How to Connect a PS2 Keyboard to a USB

A good keyboard is like a comfortable pair of jeans--it can be very hard to replace. PS/2 keyboards have been around since the dawn of the PC era. While most keyboard makers now produce only USB models, many users still prefer the older PS/2 type. Although newer keyboards offer more connectivity and feature options, the PS/2 keyboards from yesteryear were often of a higher standard with regard to durability and ruggedness. Fortunately, connecting an older PS/2-style keyboard to a computer that only has USB ports is as simple as using an adaptor.

Purchase a PS/2 to USB adaptor. A passive adaptor will work fine with most desktop computers. However, if you want to connect an older PS/2 keyboard to a laptop computer, you will most likely need an active adaptor that electronically translates the PS/2 signal into the USB protocol.

Plug the PS/2 plug from the keyboard into the female side of the adaptor. Ensure that power to the machine is off, and then insert the USB side of the adaptor into an empty USB slot on the computer. Windows cannot detect a PS/2 keyboard in the same way it can a USB keyboard; therefore, connect the keyboard before starting your computer.

Start and boot your computer into Windows as you normally would. Windows should detect the PS/2 keyboard, automatically load the correct drivers and configure it for use with your system.

Reboot your computer if prompted.


Purchase a passive adaptor if possible. Passive adaptors are much less expensive than active adaptors. In fact, a passive adaptor will cost less than £3, while an active adaptor can cost up to £13 or more. Most newer laptops will work with the passive adaptors. However, if you want to use a really old PS/2 keyboard (like the old IBM AT "Click" keyboards), purchase an active adaptor. The older IBM keyboards are classics and never seem to wear out, but they do draw a lot of power from the system bus.

Things You'll Need

  • PS/2 keyboard
  • PS/2 to USB adaptor (active or passive)
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About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.