15.6" Windows 7 laptop by Toshiba / Intel Core i3 processor

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USB port was repeatedly disconnecting but now doesn't work at all

I've tried various troubleshooting options, including

--checking that no USB devices were noted as problematic in device manager

--running the troubleshooter (with no problems indicated)

--disabled and re-enabled each listing in device manager

--switching between my 1st and 2nd USB ports to check fixes (1st port works fine)

--upgrading all device software for all listings in device manager (was not prompted that changes were made and needed to restart pc)

--upgrading power options to disable USB selective suspend when plugged in via power options in control panel

--scanned for hardware changes (none)

--uninstalled USB host controller. After restarting, it recognized the port but devices still don't work when plugged into it.

--adjusted pins on USB port to provide better contact.

That's pretty much every tip I've seen online. Any other suggestions? Is it just dead? If so, can I replace it? I only have two USB ports and need both for everyday use. I've tried purchasing a hub, but it doesn't seem to work with my USB speakers and USB wireless mouse receiver.

thanks!

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It is not unlikely that you're dealing with a hardware problem here.

  1. Solder joints connecting the USB socket to the motherboard may have failed.
  2. The USB socket might be worn out. The average USB socket will resist about a thousand connect/disconnect cycles before it starts to flake out, but this may vary according to circumstances. Dust and dirt will make the socket wear out faster, as will undue mechanical stress e.g. USB plugs or devices repeatedly forced sideways, knocks, etc.
  3. Power problems. The USB port supplies power to connected devices. Some devices, such as external HDDs, tend to consume more power than what can be supplied by a single USB port - this is why some external HDDs come with a cable that has two USB plugs. USB ports are protected from excessive power drain by solid state fuses, these limit the current to safe levels. However operating the USB port close to (or just over) its power limit will degrade these components over time. When this happens, the USB port might work with devices that use little power e.g. a mouse, but it will no longer work well with devices that require more power such as external HDDs.

Resolving this type of problem requires getting access to the computer's innards, and reasonably advanced skills with a soldering iron.

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