A device connected to a computer through a USB 2.0 port sends and receives data much faster than a device connected through a USB 1.0 port. Upgrading a laptop to USB 2.0 from USB 1.0 entails installing a hardware component known as a USB upgrade card. Rather than convert the old USB ports, the new component adds USB 2.0 ports to your laptop. Being backward compatible, the new USB 2.0 ports also accept USB 1.0 devices
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Things you need
- USB card
Refer to documentation to check whether your laptop has a PCMCIA slot or CardBus slot. Your USB upgrade card must match the slot in your laptop.
Obtain a compatible USB card for your laptop. If you have a CardBus slot, you may get either a PCMCIA card or CardBus Card.
Remove the small plastic tray, known as the place-holder, covering the PCMCIA or CardBus slot. When the slot is not in use, the place-holder protects the slot by covering it.
Turn off your laptop and insert the USB card into the appropriate slot. The USB card is a flat, rectangular device divided into two parts. The thinner, longer portion inserts into the laptop, and the other, slightly fatter end remains exposed, ready to attach USB-enabled devices to the laptop. Orientate the USB card, align its edges to the slot and insert the flat end inside the slot, gently forcing it in.
Plug in the power adaptor cable to its connector on the USB card. Depending on the manufacturer and model of the USB card, the connector may be located in the centre between the USB ports or to a side of the card. Locate the connector and insert the power adaptor cable. Plug in the adaptor to the AC mains.
Turn on the laptop and install the new device. Wait for the operating system to load and check whether Windows has recognised the card. When prompted, choose to install the driver software from the installation disk provided by the manufacturer.
Install the driver. Insert the CD into the laptop and follow on-screen instructions to complete the installation process for the USB card's driver software. Restart the computer.
Attach a USB 2.0 flash drive to the computer using the ports on the USB card, to check whether the card is properly installed and configured. The difference in performance between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 is most apparent when transferring data. Copy a large file from the computer and save it on the flash drive. The data transfer rate should be noticeably faster.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure appropriate ends of the power adaptor cable are firmly connected to the card and wall socket. A loosely attached cable may not provide power to the card.
- Do not attach a CarBus type USB card to a PCMCIA slot. Doing so might damage both the slot and the card.
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