Computer Help forum

General discussion

Compatibility between USB 2.0 & USB

by gcbaltazar / November 13, 2006 12:25 PM PST

I am considering purchasing a USB 2.0 device to plug into my PC which has a USB port. Do I have to use a USB 2.0 cable to connect the device to my PC or can I use a USB cable which I already have?

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Compatibility between USB 2.0 & USB
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Compatibility between USB 2.0 & USB
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 13, 2006 1:10 PM PST

While there are success stories of using older USB 1.x cables, it's not worth losing external drive data for the sake of saving some old cable. This is entirely your choice here. Is your data worth it?


PS. I find USB 2.0 cables under a few dollars on and so I've gifted all my old USB 1.x cables and don't have any left.

Collapse -
That got me thinking...
by gcbaltazar / November 14, 2006 12:59 PM PST
In reply to: "iffy"

Now I read somewhere that I can plug in a USB 2.0 device into a USB port, but could there possibly be a performance (or speed) slump that goes with it?

Also, I have a lot of cables; I only suspect they are USB cables as opposed to USB 2.0 because I have had them for approximately 4 years. I don't really know how old they are. How can I distinguish between a USB cable from a USB 2.0?

Collapse -
Your research.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 14, 2006 8:06 PM PST

If it's not marked USB 2.0, it's likely to be the original. I paid 2 bucks for the replacement cables so it's very hard for me to spend any time on this. The risk of corrupting some USB hard disk is not worth saving 2 bucks. Maybe someone will disagree.

As to performance, yes. For instance you can't record a DVD on USB 1.1. A one hour copy on USB 2.0 balloons to about 40 hours on USB 1.1. Is it worth it to connect to the old style port? In my view no.

Collapse -
Backwards compatibility
by Hagrun / November 16, 2006 3:46 AM PST

Some USB 2.0 devices can be used in USB 1.1, but not all. The only way to know is to check the packaging of the device, ask someone who's done it with that specific device, try it yourself, or call the manufacturer. I suggest you buy a USB 2.0 card from and some USB 2.0 cables and be done with it. The parts are dirt cheap.

Good Luck


Collapse -
It'll work, but...
by jackson dougless / November 13, 2006 11:10 PM PST

If you don't use a USB 2.0 cable, it'll be SLOW. Agonizingly slow. There are even a few devices that won't work with anything other than USB 2.0 cable. However, most of them COME with a USB 2.0 cable, so it shouldn't be an issue if you have USB 2.0 ports on your system. And since USB 2.0 is a hardware based upgrade, I wouldn't just assume you have it.

Collapse -
I can't remember the source
by Dutchmants / November 17, 2006 7:36 AM PST

I think it was "Maximum PC" that did some lab test on cables from the cheapest old 1.1 to some USB 2.0 cables marketed by Monster Cable and found no major differences with how there performed. If my memory is correct they use an external storge device with their test.

Collapse -
I forgot to add
by Dutchmants / November 17, 2006 7:38 AM PST

The test were for a USB 2.0 device and controller. Things will be slow with a 2.0 device on a 1.1 controller.

Collapse -
Compatibility between USB 2.o and USB
by robsb / November 17, 2006 8:54 AM PST

To my knowledge, there is no difference between a USB 1 CABLE and a USB 2.0 cable except marketing hype. I have used both with no difference. However, if you computer port is USB 1.0 and not 2.0 your device will either not run at all or if you are lucky will run but at the slower USB 1.0 speed. The cable will make no difference as they are wired exactly the same. For example if you plug in a jump drive directly to the port (no cable) it will usually run but a message will come up telling you you are not getting the full speed of the device because you did not plug it in to a USB 2.0 compliant port. So the real issue is the Port version you already have, not the cable.

Collapse -
USB Cables? Why
by NeilSilva / November 17, 2006 10:37 PM PST

I have dozens of USB cables, and never knew there was a difference between USB 1.1 cables and USB 2.0 cables. There are, however, external hubs that are version specific. If I plug a USB 1.1 hub into a USB 2.0 port, the device conneced at the other end will seek the least common denominator (1.1) and work at that speed--or not a all.

Collapse -
Identifying USB vs USB 2.0 ports in PC
by rossnpeggy / November 17, 2006 9:41 AM PST

My computer is just old enough (or should I say new enough?) to make me think it should have USB 2.0 ports, but how can I be sure. When I bring up the spec's on my computer I can't see where it says... Is there a way to tell? I sometimes have trouble getting things to work. When connecting my HP printer, I have to use the parallel port (BTW - the HP printer has both ways of connecting it), but my Compaq notebook runs the HP Printer from the USB 2.0 port just fine.

