My friend needed to print something so I gave him my flash drive to transfer the files to me so that I could print them. As soon as he plugged the flash drive into his computer, his USB mouse and USB keyboard stopped working. The problem is not intermittent like most problems of this type that I read about.

We restarted his computer several times using the main power button since we had no other way, and it still doesn't work. We don't believe that the ports are broken because the light on the wired mouse still turns on. Also, the keyboard works in the BIOS, just not in Windows 8. We also tried moving the devices around to different ports but no luck.

Nothing is wrong with the flash drive as far as I can tell. In fact, it was completely empty and I had just formatted to FAT days before. The flash drive works fine on my laptops (Windows 8 and Linux Mint 17).

Ordinarily I would blame the USB drivers and say that we should reinstall them but we can't even log into his Windows install at this point.

Does anyone have any idea what could have caused this and what we can do about it?

  • You didn't, by any chance, find that USB thumb drive of yours in the parking lot of your company? Similar lure has been known to be programmed to pose as HID device (e.g. keyboard and/or mouse) to perform (potentially malicious) actions. Check out "The Glitch" among the projects that have miniature programmable USB chips that would fit a thumb drive form factor. Mouses and thumb drives have been known to be "trojanized" this way to lure people into plugging them into company computers. Both for pen-testing and likely for actual malicious purposes, too. – 0xC0000022L Jul 28 '14 at 22:37
  • That wouldn't explain why it only affected one of three computers. Also, would that be viable after formatting of said flash drive? And honestly, it's old enough that I don't remember where it came from. – user3380049 Jul 28 '14 at 22:53
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    Sorry if you already have, but did you try starting in Safe Mode? A lot of times that can help pinpoint a driver issue. – jAce Jul 28 '14 at 23:22
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    You did not specifically state that even after removal of the flash, the input devices are still not working? – Psycogeek Jul 28 '14 at 23:56

Same issue here, but of the intermittent variety.

Plugging in a USB drive into one of my PC case's USB ports caused the mouse to be horrendously laggy, and broke my keyboard altogether.

Related links


When using a USB 2.0 2.4GHz wireless peripheral device (such as a mouse, keyboard, or headphones) with a PC that also has a USB 3.0 peripheral device plugged in, you may experience erratic operation caused by interference. This is especially likely to happen when using USB 3.0 remote hard drives or flash drives.

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