To reproduce my problem:

  1. Start up laptop (Macbook Pro, version 10.8.5) with it connected to an external monitor (Apple Thunderbolt Display) that has the mouse and keyboard connected to the USB ports on the external monitor. (At this point, USB mouse and keyboard still work fine)

  2. Remove thunderbolt display cable from laptop.

  3. Reconnect thunderbolt display cable, re-enabling external display. The USB mouse and keyboard do not work and are unresponsive.

Interestingly, the ethernet connected to the external monitor does work, which makes me think the issue is isolated to the USB ports. Connecting and reconnecting the USB devices to the external monitor doesn't work either.

The only way to fix the issue is to restart my computer.

Any ideas on what's going on and how to fix it?

  • Could you help us by publishing the Console log at the time stamp of the event.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 20:47
  • Turn off Microsoft Outlook and try without it.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


Thanks @Buscar웃 for answering this. The problem was Outlook. Dang Microsoft.

Turning off Outlook before I reconnect the Thunderbolt display cable solves the non-responsive USB device issue.

Huge bonus points to whoever can get MS to fix this issue in Outlook 2011. For those interested in the error messages associated with this issue, see the console messages link above.

  • Update: I don't have this issue at all in the latest Mac OS X (I'm on 10.9.1 now), regardless of whether Outlook is open or not.
    – ccnokes
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 20:10

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