Can all the USB ports on a computer give out at once?

I have a strange issue with my desktop computer. The monitor stays in sleep mode and nothing I do will wake it up. I know the monitor works b/c I tried it on another computer. it almost seems like all the USB ports on that computer died at once. is that possible? perhaps it won’t wake up b/c the keyboard and mouse aren’t speaking to the computer. ? I plug in a mouse and keyboard and the computer doesn’t seem to see either and the mouse doesn’t appear to have any power to it (the laser doesn’t come on).


Chris Engelsma
Director of Distance Learning
Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
cell/text: (616) 259-0172
Being Taught, that we may Teach

Could you, please, give us a few more details?
Is this a regular desktop or some all-in-one? Which OS are you using?
If you restart the PC, does it work fine until you put it to sleep and then try to wake it up?

If the USB controller (or the associated driver) is gone, then it’s possible that all your USB ports are dead. It depends on the internal setup though - do you have ports on both the front and back of your desktop etc so there might be more than one controller.

Do you have access to old style PS/2 keyboard and mouse? It might be worth plugging them in (if your machine has the old connectors - many still do) and then seeing what happens. If that works, and your monitor comes out of sleep, then there’s more options for figuring out your problem.


What happens when you reboot your computer?

I would imagine your motherboard has died.

Yes. If all the ports are a single type, there is actually a USB hub in your computer and the chip that is the major part of that hub can fail. If this is a desktop, the quickest fix would be to install a USB card in an expansion port. It would supply it’s own USB hub, and pull power from the bus. You’ll have to open the computer to find out what type of bus the computer has - PCI or PCIe.

I had to follow up. It’s more likely that the power supply has failed than that the motherboard or some small part of it has died. This is good news, as if it is a full sized tower, power supplies are cheap. If you don’t have multiple hard drives or aftermarket video cards, you can get a replacement power supply in the $20 range. They are not that difficult to replace.

Unplug the computer and leave it unplugged for at least 30 seconds. Then plug it back in and press the power button. If the computer does not start, then you have a bad computer, not bad USB.

In order for the computer to start, the motherboard, RAM, CPU, and power supply must all be good. If the power supply and motherboard are good, and either the CPU or the RAM has failed (or both) then the computer will probably give you a beep code telling you what the problem is, but not always. The power supply is not so much more likely to fail than the motherboard that I would just blindly replace the power supply. More testing is required to determine which component has failed.

If the computer starts but does not recognize the keyboard and mouse and other USB devices, then you have a USB problem. This could be as simple as a blown fuse on the 5 volt line, or it could be a blown chip on the motherboard. If everything else in the computer seems to work, you can buy plug-in cards with USB ports, as was already mentioned.