questionswhy did one of my usb ports just go on the blink…

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More often than not it is just worn out. USB ports get loose, worn out etc. The only thing I can think to suggest is it reinstall the USB drivers in the control panel > hardware (assuming you are using windows) in the event that it is not because it is worn out.

Thats all I can think of for now... good luck.

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It's also advisable to make sure the cable that connects your USB port to your motherboard is still connected. It's a bit tricky if you're not familiar with the innards of a pc, but I'll see if I can find a guide on youtube explaining how to do that.

Basically, it will just be follow a gray line with either a blue or red plug on the end of it and make sure it's connected towards the bottom of the board labeled USB1 or USB2, etc.

This video might be useful in the mean time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MMAPQm8VSk

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@capguncowboy: thanx for the vid forgot to tell ya it's on my laptop.

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@jeffyn: Oh, those are normally directly soldered to the mobo on the laptop. Probably a bad connection or broken soldering. In which case, I hope you're okay with not having that 3rd port or you can solder with precision. You could replace it if the port went bad if you know how to solder. Typically, a bad port on a laptop is just something you have to be willing to live with.