I have a Dell Laptop running Windows XP Home, and the USB ports do not work no matter what I do. I have reinstalled drivers but this does not help. In the device manager the USB ports are there and it says device is working properly but if I plug a uSB device in nothing happens.
USB ports have data lines and can also supply power to a device. Does the device you are using draw power from the USB port? If so, try connecting a device which has its own power supply to determine if the fault is on the data or power lines.