Laptop USBs suddenly stopped working


Dec 7, 2012
So I have a Lenovo Thinkpad W520 that's just over a year old and it's 2 side USB ports suddenly just stopped working. It happened while the machine was on, I was checking my email and 1 second I was using the optical mouse just fine and then the next it just stopped being detected. I didn't get any error message and, as far as my knowledge, the computer hadn't been dropped or damaged. All of a sudden none of the devices I try to plug in are recognized. I've tried a variety of fixes like updating the drivers/system restore etc. but they haven't helped. I get an error "Windows cannot initialize the device driver for this hardware." in device manager but I've tried uninstalling/reinstalling the latest drivers. When I plug in and out my optical mouse, it blinks once but isn't recognized, but the fact that it does anything at all makes me doubt that its a hardware problem like it got shorted out. However it has the same issue under Ubuntu (dual-boot) so I'm pretty much stuck at where to go from here.
Unless this actually is a hardware issue, could this mean that something in the BIOS has gotten corrupted somehow? I don't see any other explanation of why ,if it was just a bad driver, it would also affect the Linux side of things. (It was Win7 that was running when the problem happened, by the way).
Does anyone have any ideas what part's messing it up? I'm pretty good with computers and I think I could open it up and solder on replacement USBs if I need to, but that's a pain and I just don't think that's the actual problem.
Any advice is appreciated!


Feb 7, 2012
USB runs from a controller on the motherboard. It's not likely a user fixable deal unless you replace the motherboard. If you want to do that you have to break it down so you can get the exact motherboard model number before ordering a replacement. Good luck.