The problems you are having with USB devices could have multiple causes and
there may be no easy one fix fits all. What I can offer are some possible
troubleshooting steps that you can take to help you to identify the source of
Some older computers don't have USB 2.0 ports (not supported by the
motherboard chipset), and when you connect a USB 2.0 device into the port,
you will have a problem. You need to know whether you have USB support for
the USB devices you are using. That is, there is USB 1.0, 1.1, and USB 2.0
devices and ports with the appropriate drivers. More information on how to
identify these ports later, below.
You also must consider whether your ports supply sufficient power to run the
device you are attaching. Not all motherboards supply the same amount of
power to USB ports. Sometimes the ports on the rear of the computer have
more power supplied than do the ports on the front. If you are using a front
port and the device don't work, try connecting it to a rear port. If you
have a power problem, you can use an external powered hub to get more power.
In addition, on some computers, not all USB ports support all USB standards
(1.0, 1.1, 2.0). Some ports may be USB 2.0 while some may be USB 1.1, etc.
If a device don't work on one port, try another port, etc.
I've seen situations where shutting down the computer and pulling the wall
plug for a minute or two will enable malfunctioning USB ports to work again.
There are sometimes electricity gremlins at work. lol
Perhaps you need to upgrade the USB related drivers. Certain USB controller
upgrades that have been made available through Microsoft Windows Update that
can enable USB 2.0 on computers that don't have this, but the computer must
still be capable of supporting USB 2.0. To get these updates use the
1. Connect to the Internet if the computer is not already connected.
2. Open Device Manager: (right click Computer, select Properties , and then
3. Click the plus sign (+) next to Universal Serial Bus Controllers.
4. Right click the first USB Host Controller, select Update Driver Software.
5. Follow the information given to download and install any available
(The Other Universal Serial BUS Controllers should be automatically updated.)
6. Test the USB device again. (If the message still appears, continue
using these steps with the other USB Controllers until the message no longer
7. You should also follow these steps with the USB Root Hubs, if they do
not update automatically. Follow on-screen prompts.
If I were doing this, I would first update Vista with all updates available
on the Microsoft update site. I would do this on the theory that the process
might include USB 2 updates. After installing all Vista updates, test the
USB device, and if you still get the message, then follow the above steps.
Note, again to emphasize, that in order to have USB 2 capability, you must
have a motherboard chipset that supports USB 2 and also the BIOS must be
properly set to enable USB 2. Also, on some systems, some USB ports may only
support USB 1 or 1.1, not to beat that point to death, but just to make sure
Moreover, you can check in Device Manager, under Universal Serial Bus
Controllers, to see whether you already have USB 2.0 drivers installed. Do
this before trying to update the drivers. If one or more USB Host
Controllers are shown as:
Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller (it's USB 2.0)
If any are listed as:
Standard Universal PCI to to USB Host Controller (its USB 1.0/1.1)
Note that USB 2.0 has the word Enhanced while the other has the word
Another way to check which USB drivers you have installed is the check the
name of the drivers that are installed under USB Controller Properties Driver
tab, as follows:
usbuhci.sys (it's USB 2.0)
usbehci.sys (it's USB 1.0/1.1)
Do these checks before updating. If your system checks out as having all
the USB 2.0 drivers installed, then you don't need to update.
This is quite a long list, but what can you do? Well, there is always
google. Looking around the Internet for people posting problems and
solutions sometimes provides answers.