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February 7, 2017

The Keyboard Adores USB 2.0

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

It’s been awhile since it mattered which port you used to connect a PC’s keyboard. Back in the old, old days, you had to use the DIN port — and the PC had to be turned off when you connected or disconnected the keyboard. Then came the PS/2 ports, one for the mouse and another for the PC. Today, everything is USB, so you’d think that using any old USB port for the keyboard would be okay, right?

Nope!

Current PCs come with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. The 3.0 ports are color-coded blue, and they work best with USB 3.0 devices, which also feature blue-colored ports and use blue-colored cables.

I don’t know if I’ve seen a new PC with all USB 3.0 ports. It seems to me that some 2.0 ports are still available. Anyway.

The USB technology allows you to connect any USB device to any USB port: If you plug a USB 3.0 hard drive into a USB 2.0 port, you can still use the hard drive, but the data transfer won’t be as fast as if you connected to a USB 3.0 port. Likewise, if you plug a USB 2.0 device into a USB 3.0 port, you can still use the device, but you won’t enjoy USB 3.0 connection speeds. These are the tales I spin in my books, but an issue exists when you connect a USB mouse or keyboard to a USB 3.0 port.

In some situations, the USB 3.0 port fails to fully read keyboard and mouse input. If you’ve experienced dropped characters or erratic mouse behavior, the solution maybe to instead connect your PC’s keyboard and mouse to a USB 2.0 port. That connection is slow enough that the keyboard and mouse problems vanish.

This problem is new to me, but then again I’ve always connected my PC’s keyboard and mouse to older USB 2.0 ports. My thinking was to save the blue, USB 3.0 ports for external storage, scanners, or whatever. In fact, unless it’s a USB 3.0 device, I generally leave my PC’s USB 3.0 ports open.

This USB/keyboard quirk is good to know, but completely unexpected. Again, what I had read was that USB is USB and the only disadvantage between 2.0 (gray) and 3.0 (blue) ports is speed. That’s apparently not the full story.

2 Comments

  1. Umm a point to remember with ver 1 (might apply to later versions) if you leave an unterminated lead connected for any period of time you run the risk of damaging the USB ports. The poly fuses that are fitted aren’t really designed to handle anything too high. I know this as an old XP machine I had I was having to switch leads all the time, got fed up and left one attached (for a couple of weeks) and splat the USB died. Thats why I prefered PS/2 for the mouse and keyboard.

    Comment by glennp — February 7, 2017 @ 4:10 am

  2. I believe in my older books, I recommend using the PS/2 ports for the keyboard and mouse if those ports are available. I did see a high-end cosole that had PS/2 ports and USB 3.0 ports. Weird, huh?

    Comment by admin — February 7, 2017 @ 7:43 am

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