What is USB?

The full name of USB is Universal Serial Bus, it is a standard that was introduced in 1995 by Intel, Compaq, Microsoft and other computer companies. USB is the most popular connection used to connect a computer to devices such as digital cameras, printers, scanners, and external hard drives. USB is a cross-platform technology that is supported by most of the major operating systems. On Windows, it can be used with Windows 98 and higher. USB is a hot-swappable technology, meaning that USB devices can be added and removed without having to restart the computer. USB is also “plug and play”. When you connect a USB device to your PC, Windows should detect the device and even install the drivers needed to use it.


There are three versions of USB. The first version of USB, USB 1.0, only supported speeds of up to 11 Mbps and was used mostly to connect keyboards and mice. The second version of USB, which is known as USB 2.0, supports speeds of up to 480 Mbps. The latest version of USB, which is known as USB 3.0, supports speeds of up to 5.0 Gbps. In order to take advantage of the higher speeds of USB 3.0 you will need to have ports installed on your computer that are also USB 3.0. Most computers built in the last two years will include USB 3.0 ports. When buying USB cables make sure they say Certified SuperSpeed USB on the box so that you are getting the fastest cable.