Dell’s line of Alienware laptop computers comes with USB 2.0 ports that accommodate connections to devices which are compatible with USB 2.0 technology, such as mice and personal audio players. As convenient as USB 2.0 technology is, it can also cause electronics devices to experience problems when interacting with each other.
One of the most common USB 2.0 port problems you may encounter is associated with the installation or absence of software programs known as drivers. Drivers are needed for a laptop, such as an Alienware device, to interact properly with an attached USB device. Without these drivers, the device and computer are incapable of interacting with each other and can make it appear as if the computer’s USB 2.0 ports are not working properly.
Typically, drivers come on a CD that accompanies the connective device. Insert the CD into the computer’s optical drive and follow the onscreen instructions to install the driver. If you do not have the CD, check the manufacturer’s websites to see if the drivers are available for download.
Power Management Settings
In some cases, when you connect a USB mouse to your Alienware laptop, the computer fails to recognize the device. This problem can be caused by improper power management settings. You can fix this type of problem by typing “Device Manager” into the Windows search field that appears after clicking on the “Start” button and then choosing the “Device Manager” menu item. Double-click the “Universal Serial Bus Controllers” option, from which a list of USB-related items appears. At the bottom of the list is a series of USB options labeled “USB Root Hub.” Double-click on each of these list items individually and choose the “Power Management” tab that appears. On this tab, make sure the box in front of “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” is not checked.
Occasionally, a faulty USB 2.0 port and its wiring can cause your Alienware laptop computer's USB port to become non-responsive. These types of problems involve the port and the wiring that leads to the computer's internal components, such as the processor or hard drive. While the only way to fix this type of problem is to have the computer repaired, you can ascertain whether the port is to blame or not by plugging in another USB device to see if it operates properly. If the substitute USB device works properly, you know the problem lies with the attached device. If the substitute device does not work properly, you know the problem is likely related to the computer’s USB port.
A damaged USB cable may make it appear as if the USB 2.0 ports aren’t working. Check for USB cable damage by inspecting the areas where the wire and connector meet. If there is evidence of damage, replacing the cable is likely the solution to the problem. USB cables are inexpensive and available from most electronics retailers.