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How can I upgrade my computer to USB 2.0?

Answer: The answer to this question depends on if you have a desktop or a laptop computer.

If you have a desktop, you need at least one available PCI slot. This expansion slot is located on the back of your computer and and is usually covered by a metal plate that you must remove before installing a PCI card. You can install a USB 2.0 PCI card into this slot, which will give your computer USB 2.0 connectivity. Most USB 2.0 cards have several USB ports on them, so you can connect multiple USB devices to the card.

If you have a laptop, your computer will need to have a PCMCIA slot. (It is also called a PC card slot, which is much easier to say.) The slot is typically located on the side of the computer and is a little over five centimeters wide. It should be covered by a protective flap that will push in when you press on it. You can install a USB 2.0 PC card into this slot, which will give your computer one or more USB 2.0 connections.

As long as your operating system supports USB 2.0, you can install a USB 2.0 card whether or not your computer already has USB 1.1. Note that connecting a USB 2.0 hub or USB 2.0 device to a USB 1.1 port will cause the device to run at the slower USB 1.1 speed. Since USB 2.0 is 30-40 times faster than USB 1.1, it may be worth the upgrade.

Published: March 24, 2005 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center