Tips and hints on installing USB drivers
What is USB
The USB (Universal Serial Bus) is one of many possible ways to connect devices such as scanners, digital cameras, and many other computer peripherals to your computer. USB offers faster transfer rates than the traditional parallel and serial ports, and also allows power to flow through it. This makes USB devices versatile and light as they do not necessarily need a separate power supply.
USB and Windows compatibility
Most versions of Windows support USB, although Windows 95 support is erratic. To be sure that your computer properly supports USB, you should check the Device Manager and look for the USB setting. To do that, right-click on “My Computer” icon and choose “Properties”. Then click the Device Manager tab, and scroll down. You should see a USB controller entry, and there should be no exclamation point next to it.
As mentioned before, USB was not around when Windows 95 was released, and as such Windows 95 has very limited support for USB devices. Even later copies of Windows 95 only have a USB Supplement which attempts to add USB functionality. In reality USB and Windows 95 is difficult to work together. Many devices state that they only work on Windows 98 and above, but even if the device doesn't specify this you should assume that it will probably not work in Windows 95.
Windows NT has no USB support whatsoever. You will need to upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP for USB functionality.
Installing USB Devices
You are only able to install a USB device if you have a USB port on your PC. Look for one or more rectangular ports on the front, side, or rear of your PC, with the USB symbol next to them.
Each device should come with its own set of drivers and instructions, which you should follow. If this is not available, the preferred way of installing a USB device is to boot your PC with the device disconnected.
When Windows has booted and completed loading, plug the USB device in. Windows should pop up saying that a new device has been attached, and either install or prompt you for the drivers.
In more detail:
- Step 1: Install Device Software
Some devices, such as scanners, require that you install special software in order for them to work. If your device requires special software, install it now.
- Step 2: Turn The Device On
First, connect the device's power cable. Some devices need to be plugged into a wall outlet. If the device you're installing needs to be plugged in, plug it in and turn it on.
- Step 3: Connect The USB Cable
The device comes with a USB cable. The cable has a rectangular end and a square end. Plug the square end into the device, and the rectangular end into the computer. The USB cable connects only one way, so don't force it. If you don't have a free USB port on your PC, you can buy a USB hub that will give you four USB ports that you can plug devices into. And if you don't have a USB port, you can install one in your computer.
- Step 4: Restart The Computer
After you restart your computer, Windows recognizes that you've added new hardware and an Add New Hardware Wizard launches. Follow the directions for installing your new hardware. If you have a disk from the manufacturer, insert it when asked to, so that Windows will use the manufacturer's drivers. You also can install some USB devices when the computer is still running. In that case, wait a few seconds after you install it, and the Add New Hardware Wizard appears.
There could be numerous reasons why USB is not working on. Some things to check are:
Make sure that you have the latest drivers, check the vendor’s webpage.
- USB is not enabled in the PC’s BIOS. Enter the BIOS and check in Integrated Peripherals or Features. There should be an option to Enable USB.
- Check Device Manager. You should see some controllers under System Devices or USB Devices. If these are not present or have crosses next to them they will need attention.
- Also in Device Manager check to see if the device you are trying to install is listed under Unknown Devices. If it is listed here then reinstall the drivers.