USB ports failing
December 24, 2012 6:00 AM   Subscribe

My Compaq Presario V2000 notebook running XP is a bit more than 5 years old, and all three of its USB ports are failing.

They work OK most of the time, but I need to unplug/replug my mouse cable a few times a day to get it recognized, and syncing my iPod is very hit and miss. I have updated the BIOS as recommended by various websites but without success.

Any suggestions?
posted by Kiwi to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
The V2000 came out almost eight years ago (here's a review from March 2005); you may just need to start looking into buying a new laptop.

If your device has an expansion port for docking, you could pick up a PA399A dock* pretty cheaply—on that site it's only $20. That will get you three fresh USB ports, which will buy you some time.

* I have no idea if this is a reputable vendor; I just noticed in a review of the V2000 that there was a docking port and did some searching to turn this one up.
posted by bcwinters at 6:14 AM on December 24, 2012

I agree with bcwinters that it may be time to consider a new notebook. But, in the meantime, I wonder whether this is a hardware or software problem. A fresh install of XP might breathe new life into the computer. That's a lot of work, of course, and requires good data backup, all the install discs/files for your applications, etc.
posted by maxim0512 at 7:22 AM on December 24, 2012

The cheapest alternative is probably a PCMCIA usb card.

(If you're happy with the speed of your current laptop I wouldn't bother upgrading, but I would be really sure to have up-to-date backups of all important files, bookmarks, settings etc, since all disk drives eventually fail.)
posted by Baron Humbert von Gikkingen at 7:46 AM on December 24, 2012

Is one port more reliable than the others? Try plugging in a USB hub, preferably one with it's own power supply and see if that helps.

Otherwise, yeah, new laptop time. There are plenty of basic models for under $400 these days.
posted by NoAccount at 9:30 AM on December 24, 2012

A goodly squirt of no-residue contact cleaner up the guts of each USB socket and into the plugs on your USB devices can work wonders.
posted by flabdablet at 9:45 AM on December 24, 2012

I start with flabdeblet's method. The contacts are probably dirty from being relatively old.
posted by cnc at 10:43 AM on December 24, 2012

If you do go for the new laptop direction, I have made very good experiences with Dell Outlet. Often they have deals going, right now you can get a gift certificate from Dell and they will give you a promotional gift certificate to go with it - for example you buy $500 and they will throw a $90 one on top. Then you use the promotional one first, you will have to do it via phone or chat, and then the gift card. You will end up with a balance on your giftcard, which does not expire. Maybe a friend will want to buy something one day and you can sell it to him? Anyway, I got a decent 15 inch, with 4GB and a current CPU with 1TB for $260 after all was said and done. Of course I am now stuck with a giftcard balance, but that is fine in my case, since I buy a lot for friends and family.

Just a thought, instead of walking into the nearest Best Buy and get pulled over the table with a machine you do not need and a warranty to go with it. If you are happy with an 5+ year old machine, you do NOT need a laptop costing much more then $300 - $400 max! And - maybe you want to stay with Windows 7? The learning curve will be much less steep compared to Windows 8.
posted by nostrada at 4:04 PM on December 24, 2012

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