The Universal Serial Bus has become one of the most implemented standards for computer peripheral connections and today it can be difficult to purchase a computer without USB ports. However, with USB game controllers, printers, hard drives, network adapters and other devices available, you may find that your computer lacks the number of USB ports needed to connect the number of devices you would like. You can resolve this and connect more USB cables to your PC by connecting a USB hub or adding additional USB ports to your computer.
Purchase a USB hub. A USB hub may look like a simple cable splitter or a box with multiple USB ports on the back. A computer can power external devices through its USB ports, so many USB hubs do not require separate power connections. If a USB hub has several ports, however, it may require power from a wall outlet for maximum stability. Look for a hub compatible with the USB 3.0 standard for compatibility with modern high-speed external hard drives and flash drives.
Connect the USB hub to one of your computer's USB ports. A USB hub includes a cable for this purpose and has a label such as "PC" on the back indicating which port should be connected to the computer. After connecting the hub, wait for Windows to display a message such as "the device is ready to use." Windows detects USB hubs without the need to install additional software.
Connect the included power cable to the back of the USB hub and to a power outlet if necessary. The back of the USB hub may have a switch allowing you to toggle between USB and wall power; toggle the switch to wall power.
Connect your USB devices to the ports on the back of the USB hub. After connecting a new device, wait for Windows to detect the device and for it to become active before connecting another.
USB Expansion Card
Purchase a USB expansion card. A USB expansion card connects internally to a desktop computer's PCI or PCI Express slot and adds additional USB ports to the back of the computer. For compatibility with high-speed storage devices, look for a card compatible with the USB 3.0 standard.
Turn off your computer, disconnect every cable and move the computer case to a work surface. Open the case by disengaging the release lever or removing the screws holding the cover to the chassis.
Locate an unused expansion slot inside the computer case. If necessary, remove the metal slot cover next to the expansion slot by unscrewing or pushing it gently.
Place the USB expansion card over the unused slot. Make sure that the tabs on the bottom of the card line up with the holes in the slot and push down gently to seat the card in place. Anchor the card to the computer's chassis with the screw included in the card's packaging.
Close the case, return the computer to its original position and reconnect the cables. If a software disc is included in the USB expansion card's packaging, install the software before connecting devices to the card.
- USB expansion cards are also available for laptop computers with PC-Card and ExpressCard slots. You do not need to open the laptop to install one of these expansion cards; simply slide it into an unused slot and install the included software.
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