same time... :mrgreen:

Anyhow, I am wanting an excuse to buy a new PC because the current one hangs when I tried to render the 3d maps of HMM6. :oops: Previously, my old comp embarrassed me even more. The blue screen of death appeared when I tried to do 360 degrees rotation on the spot in WoW. That was the sign to upgrade my comp!
”太慢了。“
User avatar
Starscream
Decepticon Air Commander
 
Posts: 2144
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 5:36 am
Location: 真仙殿

Re: Computer Assistance Thread

Unread postby James » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:09 pm

Lady Wu, I don't have much to add beyond what Liu Yuante has said. It sounds like a PC Card with USB ports will probably solve your problem and it does sound like a hardware issue. As far as power draw from USB contributing to a computer shutdown, that's highly unlikely. When you overload the USB ports the items attached simply stop working properly. Generally, when the computer shuts down the most common culprit is the CPU itself, overheating (especially if it is a laptop with a Pentium 4). Some other possible causes exist.

Starscream, long beeps or a series of long or short beeps on boot can sometimes represent certain error codes. You might try searching for your computer model and 'beep codes', or something along those lines, and you may find a list which could help you out. It will generally say something along the lines of, 'a long beep is x, a long beep and a short beep is y, two short beeps is z', etc. I don't remember encountering many errors which were simply represented with a long beep, though.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17931
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

PreviousNext

Return to Foreign Kingdoms

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved