How do I convert USB 1 to USB 2?

Updated March 23, 2017

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) has become a standard in data transfer methods, and is compatible with a variety of peripheral devices including external hard drives, flash drives, memory sticks and other USB gadgets. USB 2.0 devices must be used with USB 2.0 ports, although USB 2.0 ports will support older devices. Upgrading from USB 1.0 or 1.1 to USB 2.0 requires you to install new hardware in your computer.

Install a USB 2.0 PCI card into an empty Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) slot in the back of your desktop computer. If you don't have any empty PCI slots, first you will need to remove another device, such as a video card or modem.

Install a USB 2.0 Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) card into the PCMCIA slot on your laptop or notebook computer. The PCMCIA slot will only accommodate one device at a time.

Insert the included software disc and follow its instructions to install updated software drivers.

Plug a USB 2.0 device into your new USB 2.0 card's USB ports to use them. Your existing USB ports will remain at a lower speed.

Things You'll Need

  • USB 2.0 card
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About the Author

Sam Foner began writing, teaching and performing in 1997. He has presented and lectured for many global associations, including the Young Presidents Organization and Rotary International, and his writing appears on and Foner is a member of Mensa International and holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from Hong Kong University.