Re: USB ports
If the usb port(s) are integrated on the motherboard, first check in BIOS setup to make sure they are enabled. It sounds like they are currently disabled.
Windows XP (without SP2 or higher) will only provide USB 1.1 support. When you install SP2 (or higher), you will automatically get USB 2.0 support. However, in order to get USB 2.0 support, you must have a USB 2.0 controller. No software will make a USB 1.1 controller turn into a USB 2.0 controller. In Device Manager, under USB Controllers, if there exists the word "Enhanced", that tells you that the controller is USB 2.0.
No additional software or drivers are required. Microsoft provides all support for USB Controllers.