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How to avoid breaking the front usb ports?

This is a discussion on How to avoid breaking the front usb ports? within the Motherboards, Bios & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Haha, that's probably a funny title, but it's true to my question nevertheless. So, over time, I've have 6 different


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Old 07-20-2018, 04:45 PM   #1
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Haha, that's probably a funny title, but it's true to my question nevertheless. So, over time, I've have 6 different desktop PCs. Inn all of them with front usb ports, they have all stopped working within the first 3 months of buying the PC. This always saddens me because those front ports are so convenient. I then just use the back ports for the rest of the PC's life, never having any of them stop working on me. So this tells me there is likely something I am doing wrong with them. I don't use them in any manner different from how I use the back ports, but always, they seem to stop working. So my question is, what can I do to prevent this as I am planing on getting a new PC within the next few months and I'd really like to keep those ports working as long as possible.
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:20 PM   #2
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That doesn't sound right. Are you using any special software on the PC that may be messing with the USB ports? They are quite strong connectors. Granted you don't abuse them or put water in them.
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:25 PM   #3
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Nope, and even after full reformats, the front usb ports remain not working. One day I'll plug in a thumbdrive, it works fine, the next, it won't read no matter what is inserted, even to charge a phone it won't do anything after that point. And it's always the same. I've never had them last longer than 3 months. Hell one I had both ports go out in the first week. But no ports in the back ever stop working.
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:35 PM   #4
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Despite what may be popular opinion, I've never found USB ports to be all that durable when plugging and removing things frequently. I use hubs. Plug them into the USB port, then plug things into the hub. Easier to replace if they fail.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:04 AM   #5
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I have seen some computer cases where the front USB ports are not properly grounded and as a result, any static charge associated with the plugging in can damage the circuitry on the motherboard. The rear ports are always properly grounded.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:05 AM   #6
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Yes hubs are the answer and want the items to run better? Plug into usb rear ports then run usb cable across top of case and velcro usb dock to top of case (using industrial velcro). That way you break the hub and not the port into the motherboard.
No matter how you look at it usb ports are crap.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:51 AM   #7
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Yeah, I've had this current PC for a little over 7 years now and all of the back ports are still working, but the front two ports went out in the first few months. I think I'll definitely get a hub instead as that sounds like a good way to get around that issue.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:20 PM   #8
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Do they looked damaged in any way? Very odd that they were to die like that from normal use. I've never had that problem or seen that.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:45 AM   #9
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Nope, no physical damage to any of the PCs I've had in the past, but they all seem to stop working soon after buying. I've fixed several of my friend's/family's PCs and even there's has gone out after a short while. I was never able to get a definitive answer on why this happens or how to prevent it back then. I asked this same question on many forums in the past and no one really knew what exactly was going on. I took a part a few of the comps to inspect the ports on the motherboard directly but couldn't find any signs of damage or shorts. One thing of note however, is something that makes me think the problem may somehow be Windows related. A couple of my friends run Linux and Mac instead and their front ports have been working fine for years. This is the only clue I've really come across though.
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Old 07-22-2018, 02:18 AM   #10
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Maybe it is not a hardware problem (my PC is 8 years old and I have had no problems with the 4 front USBs. In the following article Power Management is suggested as a possible issue.

https://www.drivereasy.com/knowledge...rts-dont-work/

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Old 07-22-2018, 05:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterchiefxx17 View Post
Do they looked damaged in any way? Very odd that they were to die like that from normal use. I've never had that problem or seen that.
While I agree with chief here I have sold many units where the usb front ports were damaged and out of use rather quickly and personally have never had that happen to a build of mine but always wondered why others do seem to have this quite often.
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:13 AM   #12
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I just don't think they're all that well made. I've had several that were just loose ... didn't hold the devices well; some where the plugs almost fall out. Any angle at all adds stresses to the socket and the internal tabs. The front mounted convenience sockets probably get more up and down angles as people plug things like thumbdrives and cameras in. Rear sockets tend to get cables for keyboards, mice, external drives, hubs, etc. that stay plugged in.
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Old 07-23-2018, 12:41 AM   #13
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If you use cheap Towers/Cabinets, chances are they conk out pretty soon.. I had a NZXT Gamma case once, the front I/O panel conked out in a few months, all of them stopped working one by one... Checked the PCB up front and it was made of these cheap crap components...

Wasn't worth the effort to replace the components, so I bought a separate 5.25 bay I/O panel and used that in front.

I'd go with Rich's recommendation, get a separate powered hub, though in my experience, I haven't seen any of the rear USB ports break down, unless it was by a noob user who forced the USB port the other way around.

If you have a lot of USB devices connected, I'd look at the power supply, the front USB ports can shut themselves off with a bad power supply. If you're using a cheap Power Supply, that could be one of the reasons.. Borrow a good branded PSU and check if the same gets replicated there as well..
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:23 PM   #14
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This has also happened to my last two cases. My current case is an old CoolerMaster HAF 932 with 4 front USB ports. Within a year, one port had shorted out, and eventually the rest either shorted or physically broke over the years.

I recommend using a really short USB extension cable instead of a hub. Then all the physical wear is on the extension cable instead of the case USB port.
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:29 PM   #15
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I believe the front ports should only be used for very low power devices, such as thumb drives.
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Old 07-24-2018, 06:26 PM   #16
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Don't understand this at all... I am 76 years old, and have had a lot of computers starting with a Commodore 64... And when USB ports began showing up, I started using them. I have had a lot of computers with front USB ports, and use them all the time. I take no special precautions with them, and usually have them in use all the time. I switch between two USB powered external Hard Disk Drives on the front ports twice a day.. (graphics and videos) Several brands of computers, mostly HP, and have NEVER had a USB failure, front or back. I guess I am just lucky?
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Old 07-24-2018, 06:29 PM   #17
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Here is a tip that I found from my years of playing with and fixing computers for a living. Many time the port is not broken, but "locked". If you were to replace the hard drive and rebuild the system those ports (and even modems) work like a charm.
So try this .......

Power off the computer, remove the power cord from the back of the computer. Now press the power button a couple of times. Then reinsert the power cord and boot up. I have personally seen this procedure, fix USB access to modems (and they are not USB), USB mice, printers keyboards, etc.

May not always work, but I have been surprised how often it does work.

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Old 07-24-2018, 10:01 PM   #18
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Sometimes removing all usb drivers in device manager and rebooting helps.
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Old 07-25-2018, 05:49 AM   #19
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Having similar problems I have had some success doing the following>
check device manager to see of the usb driver is set to be turned off by the computer for energy saving, also using the MS fix MicrosoftFixit50475.msi seems to work after rebooting. Good luck
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:07 AM   #20
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I think many of you are off in the direction of software solutions when the point of this thread really was the front ports break easily and no uninstalling or reinstalling has little to do with that as this thread moves off in the wrong direction!
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