How to Check if USB Ports Are Damaged

By Melissa King

USB ports are an important part of your computer's hardware. Many devices connect to the computer via USB, such as music players, cell phones and digital cameras. This connection lets you charge your devices and manage files on them. When you connect a device to a USB port, it is typically recognized automatically. If not, there may be a problem with the port. USB ports sometimes fail on their own, or they may be damaged by force.

Step 1

Plug a variety of devices into the USB port you think is damaged. If none of them work, the port is probably broken. Connect the same devices to the USB ports on a different computer. If they work, this is another indication your ports may be damaged.

Step 2

Run Windows Update on your computer to ensure your devices and computer function together and have the latest drivers. Click "Start," then type "Update" in the search bar. Click on "Windows Update," "Check for Updates" and "Install Updates."

Step 3

Open the Windows Device Manager by clicking "Start," then typing "device manager" into the search bar. Click the Device Manager link when it appears.

Step 4

Click on each of your USB ports. In the Properties window, look for "This device is working properly." If this is displayed for each USB port, they are not damaged, but there may be a problem with your device instead.

Step 5

Click "Update Driver" next to each USB port in the Device Manager, and Windows searches for and installs the latest driver. If one can't be found, go to your computer manufacturer's website, and download the driver there. Try to use the USB port again. Sometimes, outdated or damaged drivers result in a non-working USB port.

Step 6

Open your computer case by unscrewing or sliding off the side cover. Use a can of compressed air to clean out the dust from inside, especially from within the USB ports. If your USB ports are hooked up to the motherboard, remove the cable, then replace it. These actions sometimes help to fix non-working ports.