How to Test a USB Controller

by Tiffany Garden

A Universal Serial Bus controller allows a USB device to communicate with your computer. A problem with the USB controller may be caused by hardware or driver difficulties and can manifest in several different ways. Some symptoms of a USB controller problem include USB 2.0 devices unable to transfer at full speed, being unable to use the USB port and getting intermittent connection with the port.

Connect a USB 2.0 device to one of your computer's USB ports. Test the device to make sure it is functioning correctly. Watch your system tray for a warning message indicating the device is not working correctly, or the device is not taking advantage of USB 2.0 speed if your computer has USB 2.0 ports. These warning messages can indicate that the USB ports are not working properly.

Move the USB device to each individual USB port on your computer. If the USB port is not working properly, it might be limited to that specific port or range of ports. Ports on the back are generally attached to the motherboard or USB expansion card. Ports on the front or top of the case have interface cables and hubs attaching the ports to the motherboard or card.

Shut down your computer. Disconnect any USB devices, peripherals, monitors and the power cable from the tower.

Remove your computer's case cover. You may need to unscrew the side panel, open an access window or press a button to release the cover. If none of these methods works, consult your case manufacturer for the proper opening method.

Check the USB ports for physical damage or defects. From top and front USB ports, make sure that the wires are not broken or torn. Check motherboard USB ports for cracks. Find the USB expansion card if your computer uses the separate card instead of motherboard ports. Unscrew it from the case and pull it out firmly. Reinsert it into the slot in the same manner, making sure it is seated correctly. If the USB ports are physically defective on any type of USB adapter, that component has to be completely replaced.

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About the Author

Tiffany Garden has been a freelance writer since 2002, working in the commercial copywriting field. She has been published in a number of technical and gaming magazines, as well as on numerous websites. She also runs her own websites on a number of subjects, runs a handcrafted jewelry business and is a CompTIA A+ Certified computer technician.

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