USB 3.0 Ports and USB 2.0 Devices

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other class compliant usb icon3Since it's inception, the USB protocol has gone through three major revisions: USB 1, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0/3.1. The USB 3.0 spec requires that it be fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices. However, not all USB 3.0 ports or the computers they're connected to will achieve this USB 2.0 backwards compatibility properly. Here are some ways to identify and troubleshoot USB 3.0 related issues.

  1. Identify if your computer has USB 3.0 ports.

    • Look at the physical ports on your computer. A USB 3.0 port will be marked either by a blue color on the port itself, or by markings next to the port; either "SS" (Super Speed) or "3.0".

      USB 3porta         USB 3portb

    • Check the feature or technical specifications for your computer

    • Check the system properties of your computer:
      • For Windows computers, navigate to the Device Manager, locate the Universal Serial Bus Controllers listing at the bottom of the list, and expand it. If you see USB 3.0, XHCI or Super Speed listed, you have USB 3.0 ports. 
      • For Macs, from the Apple menu, navigate to About this Mac > More Info > System Report. In the Hardware section, click USB. There will be a selection(s) for USB 3.0 here if you have them. There are some other troubleshooting considerations in this Apple Article.

  2. Depending on your operating system and computer model, it may be necessary to update to the latest chipset drivers for your USB 3.0 architecture. For example, Windows 7 and earlier is not inherently compatible with USB 3.0, so drivers are required for any USB 3.0 ports on your computer. To locate the USB 3.0 chipset:

    • Open the Device Manager, expand the Universal Serial Bus Controllers listing, and expand it. Locate the Host Controller and/or Root Hub listing:

      USB 3portc

      Note the manufacturer of these chipsets (Intel as in the picture above), and visit their website to ensure you're updated to the latest drivers. here are some common USB 3.0 chipset developer's websites:
    • Note: If using Windows 8 or 8.1, USB 3.0 should already be support natively. However, if you are experiencing trouble, it may be a good idea to update or reinstall the USB 3.0 chipset drivers using the same method above. 

  3. One last option for Windows users, only to be done with detailed instructions from your computer manufacturer, would be to disable the xHCI Controller in your system BIOS. This will effectively disable USB 3.0 functionality so Windows will see all ports as USB 2.0.

  4. Connecting your USB 2.0 device to a USB 3.0 port using a USB 2.0 hub may be an effective workaround for any issues you've found are due solely to the USB 3.0 port. 

Further Technical Support

The suggestions above should help you quickly determine if a product is functional, and to help you overcome common setup obstacles. If you require further assistance with product setup or have determined that the product is NOT functioning correctly, contact the Technical Support team or refer to some of the related articles below:

Technical Support:

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