Question USB 3.0 ports are failing

PC-Cobbler

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Jun 12, 2015
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My laptop's USB 3.0 ports are completely unreliable. If I connect an external data drive, I will soon see read errors. If I connect a drive with Linux installed, soon Linux will freeze. If I connect the same devices to a USB 2.0 port, everything runs fine, albeit slower.

I realize that it is impossible to debug this via the Internet. I'm asking for an educated guess. Do you think the problem is the physical ports or the circuitry on the motherboard? And if the latter, which I suspect is the case, are USB 3.0 and 2.0 logic usually contained in the same area of the motherboard, in other words, is it likely that USB 2.0 ports will soon suffer the same fate?

P.S. Yes, I know the laptop is dying, but it's too old to replace an expensive component like the motherboard.
 
My laptop's USB 3.0 ports are completely unreliable. If I connect an external data drive, I will soon see read errors. If I connect a drive with Linux installed, soon Linux will freeze. If I connect the same devices to a USB 2.0 port, everything runs fine, albeit slower.

I realize that it is impossible to debug this via the Internet. I'm asking for an educated guess. Do you think the problem is the physical ports or the circuitry on the motherboard? And if the latter, which I suspect is the case, are USB 3.0 and 2.0 logic usually contained in the same area of the motherboard, in other words, is it likely that USB 2.0 ports will soon suffer the same fate?

P.S. Yes, I know the laptop is dying, but it's too old to replace an expensive component like the motherboard.
USB 2 and USB 3 have different controllers. I would start with updating/replacing USB3 drivers, if that doesn't help, it's probable some pins in USB3 ports have bad contact.
 

Swa5931

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Aug 26, 2020
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  1. replace the drivers
  2. could be faulty USB 3 connects (pins)
  3. could be that your data drives aren't compatible with USB3.0 but that shouldn't matter.
if its under warranty I would send it in before it expires. If its not under warranty anymore, i would pop it open and see for yourself
ONLY OPEN IT UP IF YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT/FOR
 

PC-Cobbler

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Thanks to CountMike and Swa5931 for their replies.

The HP laptop is from 2013, so any warranty issues are moot. I don't believe the external drives are the issue, as they are SSDs with little run-time sitting in Vantec enclosures. The contacts on the USB 3.0 ports could be worn off, but given that the standard is 1500 insertions, minimum, the laptop's ports would have to have been made with insufficient metal on the contacts. As to the drivers, both Windows 10 and Linux supply the drivers, so I cannot do anything about that. I don't know if it adds anything to the discussion, but the drives work okay if I connect them to the USB 3.0 port via a USB 2.0 adapter. Also, I've noticed that if I connect a USB flash drive to the USB 3.0 ports, it (SanDisk Ultra Luxe with metal case) becomes quite warm within a short time, suggesting a power misconnection of some kind.

I'll open it up and take a look at the USB 3.0 ports to see if they appear worn. I'm very familiar with building and repairing desktops, so I'm not a babe in the woods. HP in its infinite wisdom packaged four different cables (battery, power, audio, and USB) into one spare parts package, making the proposition more expensive than it needed to be, not to mention that the kit does not specify if the USB ports are 2.0 or 3.0.
 

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