I usually use the USB ports on the side but recently couldn't get a jump drive to work in one of those ports. Tech Support for the jump drive suggested I put it in one of the back ports. They said it was a common problem that the side ports didn't work sometimes. He thought it might be because the side drives aren't as strong as the back drives. Anyway, when I attempted to plug into the back ports, it wouldn't go in. The back USB ports were too small. I would think USB drives are standardized. What is going on?
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Make sure the system has the latest BIOS version from Acer website. Go into the setup utilty and load the system default settings even if you've never changed anything. See if the system responds differently. If it does not, then the problem could be driver related. A good driver update program may have success in finding updated drivers for imbedded devices like USB controllers. There are a few freeware programs available, but the good ones cost money. Hope this helps.
Check to see if something else will work on the side port. It may not necessarily be a dead port. Just something you should know too; I used to work for Wal-Mart in the electronics department and they had to recall all their firefly flash drives because they had a tendancy to malfunction. Try using it on a different computer, it might just be a dead flash drive. I hope this helps your problem and I hope your flash drive didn't have anything too important on it :x
Check if the wires connecting the USB port and the mainboard is in place. It may be loose due to transport or troubleshooting activities inside the CPU. Manufacturers usually label these wires. You can access it if you open your computer and look at the back (inside) of the front side of the CPU.