How to Enable a USB Port

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an extremely popular computer hardware interface introduced sometime in 1995 to provide computer users with a way of attaching secondary hardware devices that capitalize on the Plug-and-Play functionality of the Operating System. By 1997, almost every new computer system that rolled out of the assembly line was equipped with a USB port which was already supported as early as the Microsoft Windows 98 Operating System platform and has since then replaced all other connectivity standards. One USB port allows for the connection of literally hundreds of interchangeable devices like keyboards, modems, joysticks, mouse pointing devices, printers, external storage, digital cameras, and scanners among others. The presence of the USB port boosted the popularity of Plug-and-Play and has been closely associated with the term hot swappable which referenced devices that can be connected and disconnected without requiring the computer system to be turned off or rebooted.

Materials Needed:
- Computer with USB port
- Microsoft Windows XP Operating System
- motherboard documentation
Step 1
In some instances, in order to prevent unauthorized copying of data to USB-based storage devices, the USB port is disabled intentionally. To enable the USB port, click on the 'Start' button and right click on the 'My Computer' option.
Step 2
Choose the 'Manage' option from the context menu to open the Computer Management window. Click on the 'System Tools' category on the left panel. This will display all connected devices of the computer system at the right panel.
Step 3
Click on the '+' sign beside the Universal Serial Bus controllers option to expand it. Right click on the USB Root hub and select 'Enable'.
Step 4
Click on the 'File' menu and select 'Exit' to close the Computer Management window. Reboot the computer system to make sure the changes take effect.
Step 5
An alternative method for the Microsoft Windows environment is to click on the 'Start' button and select the 'Control Panel' option.
Step 6
Click on the 'Performance and Maintenance' category and select the 'System' option. This will open the System Properties window.
Step 7
Choose the 'Hardware' tab and click the 'Device Manage' button. In the Device Manager window, expand the option for the Universal Serial Bus category.
Step 8
Select the USB Root hub entry and click on the 'Enable' icon on the toolbar at the upper part of the Device Manager window. Click on the 'File' menu and select 'Exit'.
Step 9
To enable the USB port from the Windows Registry, click on the 'Start' button and select the 'Run' option.
Step 10
Type regedit in the Open box and click on the 'OK' button to bring up the Registry Editor window.
Step 11
Expand the SYSTEM category under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Click on the '+' beside CurrentControlSet and choose Services.
Step 12
Click the UsbStor option. This should display a list of registry keys in the right pane window. Double click on the 'Start' key and replace its value with 3. Make sure that Hexadecimal is selected.
Step 13
Click on the 'OK' button. Exit the Registry Editor to complete the process of enabling the USB port.
Step 14
A more direct method is to reboot the computer system and enter the BIOS setting configuration window. Refer to the motherboard’s documentation to identify how to access the BIOS settings and enable the USB port.