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USB hub blown other USB ports on my pc, is it safe to use?

I've just had a ten year old powered USB hub blow all but two USB ports on my 6 year old Dell XPS.

Thankfully, the only devices it fried was three mice when testing for the problem. However, I'm left with a machine with several USB ports on the motherboard not working and I have far more expensive devices I use - such as a Wacom Cintiq - that I am hesitant to use on this machine now. For the moment, the machine is working ok.

Is it ok to carry on using this machine with a brand new powered hub, to make up for the ones lost, or is it better to buy a new machine sooner rather than later?
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  1. If only that hub was the reason, than I don't see why another one (but better make) shouldn't work.
  2. I would be hesitant as much as you.
    Failures have unexpected consequences, you never know exactly what reach the electrical failure has.
    The answer to your question would be "it depends".

    First, the quality of the laptop, most don't really have protections for the USB, and if one big failure in the hub caused problems in several ports, you can't be 100% sure about the rest.

    Second, how easy/hard is for you to replace the laptop?
    If you were already planning to get a new one, or have some extra money, I would do it sooner rather than later.

    On the other hand, if you can't afford that expense now, test carefully all the ports with some other cheaper peripherals for a few days, also while poweribg on and off the laptop. This will not give you a 100% certainty, but 90% might be good enough.
  3. CountMike said:
    If only that hub was the reason, than I don't see why another one (but better make) shouldn't work.


    I'm pretty sure it was the hub, I tested mice on all ports to discover which ones were dead or not. As soon as they were
    plugged into the hub, they heated up and emitted a cracking/snapping sound.

    However, the power light switched on standby when I plugged it in at the wall and a small amount of smoke and a burning smell was emitted from the fan/psu. So I'm not sure if that was the start or that it was the effect of current coming from the hub. But the machine works ok and hasn't overheated since or done anything out of the ordinary.
  4. anbello262 said:
    I would be hesitant as much as you.
    Failures have unexpected consequences, you never know exactly what reach the electrical failure has.
    The answer to your question would be "it depends".

    First, the quality of the laptop, most don't really have protections for the USB, and if one big failure in the hub caused problems in several ports, you can't be 100% sure about the rest.

    Second, how easy/hard is for you to replace the laptop?
    If you were already planning to get a new one, or have some extra money, I would do it sooner rather than later.

    On the other hand, if you can't afford that expense now, test carefully all the ports with some other cheaper peripherals for a few days, also while poweribg on and off the laptop. This will not give you a 100% certainty, but 90% might be good enough.


    It's a Dell XPS studio desktop, it has 6 years on it and has been fine up till now. I can afford to replace it, it's more the case that I have I want to salvage from it and I can't risk using something like my Wacom Cintiq, which set me back almost £2k when I bought it 5 years ago.
  5. Best answer
    If it has decent processor and other parts, it may pay to change MB in it.
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