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I took a week off of work and brought my laptop with me. When I got back, the mouse and keyboard I use weren't working anymore.

Both devices work in my BIOS. The keyboard works in grub. Neither works in a virtual console (I installed gpm to check the mouse) or in xorg. I see messages about unplugging each in dmesg. I've tried removing all other peripherals except for each of these two input devices.

lsusb lists both items:

$ lsusb
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 0a5c:5800 Broadcom Corp. BCM5880 Secure Applications Processor
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 046d:c52b Logitech, Inc. Unifying Receiver                     <---
Bus 002 Device 006: ID 045e:00db Microsoft Corp. Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 V1.0 <---
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 1bcf:2b83 Sunplus Innovation Technology Inc. 
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 413c:8187 Dell Computer Corp. DW375 Bluetooth Module
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:0024 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

But hardinfo sees nothing:

hardinfo

I've been using linux as my primary OS for ~12 years and this has me stymied.

The only lead I've got so far is that I was tinkering with grub to change my virtual terminal resolution. I saw that that affects mouse and keyboard on some systems, so I undid the changes and updated grub. I'm still get a text grub, but I think that was the case before I made the changes.

Oh yeah, I've also been having power issues. The machine doesn't poweroff or reboot anymore. No idea when this started - I only noticed when I took it home. I'm not trying to tack that on to this ticket, but am listing it as a clue on the off chance it's related.

My laptop in question is a Dell e6420.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ok. I haven't figured out how my machine reach this state, but I think I've got the problem solved.

I booted from the live cd and copied some logs and such to my hard drive so I could compare against the system when it was running. One of these items was the output of lsmod. The livecd was using hid, usbhid, hid_microsoft, and hid_logitech_dj. Aside from my only microsoft device being my keyboard and my only logitech device being my mouse, I remembered hid was necessary to get my usb joysticks working way back when.

modprobe didn't fix the problem - the modules were all missing. (Still not sure how this happened.)

To install the modules I needed my kernel's extra drivers package. I included the kernel itself, just in case I needed a reinstall. sudo apt-get install linux-image-{,extra-}uname -r

After that, modprobe added the usb devices and I was good to go.

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