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What is a USB ?
A USB is a Universal Serial Bus. This is a specification that was developed to establish communication between the computer and your devices. USB specification was invented by Ajay Bhatt when he was working with Intel. His aim was to replace the COM ports, Printer ports, parallel ports and all other serial ports that requires you to restart your computer before Windows could recognize the device or hardware. USB was designed to recognize the device or hardware the moment you plug it into the USB port. Or in other words, USB is a Plug and Play interface.
When was USB Invented ?
In 1994 a group of seven companies namely Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Nortel worked on USB with an intention to to make it easier for users to connect external devices to their computer by replacing the multitude of connectors at the back of PCs, simplifying software configuration of all devices connected to USB, as well as permitting greater data transfer bandwidths for external devices. Since then there was no looking back. The first USB silicon was made by Intel in Intel in 1995.
USB 1.0 Device Drivers Released
The first USB device was made in January 1995 with USB 1.0 specification and the USB 1.0 Drivers were released. The data transfer rates were not very impressive. But the USB technology had arrived. USB 1.0 Drivers were introduced into Windows Operating System soon as Microsoft saw the huge potential of USB devices and USB Drivers.
Why are USB 1.1 Drivers & Hardware Popular even Today ?
By 1998 USB 1.1 specification was designed with a better data transfer rate 12 MB per second and became very popular. A lot of hardware was getting designed around USB 1.1 Drivers. The hardware those days did not have much features and the world was happy just to use the USB plug and play technology. Again the Generic USB 1.1 Drivers preloaded into Windows operating system was adequate for a PC user to start using the hardware designed on the USB 1.1 architecture. It is amazing that even after more than a decade, USB 1.1 Drivers and devices are still being used worldwide. The only difference is that the Generic USB 1.1 Drivers at times does not work with all hardware and the user has to Update USB 1.1 Drivers from the hardware manufacturer driver disk or from their website. Some hardware works but needs the updated drivers to be downloaded from the online website to access the advanced features available already or introduced into the hardware much after the user bought the hardware.
USB 2.0 Device Drivers
Then came the real breakthrough in April 2000 with USB 2.0 by Hewlett Packard or HP and Intel with Lucent Technologies now called Alcatel-Lucent, NEC and Philips. Its data transfer was a mindblowing 57 MB/s. Every device today is manufactured with USB connectivity and USB Drivers usually embedded in the device itself. Some times USB drivers CD are also provided. The USB 2.0 was only half-Duplex capable and directionally controlled by the host. Once again the manufacturer has put so many advanced features into the USB 2.0 hardware, that the Generic Windows USB 2.0 Drivers are almost useless except for some hardware like your USB mouse, USB keyboards, USB hard drives, USB CD DVD etc. For the rest you need to Download Updated USB 2.0 Drivers from the driver disk or from the manufacturer website which will have the latest updated drivers with all the bugs fixed and many more advanced new features introduced after you bought your USB 2.0 hardware.
USB 3.0 Device Drivers
Most people are not even aware about the USB 3.0 invention done recently. The USB 3.0 specification is far more advanced technology that allows full-Duplex communication and a mind blowing superfast data rate of 572 MB per second which was thought as impossible before. The USB 3.0 Driver specification was released by Intel in 2009 and the products have started being manufactured with USB 3.0 in January 2010. If you have bought a USB 3.0 hardware or device Download & Update your USB 3.0 Drivers to ensure that you get the full value for your money.
How do I differentiate USB 1.0 Ports from USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 Ports?
Each of your USB devices work on its own USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 specification. But your USB ports are the same to look t. If you can plug in your USB device connector cable into a USB port then your PC or Laptop can work on that port. Windows will Automatically Install USB Drivers appropriate for your USB specification because the USB device will identify itself to Windows intelligently and make Windows understand which USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 and then Windows has no problem in installing the generic drivers available with the operating system. If the Windows installed in your computer is not having these USB Drivers or if your USB device is not functioning with the Windows USB drivers, then you will have to update the USB drivers yourself from the CD or from the manufacturer website. We strongly recommend that you Download Automatic USB Driver Update Tool which will install the latest updated drivers from the original authentic manufacturer website of your PC hardware in less than 3 minutes.
