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Problems With Usb Ports

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I use an external hard drive but recently a message came up saying not enough power. What does this mean?

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No idea have you tried uninstalling it then reinstalling ?

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Some USB cables only carry data between devices.

Some USB cables can carry data and power to an external power device that needs power eg an external HD.

 

Use the original USB cable or keep trying other USB cables until one works

Rarely the USB port may not be set up, use another USB port.

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Use a Y lead which plugs in to two USB ports (something like THIS). Just make sure it has the right plug to fit your external HDD

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the message says Power surge on USB port -  Unknown USB device needs more power than the port can supply.

I have used this external hard drive for my back ups for months - this message is new and strangely the hard drive doesnt show up when I open My PC

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If you've used it in the past and it's been OK with the same cable, there are a few possibilities.

 

USB Cable

USB port on PC/laptop has died. Could be dirty connectors. It could also be power saving on the system. As above, try all USB ports after cleaning and checking the settings.

The USB board on the drive is also a fairly common problem.

 

If a USB device is 'unknown' It won't show up. It will usually show in device manager as an unknown USB device and have the warning sign on it.

 

If it turns out to be the board in the drive, most have a standard 2.5" drive inside. You can remove the drive and use it directly inside a PC, or buy another USB caddy for it.

 

What drive is it?

What type of PC are you plugging it into? (PC/Laptop etc)

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Have you changed which USB port on the computer you plug the hard drive into?

 

USB 3 ports can supply more power than USB 2 ones. USB 3 ports typically have blue plastic on the inside of their connectors, USB 2 ones are probably a different colour. Make sure you are plugging the drive into a USB 3 port.

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I have tried all the ports - they are blue so I assume USB3.  I am using a Dell Intel i3 and trying to open a WD element external hard drive.  Also I have toshiba external hard drive and a WD passport external hard drive none are opening and the same message comes up - Power surge on USB port -  Unknown USB device needs more power than the port can supply.

I have followed the instructions on the message - reset etc. and restart computer but no luck still got the problem.

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If they're all doing it then it's the laptop. You can buy a powered USB hub and plug that into the laptop and the drive into the hub.

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I am using a Dell PC - the message comes up on every usb slot - so how would I plug a powered usb hub in.?

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You plug the USB hub into one of your USB ports. If it's genuinely a power problem then it should sort it because your PC is no longer having to power the drives, it's the powered hub that will be supplying the power to them. Amazon etc are pretty good with returns so you could always buy one and return it if it turns out not to be the problem.

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On 16/08/2021 at 21:32, smary said:

I have tried all the ports - they are blue so I assume USB3.  I am using a Dell Intel i3 and trying to open a WD element external hard drive.  Also I have toshiba external hard drive and a WD passport external hard drive none are opening and the same message comes up - Power surge on USB port -  Unknown USB device needs more power than the port can supply.

I have followed the instructions on the message - reset etc. and restart computer but no luck still got the problem.

So, 3 portable drives and 3 different USB cables? The odds are pretty low that all drives failed at the same time. It could be a broken USB controller in the laptop, but I'd be trying other things before I went for that.

 

Turn off any power saving options in any programs and Windows.

 

Remove all other USB devices that are plugged in. (leave them out while testing) Give one of the HDDs a try at this point. Remove it after testing. If it works, it could be another device causing the problem.

 

Is it the same on battery only and plugged in?

 

Turn laptop off, remove battery (if you can) Then put the battery back and restart.

 

Check USB drivers (if it's new, try rolling back)

 

Check for BIOS/Firmware updates

 

Change the power profile to 'Performance' (change this back after testing if you want to)

 

Check the power settings on the USB ports via Device Manager. Device Manager>USB>Right click on each, select properties and check the power tab. Untick any power saving. (some won't have a power tab, just go to the next one)

 

You could also uninstall the USB hubs via device manager and reboot. Windows will see, and reinstall them.

 

Lastly, if none of the above help, back to Google. But Dell i3 won't help. A full model number will be needed. Search something like 'DEll (model number) USB power problems'. As above, a powered USB hub might solve the problem if all the other checks don't solve the problem.

 

 

7 hours ago, smary said:

I am using a Dell PC - the message comes up on every usb slot - so how would I plug a powered usb hub in.?

A powered hub does what the name says, it has its own power for the devices...doesn't use the PC/Laptop USB power. Only data uses the USB cable.

 

With the limited info on the PC, I had a quick look on Google. A lot of posts about this message on Dell. Most of what was said to try is in my list above. One that wasn't, was to uninstall all the USB HUBS/Controller drivers and reboot. Windows will just pick them up and reinstall. Use device manager to uninstall. Check for updated BIOS and install first, if there is one.

 

I can't see the error or PC settings so it's a 'best guess' There's always an element of risk when you start altering things like this. You have to make the choice on what you're comfortable doing. If you use Teamviewer, PM me, I don't mind having a quick look. The program is free for personal use. You can also see exactly what I'll be doing on your screen. Again, your choice.

 

EDIT: Just noticed that I had mentioned uninstalling the USB before. An well, mentioned it twice!!

Edited by zach
Added an EDIT:

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