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Thread: External drives

  1. #1
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    External drives

    How do I know if my computer supports USB 3, and what's the difference between an "expansion" and "backup" drive?

  2. #2
    random, u should be able to tell if your usb is 3.0 in the device manager...from what i can tell from google the dedicated backup drives have some sort of software on them..i've always used just raw drives and dropped them in a case for the old drives or just use my quick swap/drop in for the new'ish sata drives...........i've got mine mirrored to some old drives that i no longer use for holding software, etc......with the bigger drives i would just get maybe the wd 3tb drive if u can afford it and backup your computer and u can still load movies, pics, etc. to it........windows 7 has a good backup program.......

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    can anyone help me with this? All I can think to do is 'start – devices and printers' or Task Manager, then they don't get me anywhere.

  4. #4
    oh find the device manager? the easiest way is just type it in the search bar on windows 7 off the start button or go to my computer and right hand click and go to manage.....then its right there toward the bottom.....then when the box pops up of the device manager just scroll down to usb....... on win 7 u can just ask it a question off the start button and it will give u the answer or link to where it is.... hope that hellps.....

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    Thanks, but okay, with embarrassment I must admit that the last time I had a handle on these things was probably 1989. So I found the device manager, but the USB screen only listed the device and no information, and none of the menu options seem to tell me more. Any ideas?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Flatiron's Avatar
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    In Windows, how do I tell what version USB ports I have installed on my computer? - Knowledge Base
    Many computer manufacturers do not clearly mark USB port versions. Use the Device Manager to determine if your computer has USB 1.1, 2.0, or 3.0 ports:

    1. Open the Device Manager; see In Windows, what is the Device Manager, and how can I use it?
    2. In the Device Manager window, click the + (plus sign) next to Universal Serial Bus controllers. You will see a list of the USB ports installed on your computer.
      • If your USB port name contains "Universal Host", your port is version 1.1.
      • If the port name contains both "Universal Host" and "Enhanced Host", your port is version 2.0.
      • If the port name contains "USB 3.0", your port is version 3.0.

    Two year old article but has some good points.
    10 things you should know about USB 2.0 and 3.0 | TechRepublic
    Last edited by Flatiron; 10-11-2012 at 02:04 PM.

  7. #7
    yeah, what flat says, it should of told u when u clicked on the + sign in front of the listing of usb ports..........sorry i didn't tell u to click the usb + sign to bring down the listing of the usb ports.......

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    well, I guess more to the point is the question of whether an external drive that says USB3 will work if all I have is USB2.

    Printscreen is now working, but my device manager has no line that says USB3, but only "standard enhanced PCI to USB host controller" among all the others, and the USB root hub properties say they are working only at high-speed, so I suspect that means I have only USB 2.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Flatiron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Random View Post
    well, I guess more to the point is the question of whether an external drive that says USB3 will work if all I have is USB2.
    Yes it'll work.
    USB 3 will work with USB 2 but will only be the speed of USB 2.

    From airart's link
    The beauty of USB 3.0 is its backward compatibility with USB 2.0; you need a new cable and new host adapter (or, one of the Asus or Gigabyte motherboards that supports USB 3.0) to achieve USB 3.0, but you can still use the device on a USB 2.0 port and achieve typical USB 2.0 performance.
    Printscreen is now working, but my device manager has no line that says USB3, but only "standard enhanced PCI to USB host controller" among all the others, and the USB root hub properties say they are working only at high-speed, so I suspect that means I have only USB 2.
    Correct.

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