How Many USB Device can be Connected to a Computer ?
Most people think that cannot connect more than 2 or 4 USB devices to their computer. This is not true. You can attach unlimited number of USB Devices to your PC or Laptop. A USB host can have many host controllers. Each host controller can provide one or more USB port including Hub devices if present. Amazingly you can connect more than 127 devices to a single host controller. USB devices are linked in series through hubs. There is always one USB hub known as the USB root hub, which is built into the host controller. The sharing hubs allow multiple computers to access the same peripheral device(s) and work by switching access between PCs, either automatically or manually. Sharing hubs are very popular in small-office environments.
Why No USB Internal Hard Drives are Used ?
USB was not meant to be a primary bus for a computer's internal storage requirement. This is a device used for quick use on a PC which is already booted up. Also most keyboards and mouse has changed to USB but you will still see a small USB to serial adapter coming with it because most motherboards manufactured today still has the PS/2 ports and protocol. But soon you will find all keyboards, mouse, hard drives and most devices will come only available in USB mode.
Damaged USB Cables ?
Most problems start with incorrectly inserting your USB cable into the USB port. All USB connector are designed to insert only in one way. If you insert the USB connector upside down then it won't go in. But if you apply force the USB port or your connector will get damaged. USB cables with USB connectors are manufactured very rugged. They are designed for more than 10,000 insert and remove cycle. Even a young child can do it because of the safety features built into it. USB receptacles comes in USB A, USB B, mini and micro modes.
What is the Recommended Lenght of USB Cables ?
The USB cables should not ideally be more than 3 meters in length because the USB cable response times should not be more than 5.2 nano seconds per meter (or 192,000 km per second) for USB 1.0 and not more than 5 meters for USB 2.0 and above. For longer lenght USB extenders are used with CAT5 cables which allows upto 50 meters. But remember that maximum data transfer rate reduces when you increase the cable length more than 3 meters. This applies even to your Phone USB cables.
Regularly Download & Update USB Drivers
A USB device once plugged into the USB port will automatically tell Windows that I am a printer or I am Canon camera model no. This identifying information is stored in the hardware device which gets activated the moment you insert the USB device into the port. This also triggers Windows to understand what the USB device is (like a Printer, a Camera, a flash USB pen Drive, USB CD writer etc and install the required USB Driver for making that USB hardware work. Today almost every hardware is available with USB connectivity like your smart phones, PDA's Video Game Consoles etc.But each of them requires a specific set of USB drivers to enable all the features of the USB device. However, you may be able to run the basic functions of any USB device with the Generic USB Drivers available in Windows which it would install automatically. So regularly Download & Update USB Drivers for better PC performance and making your hardware get the bug fixes and newly introduced hardware features.
USB Device Not Recognized or Not USB Driver Error ?
Very Often when you insert your USB device or hardware you will find that Windows gives an error that the USB device is not recognized and the hardware fails to work. This is because some Generic USB Drivers were packed with Windows CD but your device was manufacatured much later than that and these USB Drivers are not available in the Windows System Folder. Windows has recognized the device but due to the Missing USB drivers you are not able to use the hardware.
Advantages of Updating USB Drivers ?
USB or Universal Serial Bus specification was developed originally for high data transfer rates and to use a hardware without rebooting the computer. Manufacturers today give far too many features in their hardware. The Generic USB Drivers installed with Windows cannot use these advanced features unless you Download and install the latest updated drivers from the manufacturer websites. Most reputed hardware manufacturers of Printers, Modems, Audio hardware, SmartPhones etc release new drivers almost every month with more and more new features. Unless you download and install these updated drivers regularly your will not be able to use those additional features. So it is very important that you update your USB Drivers regularly. In fact you should update drivers of all the hardware installed in your PC or Laptop at least once a month to keep your hardware performing like new always and improve the overall computer performance. Finding the original manufacturer website for each hardware and then downloading the model specific drivers again a very difficult. Experts strongly recommend to Download Automatic USB Driver Update Tool that can update your USB Drivers, Audio Drivers, Video Drivers, Motherboard Drivers and all other Windows Device Drivers for all the hardware installed in your PC and Laptop Automatically in less than 3 minutes.