In this video, learn how to check USB connections, cables, and peripherals. Ensure that you're using the proper connector and type of port.
- [Instructor] The majority of PC peripherals use the USB port to connect to the console. The exceptions are some audio devices, the monitor, wireless networks and the network, the wired one. Otherwise if it's a peripheral and it's available to your PC a USB cable most likely connects it. The USB cable features two ends and two connector types. The standard USB cable features A and B ends with the A end connecting to the computer or to a hub and the B end connecting to a peripheral.
A whole slate of connector types is available including USB mini, micro and the new USB-C connector which can be plugged in the right way every time. Further the USB 3.0 specification allows for high speed devices such as hard drives to be attached to the PC. USB 3.0 connectors can can look different from older connectors and they are often colored blue. The bottom line here is to check the connection ensure that the peripheral is plugged in and that the cable isn't damaged.
If the PC runs out of USB ports you can add a USB hub to the system. The hub is a peripheral itself adding more USB ports for more devices all told you can attach up to 127 devices to your PC although I assume you'll use a quantity far less than that. To review peripherals and their connections in Windows press the Windows + I key combination to bring up the Settings app. Choose Devices, choose Connected Devices.
Each of the items shown in this list is a peripheral available to this computer. This list doesn't include everything for example printers and scanners are listed in the Printers & scanners category and if this computer had a Bluetooth radio adapter you would see Bluetooth peripherals appear in a Bluetooth category. Also this list is pretty to look at but it's not very informative. To see more information scroll down and choose Devices and Printers. The Devices and Printers screen is part of the control panel, it provides a complete list of peripherals including wireless devices, media devices available on the network, printers and so on.
For more details on a connection return to the Settings app and choose Device Manager. In the Device Manager window open the item Universal Serial Bus that's USB controllers. Here you'll see a list of all USB ports available to the PC including any attached USB hubs and devices that may contain a pass-through USB port such as an external hard drive. If any problems are found with the USB hub a yellow icon flags the hub's hardware in the Device Manager window.
For issues with USB devices the biggest problem happens with USB powered devices, these are peripherals that use the USB port's power supply as the device's power supply. For example my PC scanner uses the USB cable for both the power supply and data. For these devices, it's best to connect the USB cable to a powered USB port. All the USB ports on the console are powered. To determine whether a USB hub is powered or not check to see whether it has a separate power cord if so and if the hub also plugs into the wall then it's a powered USB port.
If the hub isn't powered and you connect a peripheral that needs power then that might explain why the peripheral isn't working. Also some devices benefit from a direct connection to the console, for example if your USB hard drive isn't performing up to specs consider connecting it directly to the console. Another issue with performance concerns USB 3.0 devices while you can use older USB connections with a USB 3.0 device, doing so does not provide the peripheral with a kind of data through put that matches it's potential.
Use a USB 3.0 port for USB 3.0 devices. Finally understand that the peripheral itself may have issues, for example my USB powered scanner has no on-off switch. When the software can't find the scanner then I must disconnect and reconnect the device to get it to work. Further while most USB devices work right away some USB peripherals may require extra software to function. Those fancy gaming mouses or computer keyboards they need software installed so that you can access the peripherals specific functions.
The Windows update service might not locate the software so instead you need to visit the device manufacturers website to download the proper drivers. Always ensure that you visit the manufacturer's website directly not another website that claims to host the files. As a tip check the mouse or keyboard's notification icon on the task bar. In many cases you can click on that icon to quickly access the manufacturer's website to check for software updates.
- Diagnosing the causes of PC issues
- Troubleshooting hardware and software
- Performing startup and system restore steps
- Accessing the Task Manager
- Using the Registry Editor
- Fixing Windows
- Maintaining storage drives
- Restoring network connectivity