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Question: What is the difference between USB and USB 2?

The IT Guy says:
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, and it is the flat-shaped port that all computers have now, often as many as four or more. It is where you plug in digital cameras, thumb drives, scanners, printers, and a host of other computer peripherals. It was designed to replace the many different kinds of plugs used for add-ons and make life easier for computer users, and had the added advantage of being able to supply a low amount of power to the external devices as well.

The first version of USB worked really well for things like keyboards and mouses (I refuse to use "mice" as the plural for a computer mouse!), but it was too slow when it came to transferring lots of data. Hooking up external hard drives or digital cameras was theoretically possible, but would take an excruciatingly long amount of time to copy files.

USB 2 is an upgrade to the original USB design. It looks the same, and works with any device that worked on the first version. However, it is much faster — almost 48 times faster! Now just about any kind of device can use the USB connection, regardless of how much data is being sent through the cable.

The only reason you may even notice the existence of USB 2 is that you might encounter a message from your Windows computer when you plug a USB 2-capable device into an original USB-style port. The message will tell you that your device will work faster if you put it into a USB 2 port, which is helpful if you have one on your computer (strangely enough, some computers have a mixture of USB and USB 2 ports). However, if your computer is more than a couple of years old, it's quite possible that you don't. If you see this message and you're unsure as to whether you have USB 2, follow the link from the message to identify your USB ports. It will open a list of your USB connections and tell you which versions they are, so you know if you have to move your device to a faster port, or just ignore the message in the future!

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