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Thread: USB port problem

  1. #1
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    USB port problem

    I have a Dell Dimension 4600 computer (4 months old) I just bought a 128 meg. flash drive. If I plug the flash drive in any of the "BACK" USB ports, it is recognized by the computer. But the flash drive is NOT recognized when I plug it into the two FRONT ports. I have checked the cables etc. There are two cables that come from the front ports. Each cable has about 6 small wires inside. These two cables ARE connected to the motherboard. I then ran the Dell diagnostics, and it found nothing. I guess if it could not find the USB ports, it could not find a problem either !!!! Someone mentioned that maybe the Bios has to be enabled to recognize the front ports ??? How do I do that ??

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    Titanium Member efc's Avatar
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    First, if you are still under warranty call Dell tech support and have them resolve the problem.

    If not, this will probably be a tough one to fix. Begin by clicking Start>right click My Computer>Hardware tab>Device Manager. If a divice that is not properly installed it will be identified by a yellow ball containing "!". Remove any device so identified. Have driver disk available for the new install on reboot.

    Check bios settings to see if there is a setting that has to be turned on to activate the front usb ports. I don't think that there is a separate setting however you should check. Bios screen is usually acquired by pressing Delete key early in the boot process. Watch the screen to know when to hit Delete. Look through the various sections for settings dealing with usb. While it is possible to make changes in the bios that will severly impact your computer's operation, these changes are not irreversible.

    The next most likely cause is that there is a loose wire running from the front usb device and the motherboard. Check the connections and reboot.

    The last possibility that comes to mind would be incorrect wiring of the front usb port. This is an unlikely cause. If you get this far you will need the Motherboard guide that came with your computer. Somewhere in the guide there will be a scematic of the MB. It should identify pin voltages and placement. If you no longer have the book, look for a MB identification label. You can then do a Google search for documentation for that motherboard. These are usually pdf files so you will need Adobe Reader installed to read the file.
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    Silver Member joshsiao's Avatar
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    I have the Dimension 8300. Usually its nothing to do with your OS. Its possibily just improperly connected wiring.
    "Never seem more learnt then the people you are with. Wear your learning like a watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked."
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    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    Try a different USB device on the front ports, i.e. mouse or whatever. You can verify the front ports that way. Also, does the headphone jack down there work? If so then the cable is "probably" ok.

    Secondly, did the USB key ever work in the front ports? If so you can try a system restore to get that back. Regardless, since the system is under warranty you can always call Dell for help.

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    Additional info. I tried headphones in the front jack, and they work. I then connected my digital camera to the front USB port, and it also works !!! I guess I should have tried another device in the front port instead of only the flash drive. Sooooo it appears that the computer is recognizing the front audio jack, and the front USB ports. The question is then---why doesn't the computer recognize the flash drive when I put it in the front port. It only recognizes the flash drive when inserted in the rear ports ?

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    Titanium Member efc's Avatar
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    We've been trying to fix the wrong thing. I don't have front usb support on one of my computers. I keep a cable plugged into the back and plug the thumb drive into the cable when it is needed.

    If that isn't satisfactory, then I would make sure that you have xp disk and and motherboard driver disk before taking the next step.

    Go to Device Manager and remove all usb components. Reboot and follow instructions on the screen for reinstalling drivers.

    Anyone else want to comment before he tries this?
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    This is a response from Dell :

    Dear Mr. Wargo,

    Mr. Wargo, I would like to inform you that the Lexar USB jumpdrive does
    not works in the front port because there is not enough power in the
    front ports of computers for USB flash drives to work, this is the
    reason it requires itself to be plugged into the back USB ports that are
    much more powerful then the front ones.

    ****** For more information you can refer the below forum that talks
    about this issue :-

    http://www.everythingusb.com/forums/...?threadid=4416

    Some email programs will wrap this address to a second line so you will
    have to copy each of the lines directly into the address bar of your
    browser with no spaces between the two sections.

    Thank you again for choosing Dell.

    Respectfully,

    Vance Khattri DTC36031
    Dell Online Technical Support
    http://premiersupport.dell.com

  8. #8
    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    Ok Cool. I understand. The front USB ports are for low power devices only. But...what I don't understand is...a flash drive isn't a low power device? Typically you would think of a printer, scanner or such needing higher power and not being supported on those ports. But a flash drive? Hmmm, I wouldn't have thought it.

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    If I go into Device Manager, and left click on Universail Serial Bus Controllers, I see ten items listed :
    Intel (R) 82801EB USB2 Enhanced Host controller - 24DD "Listed 1 time"
    Standard Universal PCI to USB host controller "Listed 4 times"
    USB Root hub "Listed 5 times"
    None of the items have that highlight mark when there is a problem.
    Is the above any help ? If not, many thanks to all who offered suggestions. I also posted this problem on a DELL forum. lets see if they come back with anything.

    efc-- should I try removing all those items as you suggested above, and reinstall the drivers, or should I just leave well enough alone ? I have the computer about 5 months now, and never even had a jump drive, but Best Buy had them on sale for $19.00 after rebate so I picked one up.
    Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions !!!

  10. #10
    Titanium Member efc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike13
    efc-- should I try removing all those items as you suggested above, and reinstall the drivers, or should I just leave well enough alone ? I have the computer about 5 months now, and never even had a jump drive, but Best Buy had them on sale for $19.00 after rebate so I picked one up.
    Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions !!!
    When things work, don't mess with them. You never know when an install process will fail and leave you in worse shape. A cable plugged into the rear usb and the other end near you monitor or keyboard is not a bad way to go.
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  11. #11
    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" has always been good advice...

  12. #12
    Near Life Experienced TZ Veteran zipp51's Avatar
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    If you need a more accessible usb connection you may want to buy a powered usb hub.I've got usb devices everywhere on my systems including a usb switch which controls(switches) between 4 computers.The key is of course that the hub is powered and handles 4 devices and I'm still left with 3 rear and 2 front(weaker) outlets.Usually a devices manual will specify whether a powered or unpowered outlet is needed,but your Lexar jump drive website doesn't indicate this info one way or another.Did they give you an extension cable with the drive?I know I had to use my extension cable because the jump drive is too big for my front usb port and does not seat right without it.And the troubleshooter guide fro your drive points to a badly seated drive as the cause you described.
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

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    Hi all, problem solved. I ordered a USB extension cable so I could plug it in the back of the computer and just plug the jump drive into the other end of the extension cable when needed. Well, when I got the cable, I noticed that the metal tab was longer than the one on the jump drive. So, just for the heck of it, I plugged the extension cable into the FRONT port, and then plugged the jump drive into the extension cable. Works properly now !! Guess the tab on the jump drive was not quite long enough to make good contact.
    So, that statement from the Dell tech guy that "their is not enough power in the front ports" was a bunch of crap.
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    Lexar Media Jumpdrive 128 MB

    Yeah..its not the PC at all. I had on online chat with a Lexar Tech and he told me that some of these USB Flash Drives were made with shorter usb connections. I compared the connection on the jump drive (model No. JDA128-00-501) to that for my Sony Cybershot USB cable and the jump drives connection is about 25% shorter. Basically it doesnt go deep enough to make contact with the connections in the USB port. How the front USB and rear USB connections differ in that respect I have no idea. I too have a Dell Dimension 4600. I tried applying pressure and it would work but when I let go it wouldnt work any longer. I havent lost any caps yet but I believe lexar sells replacements at about 5 for $5.

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