Collapse -
Finding USB version
by osoman6 / November 17, 2006 11:56 AM PST

Go to Device Manager (Right click My Computer, click Properties, click Hardware) Click Device Manager. Go to the USB devices and expand it. If there is anything that say Enhanced Host Controller, you have USB 2.0.

Collapse -
Identifying USB2 port
by nancybonnett / November 17, 2006 3:11 PM PST
In reply to: Finding USB version

I have a Dell desktop running XP Home Edition. According to my Device Manager I have 5 USB ports, but only one is USB2. How do I determine which one is the USB2?

Collapse -
USB 2.0
by cbazza / November 17, 2006 4:32 PM PST
In reply to: Identifying USB2 port

I would also like the answer to how can I determine which port is the USB port.. Also what does "via Rev 5 or later USB Universal host controller" mean?

Collapse -
Identifying USB 2.0 ports
by OmegaGeek / November 17, 2006 6:20 PM PST
In reply to: USB 2.0

I have a SONY VAIO and the marketing material says it has two USB 2.0 ports. There are six USB ports total. I also want to know how to identify the 2.0 ports.

Would it kill these manufactures to put a label on the dang ports?


Collapse -
In the beginning there was USB.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2006 11:50 PM PST

And no USB 2.0. Hence, no need to label it.

Time passes and now you want them labeled...


Collapse -
"in the beginning there was no USB 2.0"
by OmegaGeek / November 18, 2006 10:36 PM PST

And your point is? When my computer was built, there was USB 2.0. It has it, 2 ports of it.

Collapse -
USB 2.o related to XP only?
by rgirwin / November 17, 2006 4:38 PM PST
In reply to: Finding USB version

I have a PIV 1800 Mz and a Intel desktop board D845BG. OS is Win2000 SP4
I found no "enhanced device" with the device manager. Do you know whether Win2K supports USB 2.0 or it is a feature of WinXP only?

Collapse -
Real fine on W2K sp4
by Alain Martel1 / November 17, 2006 10:21 PM PST

That message suggest that you don't have the hardware for USB 2.0, not that your OS don't support it.
I have an AMD Thunderbird 1400 runing windows 2000 sp4 and USB 2.0 is running very well.
I have an USB 2.0/firewhire card installed since my motherboard only have USB 1.x hardware. That card costed me about CDN$12.00. 4+1 internal USB 2.0 ports and 2+1 internal firewhire ports. Pluged it in, plug a device in, instant full USB 2.0 speed. Nothing to configure.

Collapse -
Won2000 and USB2.0
by osoman6 / November 21, 2006 6:27 AM PST

I don't know if WIn 2000 supports USB2.0. Try

Collapse -
Windows 2000 had USB 2.0 in SP3 (from memory)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 21, 2006 6:34 AM PST
In reply to: Won2000 and USB2.0

Works fine.


Collapse -
(NT) You don't have to, but you should.
by Ryo Hazuki / November 17, 2006 8:59 PM PST
Collapse -
I find this issue to be very frustating
by adogman / May 7, 2007 6:06 PM PDT

I have over a dozen of both of these in a drawer-mixed up and the idiot that developed the 2.0 cable did not have the sense to design into the connector a method to visibly determine between the two very different cables. Stand up Mr. 2.0 designer you get the Head up your A-hole of the year award! A Designer always documents all design changes and IDs the new design so it is easy to determine which product you have at hand.

Collapse -
For me it's been easy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 7, 2007 9:15 PM PDT

All USB 2.0 cables proudly show "USB 2.0" or "high speed". All the others are marked with nothing that tells you it's 2.0.

This has been hard on those that wish they had a 2.0 cable handy. At least the cables were so cheap that I gifted all the old 1.x cables and have nothing but 2.0 now.


Collapse -
2.0 markings
by adogman / May 8, 2007 12:55 AM PDT
In reply to: For me it's been easy.

Where is the marking? On the cable orf on the plugs?

Collapse -
On mine, the cable.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 8, 2007 2:41 AM PDT
In reply to: 2.0 markings

The rule I used is simple. No 2.0 or "High Speed" and it's 1.x which I tossed.


Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions


$16,000 used SUVs

Whether you like your SUVs cute or capable, or some blend of the two, we've got a wide variety of choices in Roadshow's first collection of Editors' Used Picks.