Author Topic: Tougher than it sounds - USB port powers down when display shuts down  (Read 2219 times)

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Offline RChadwick

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I've got a Dell 7130 Tablet. Whenever the display shuts off (Close the lid while docked, inactivity timeout, running Nirsoft's utility that shuts down display), the USB port powers down and disconnects. Using a USB meter, I have verified power shuts off. I'm running a fresh install of Windows 8.1 x64. I have gone into power management and configured everything USB to not shut off to save power. I have configured the lid action to do nothing.

I have found only one thing that disables this. If I uninstall the Video driver (Intel 4200), the USB stays powered. I have done a fresh install of Windows, and the USB port is fine. Then, the very next thing I do is install the Video driver, and the port shuts off. I have installed every driver except video, and all is good. My best guess is that the Video driver is sending a signal to the system that the screen is off, and it's telling something else to shut off the USB. I have gone through every BIOS option, and every version I can install.

Does anyone have an idea what this could be? Anyone have this tablet? I briefly tried a 5130 (Atom version of the same tablet) and it's USB port stays on fine, but it has a much older BIOS. It could be the BIOS, but I still have a hard time believing even Dell would add this feature without an option to turn it off, and keep it that way for almost 10 revisions.

Offline Boggin

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Offline RChadwick

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Thanks for the response.

I've already installed most versions of every driver on that page. I've probably spent 20 hours on this so far. I did all the easy stuff at hours 1-3.

That was funny about Dell support!

Seriously, I wouldn't waste my time. In my exchanges with even top tier support (Which you only get to with an expensive service plan, which this tablet doesn't have), more often than not Dell learned more about their product from me than the other way around. This goes double for Dell tablets. I agree they SHOULD know about this, and I suspect someone at Dell does know, but I'll never be able to talk to them. That's why this tablet is my last Dell.

Offline Boggin

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Sorry to hear about your experience with Dell Support and you're right, it can depend upon the expertise of the tech you get and the same applies to MS techs.

Does the tablet have its own option to time out the display ?.

I've never used Win 8.1 or owned a tablet but Windows has its own power options to dim or turn off the display.

It may be the Nirsoft program that is in conflict with the video drivers - have you tried it without that utility ?

Offline RChadwick

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While there was no BIOS setting about screen timeout, Windows 8.1 has the ability to configure when the display turns off. I've set it to 1 minute for testing purposes, but it works fine. I could set the display to never shut off, and the USB would be fine, but that would destroy my battery life, and it's awkward carrying a tablet without the touch screen doing something unexpected.

The Nirsoft utility is commandline, nothing installed. It simply shuts off the display when run (With the right command line options). I installed it specifically because of this issue.

Offline Boggin

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Why would you want the USB ports to remain active when you are carrying the machine around ?

Do the USB ports remain active when you use Windows power options to turn off the display ?

Offline RChadwick

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I want to use a wifi adapter connected to a VM. Wifi goes down when lid is closed. Can't use internal. Has to be USB.

Beyond that, any USB device I ever use, flash drive, etc, will do the same thing. Corruption for just closing the lid. I'd rather spend some time now fixing it right instead of years dealing with the issue.

Offline Boggin

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I just don't understand what you are wanting to achieve - if the tablet isn't in use then you don't need anything to be still active.

I only use laptops but when I'm done I shutdown and switch the power off at the wall - I don't use Hibernate and have that turned off.

Offline RChadwick

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I've never been one to advocate the 'Fix the customer, not the computer' ideology. Perhaps that is why I quit Computer Repair many years ago.

As a frame of reference, my main 'desktop' is a laptop that runs 24/7. It's really hard for a computer to bid on Ebay auctions if it's turned off. Between computers I use, and servers, I have 6 computers running 24/7. Electricity is cheap, and turning a computer on and off creates just as much 'wear and tear' as leaving it on all the time. Also, when you do as much as I do, that 5-10 seconds to get a working computer adds up.

If your roof was leaking, and the roofer you got wondered why you didn't just put a larger pot under the leak (It's easy enough to empty, and only needs to be done when it's raining), and said he doesn't understand why it's so important to you because he lives in a tent, and why don't you, how would you feel?

Anyway, after a lot of experimenting, I found that the A06 to A11 BIOS revisions work fine, but the A12-A26 versions shut the USB port off. No mention of this in the Dell BIOS notes.  Dell at their finest.

I do appreciate your help!

Offline Boggin

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I appreciate your explanation.