USB ports all stop working
due to February 2018 Windows update

ProblemThe Windows update KB4074588 causes all USB ports on some Windows computers to stop working, including the keyboard and mouse.  This problem affects less than 5% of computers running Windows 10.  I know of no way to tell which computers are vulnerable - if you know how, please email me.  Microsoft has not announced a date when they will fix (or replace) update KB4074588 so it will be safe to install.

Does this problem affect you?    Your computer may have already installed this update, and it is still working OK.   To find out if it is already installed, open an elevated command prompt and type in this command    wmic qfe list    and then the computer will list the installed updates.  If it is already installed, you can ignore this problem and keep using your computer normally.

Prevention:  You can use this tool from Microsoft to hide and thus disable the KB4074588 update which causes the problem.  If you run the Microsoft tool and it does list the KB4074588 update, that means it has already been installed. The tool will list only pending updates that have not installed yet.    Alternatively, you can disable all Windows updates.  Regardless, I recommend turning off automatic driver updates since they can cause the video on your computer to stop working in the future.  Disabling driver updates will not solve this USB problem addressed on this web page. 

IMPORTANT - before applying this solution, disconnect your computer from the internet by unplugging the network cable or disabling your WiFi, so the problem does not immediately recur once you turn it back on again.  After applying this solution, disable all Windows updates and turn off automatic driver updates using the instructions below.  Once they are disabled, you can reconnect your computer to the internet. 

Fixing it if it has already hit your computer:  An overview of the solution is posted on Microsoft's website.  For computer professionals, this post contains all the information you need to solve the problem, but it does not explain it well enough for casual users. More detailed instructions appear below for the casual user.  Microsoft suggests running this fix in recovery mode, which may or may not work.  If you do try to use recovery mode, boot to the command prompt instead of Safe Mode. 


DETAILED   SOLUTION


Preparation


First, turn off the computer that has the non-working keyboard and mouse.  Either unplug the network cable or turn off the WiFi so it is no longer connected to the internet.  You will need a Windows repair CD, Windows repair flash drive, or Windows installation media.  If you already have one, skip to the next section.  If you don't have one, you will need to make one or borrow one from a friend.  If your computer is more than about 6 years old, you will need to use a CD, but newer computers can do this using a USB flash drive.  Instructions to make a recovery CD are here

Make a repair flash drive or recovery CD if you don't already have one

Find a USB flash drive with capacity of 2 GB or larger.  Using a working computer, download this zipfile.  Open your Downloads folder and unzip the file by dragging it with the RIGHT mouse button onto your flash drive.  When you let go of the mouse button it will give you the choice to extract the files.  Extract them.  Once they are extracted, remove the flash drive from the working computer and insert it into the older computer. 

Start the computer in recovery/repair/install mode

If you are lucky, the computer will boot to the CD or flash drive that you have inserted.  If not, you will need to access the startup options of the computer to tell it to boot to the flash drive or CD.  The method to do this depends on the brand of computer and requires very fast reflexes.  The methods vary wildly from computer to computer, even with individual brands.  For a Dell computer, immediately after turning it on, press the F12 key on the top row of the keyboard.  Keep tapping it rapidly and you should get a boot menu.  Select Startup options and boot from the flash drive.  For a Lenovo, immediately after turning it on, press the Esc key on the top left of the keyboard,  Keep tapping it rapidly to get the menu and choose Startup options.  For most HPs, do the same using the F10 key. 

If you can't start in recovery/repair/install mode, try this method instead:  

Hold down the power button for 4-5 seconds during the actual Windows boot process.  One must do this 3-4 times in a row. Then drill down to the command prompt window.

If that doesn't work either, once Windows is up and running, while holding down the Shift key, click on Power/Restart. 


Getting to the command prompt

Once the computer starts up, tell it you want to Repair, then select Troubleshoot, then choose Advanced.  Then run the command prompt.  This will give you a black-and-white screen as shown at the right. The text you see displayed will be somewhat different,

Determine which drive letter your Windows installation is on

At the command prompt, type the following, with each command on a separate line. 

     cd..       (note there are two periods immediately following the letters cd)
     cd..       (yes, you need to type it again)
     dir

The computer will list the files and folders on the c drive.  Do you see a folder titled Windows and a folder titled Users?  If so, Windows is on the c drive.  If not, type these two lines:

    d:
    dir

The computer will list the files and folders on the d drive.  Do you see a folder titled Windows and a folder titled Users?  If so, Windows is on the d drive.  If not, type these two lines:
    e:
    dir

The computer will list the files and folders on the e drive.  Do you see a folder titled Windows and a folder titled Users?  If so, Windows is on the e drive.  If not, type these two lines:

    f:
    dir

The computer will list the files and folders on the f drive.  Do you see a folder titled Windows and a folder titled Users?  If so, Windows is on the f drive.  If not, repeat with increasing letters until you locate which drive letter Windows is installed on. 

Type or run the command   

If you are using my zipfile, skip to the section below labeled Using my Zipfile.  If not, type the appropriate command below, or paste the command in from a flash drive.    If you are not sure if your computer is running the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, type both lines so one of them will work. 

For 32-bit versions of Windows, type this (replace the c: with d: or e: or f: or whichever letter drive your Windows installation is on):

    dism.exe /image:c:\ /remove-package/packagename:Package_for_RollupFix~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~16299.248.1.17

For 64-bit versions of Windows, type this (replace the c: with d: or e: or f: or whichever letter drive your Windows installation is on):
   
    dism.exe /image:c:\ /remove-package/packagename:Package_for_RollupFix~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~16299.248.1.17

The computer will think for a minute or two and then tell you that it is finished, or it will give you an error message.  If you get the error message, use the other version (32-bit or 64-bit) that you didn't use the first time.  Now you should get a successful message or an error message.  Remove the flash drive or CD and restart the computer.  Make sure to disable all Windows updates and turn off automatic driver updates.  You have successfully restored the USB and keyboard on your computer. 

Using my Zipfile if your Windows installation is on the C drive

If your Windows is on a different letter drive and you are using my zipfile, skip ahead to the next section.  Once you see this black-and-white screen, if you are using my zipfile and if your Windows installation is on the C drive, type FixUSBproblem32.bat and hit enter.  The computer will think for a minute or two and then tell you that it is finished, or it will give you an error message.  Now type the command FixUSBproblem64.bat and hit enter. Again, you will either get a successful message or an error message.  One of these two commands should result in success.  Remove the flash drive or CD and restart the computer.  Make sure to disable all Windows updates and turn off automatic driver updates after it restarts.  You have successfully restored the USB and keyboard on your computer. 

Using my zipfile if your Windows installation is on a different drive

Type FixUSBproblem32.bat and hit enter.  You will get an error message.  Use the up-arrow key on the keyboard to move the mouse up to the long line that starts with dism.exe.  Carefully change the drive letter c toward the beginning of the line from    /image:c:\   to the letter where your Windows is installed so it might say   /image:d:\   for example.  Don't change any other letters on this line.  Move the mouse to the end of the line and then hit the Enter key.  The computer will think for a minute or two and then tell you that it is finished, or it will give you an error message.  Now type the command FixUSBproblem64.bat and hit enter. Again, you will either get an error message.  Use the arrow keys to change the drive letter, move the cursor to the end of the line, then hit Enter.  You will either get success or an error message.  One of these two commands should result in success.  Now remove the flash drive or CD and restart the computer.  Make sure to disable all Windows updates and turn off automatic driver updates after it restarts.  You have successfully restored the USB and keyboard on your computer. 





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