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Frequently Asked Questions

Revision - 1.3


Q: What does USB stand for?
A: It stands for Universal Serial Bus

Q: What Is USB?
A: USB is a specification that allows computer peripherals to be attached to the outside of the computer. It eliminates the need to install cards into dedicated computer slots and reconfigure the system. USB is really an ultimate plug-n-play specification that no switches or jumpers are required to configure. One of the top benefits from USB is that users can install hardware without needing to reboot their computers. USB allows up to 127 devices to run at the same time on the bus, with hubs connecting to devices to the bus. The USB also provides a much higher transfer rates than the traditional RS-232 or parallel-port devices.

Here is a feature list from USB Workshop:

  • One standard connector type - "one-size-fits-all."

  • Hot insertion and removal - now you can attach and detach peripherals while your system stays up and running.

  • Chain devices together - USB allows some peripherals to incorporate "hubs" that serve as connection points for other devices. This lets you use more than one USB-compatible device at a time.

  • Automatic installation - when a USB-compatible peripheral is connected, PCs with USB automatically install and configure the necessary drivers and system resources.

  • Separate power cord not required - most USB devices get their power through the USB bus (connection) itself, so only one cable is needed.

  • Faster - USB transfers data 10 times faster than traditional serial ports.

Q: What devices support USB?
Almost any I/O (Input/Output) device can be used with USB. They include Mice, Keyboards, Joysticks, Scanners, Monitors, Zip Drives, Telephones, Cameras and Printers.

Q:  What is USB 2.0 and will it replace the original?
A:  USB 2.0 runs at a whopping 480 Mbps and features complete backward compatibility with the original USB.  USB 2.0 will most likely not completely replace its predicator because, simply, a keyboard or mouse doesn’t need 480 Mbps bandwidth.  While peripherals won’t utilize 2.0, it will be great for web cams, digital cameras, etc.  More info on USB 2.0 can be found here.

Q:  How fast is USB?
A:  USB is designed to run at 12 Mbps with a sub-channel running at 1.5 Mbps.

Q: I have Windows 95, Can I still use USB?
A: The original Windows 95 cannot use USB no matter whether you have USB or not. You need to have Windows 95 OSR 2.1 (Service Release). If not you can download the supplement for Windows 95B from here.

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Q: Will I need special software to run USB with other Operating Systems?
A: No, what you need is Windows 95B with USB supplement, Windows 98, Windows 2000, or MacOS 8.5 (found in iMac and G3 systems).  The operating systems pretty much cover the software side.  If you got a USB device, either the operating systems have the necessary drivers or the manufacturers ship with the required software/drivers for the hardware.

Q: I don't have USB, Can I add it to my PC?
A: You must have an available PCI slot to install USB PCI card. OS requirement is Windows 98 or Windows 95 OSR2 with USB supplement.

Q: Is USB support stable?
A: Good question. USB is a relatively new specification, Windows 98 was really the first OS to have what Microsoft considered full USB support. Unfortunately while the majority of USB devices work fine, Windows 98 did have many USB related problems.

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