make and model of the laptop?
have you made any recent changes? (at least between the last time you used the USB ports and now)
have you run a registry cleaner like CCleaner, and antivirus like Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes? Sometimes malware can do funny things to USB ports.
Erm, i don't have any viruses. Uh, i think the laptop is called "vostro 1500" or something.
i'm not good with laptops.