Printers don't recognize my laptop - USB port problem?

Sep 30, 2012
I can't get my Studio 1555 to work with any printer I've tried (running Vista Home Premium, SP2, 32-bit). I think the problem might be the USB ports or underlying power/voltage problem.

Strangely, Windows always recognizes that a printer is attached, but the printers don't recognize that my computer is attached. When I connect a printer via USB, I get the standard Vista message about needing to install a driver. But when I go through the full installation process for the printer, the install always hangs because the printer doesn't realize the computer is attached and eventually it times out. The two printers are:

- Canon Pixma MP240 (about 3 years old)

- Brother MFC-9325-CW (1 day old - purchased thinking the problem was the Canon above).

I have used different USB cables, all three of the Studios USB ports, and followed the printer install process exactly. I was on the phone with Canon Tech for an hour with no solution. With the Canon, we determined that it was not possible to manually select a USB port either, because there was no USB option from the drop-down menu (USB0001) -- only LTP1, COM, etc. I even tried connecting a powered USB hub to Canon (not Brother) and that didn't solve problem either, after reading that some Dell USB ports don't send a strong enough electrical signal to printers. I also went into Device Manager and uninstalled all instances under USB Controller there's about 17) and those re-installed but didn't help. Also puzzling, the Studio's USB ports work just fine with thumb drives and connecting my iPhone. I ran the Windows Fix-It for printers, which found no problems. I ran the Dell Diagnostics and it found no problems. To confirm, I have also ensured Dell is connected to wall power, so issue is not that I'm relying on battery power. I am using the latest Dell BIOS for my computer.

I have spent untold hours trying to fix this, and it's really getting frustrating now that my brand new Brother won't work either (it's wireless, so it will print via WiFi but too slow for printing large files).

If the USB ports do need replacement, what about installing a PCM card with USB port as an easy get around?

Any assistance is GREATLY appreciated!

Thank you.

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