It sounds like he may have disabled the USB or removed the USB drivers from the laptop.
Are you running Windows XP?
If so, do this:
Connect that computer to a LAN through the network jack. Run a check for Windows updates. It may have the driver you need in there, under the hardware updates.
Next, go to the device manager under "My Computer"
Look at the USB devices and see if they are showing errors. Click on them to see that they are enabled, and also if they have a driver registered.
That is all I can think of for that issue right now. Post back with your findings.
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