Like the Bluetooth connections that would come much later, USB ports were created so that computers would become more similar across manufacturers. From the Wikipedia article on USB:

A group of seven companies began the development of USB in 1994: Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel.[7] The goal was to make it fundamentally easier to connect external devices to PCs by replacing the multitude of connectors at the back of PCs, addressing the usability issues of existing interfaces, and simplifying software configuration of all devices connected to USB, as well as permitting greater data rates for external devices. A team including Ajay Bhatt worked on the standard at Intel;[8][9] the first integrated circuits supporting USB were produced by Intel in 1995.[10]

The ports they replaced were called serial and parallel. Some examples of serial ports were for printers and parallel port were those used specifically for keyboards and mice.

  • USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 = Speed
    • 1.0 = 12 Mbit/s
    • 2.0 = 480 Mbit/s
    • 3.0 = 5 Gbit/s or 5,120 Mbit/s
  • How to use USB Drive
    1. Plug in the drive
    2. Click the Windows Explorer (folder icon)
    3. Click This PC and the USB Drive will appear next to the (C:) drive, usually with the (E:) assigned to it.
  • Eject external USB drives
    1. Click the ^ next to the time
    2. Click Icon of a USB Drive
    3. Click Eject
  • Other Popular Devices
    • Mice/keyboards
      • Wireless mice/keyboards use bluetooth connections
    • USB Hubs- if you need to increase the number of ports
    • USB cord for phones- access pictures/charge
    • Roku/chromecast/fire stick/AppleTV
    • Microphones-for podcasting!

Not a USB connection but I did want to mention SD Cards

Read More

  • Great article on all things USB:


InfoGraphic showing changes in USB Tech over the years.

Food for Thought

I don’t know about you but I can never manage to plug in a USB device on the first try. That is until I realized that icon always goes up. Or, if the port is horizontal, to the left. Speaking of the icon, it’s taken from Poseidon’s trident but instead of having three points (or triangles) it has a triangle, circle, and square to denote that the USB port is universal. It doesn’t matter who built the hardware.