Frequently Asked Questions

  • I installed my USB-to-Serial cable and my device is connected to it; however I cannot get it to communicate with the computer. What do I do?

    1. Right click on My Computer, click Properties.
    2. Go to the Hardware tab and click on Device Manager.
    3. The cable is listed under Ports (COM & LPT) as Prolific USB to Serial adapter.
    4. Double-click on it and click on the Port Settings tab.
    5. Click the Advanced... button.
    6. Under COM port number, make sure you're using the COM port needed by your device (check the manual or contact the device manufacturer).
  • I installed my USB-to-Serial cable and my device is connected to it. How do I check if it's properly installed?

    1. Right click on My Computer, click Properties.
    2. Go to the Hardware tab and click on Device Manager.
    3. The cable is listed under Ports (COM & LPT) as Prolific USB to Serial adapter.
    4. Double-click on it and make sure the Device Status says "This device is working properly".
  • I installed my USB-to-Parallel cable and my printer is connected to it; however I cannot get it to print. What do I do?

    1. Go to Control Panel and double-click on Printers and Faxes.
    2. Your printer should be listed there, else please reinstall it (you may want to check the manual or contact the manufacturer).
    3. Right-click on your printer, then click on Properties.
    4. Click on the Ports tab.
    5. Make sure you put a check mark next to the port USB001 Virtual Printer Port.
    6. Click Apply, then OK and try to Print something (i.e. test page, a document a photo, etc.).
    7. If there's more than one USB Virtual Printer Port, you may need to try all of them.
  • I installed my USB-to-Parallel cable and my printer is connected to it. How do I check if it's properly installed?

    1. Right click on My Computer, click Properties.
    2. Go to the Hardware tab and click on Device Manager.
    3. The cable is listed under Universal Serial Bus Controllers as Printing Support.
    4. Double-click on it and make sure the Device Status says "This device is working properly".
  • The disc that came with my Windows Vista Easy Transfer Cable (DX-C113231) does not autorun. How do I install the drivers/program?

    In order to manually run the disc, go to My Computer, do a right click on your CD/DVD drive and click Open. You will see some files and folders listed, double click on Setup (or Setup.exe)

    If the program still doesn't run, double click on the Driver folder, then double click on your Windows version (either x86 for 32 bit or x64 for 64 bit). Finally double click on the language of your choice and run the file in that folder (tfrcable_x86.exe or tfrcable_x64.exe).

  • Will the Roxio BackOnTrack software work under Windows 7 platform?

    Yes, it will.

  • How to Install a Hard Drive Enclosure

    The use of a hard drive enclosure allows a computer user to add additional hard drive space, using either a new or an existing spare hard drive. Installing a hard drive enclosure for your computer is simple and easy for both desktop and laptop systems. Hard drive enclosures are available for both Windows and Mac-based systems.

    Instructions

    1. Insert the hard drive into the enclosure following the manufacturer's instructions. For many enclosures, this is accomplished by attaching the supplied adapter to the hard drive, sliding the drive into the enclosure and locking the end caps in place. Laptop drive enclosures may have small screws that hold the end caps in place.
    2. Place the included driver disk into your CD or DVD drive to install the drivers needed for the USB drive to recognize the hard drive enclosure. If you are using Windows 2000 or later, you can skip this step, as Windows will recognize the drive attached to the USB port. A Mac will also automatically configure the drive.
    3. Connect the supplied USB cable to the hard drive enclosure.
    4. Connect the USB cable to the USB port on your computer. The computer should immediately recognize that the drive has been connected. For older Windows systems, you may need to shut down before you connect to the USB port and reboot after the drive is connected.
    5. Format the drive, if necessary. You can do this on a Windows machine easily by clicking on "My Computer" and highlighting the external hard drive letter. Right-click and choose "Format" from the options. If the hard drive has been used previously, formatting will not be necessary unless you want to remove the files on the drive. If the drive has never been used, it will need to be formatted to match your operating system before use.
    6. Use the hard drive in the same way you use would use a floppy drive, internal hard drive or CD/DVD drive.

    Tips & Warnings

    You may have to make the hard drive a "master" drive by changing the jumpers. Refer to the jumper settings label on the hard drive to position the jumper pin in the correct place. This is usually not necessary on laptop hard drives. You can find the drive letter assigned to your hard drive enclosure by clicking on the My Computer icon on any Windows system. Use the second hard drive for data storage, backups or transferring files from one computer to another. As long as the computer has a USB port and the drive is formatted for the system, any computer can read a hard drive in an enclosure. If you do not have a second hard drive to place in an enclosure, some manufacturers sell enclosures with the hard drive already in place. USB hard drives can also be cloned using software such as Partition Magic.

  • How to Install a PCI Firewire Card?

    One of the best attributes of desktop PCs is that they are very adaptable and upgradeable. FireWire is a data transfer interface similar to USB that is often not included on a PC. For those who want FireWire capability, such as to transfer video files off of a high-end mini DV camera, a separate PCI FireWire card can be installed to give the PC FireWire functionality.

    Instructions

    1. Turn off your PC and unplug the power cable.
    2. Use a screwdriver to remove the left side cover of the tower case. Each tower will vary on number of screws and exact positioning, but there are normally three screws along the back of the case that can be removed, allowing the panel to slide back and come loose.
    3. Locate a free PCI slot on the motherboard. The PCI slots are aligned along the bottom left-hand corner of almost all motherboards, near the back of the case. They are usually colored white or some other light color. (Compare the size of the FireWire card's gold plugs to the slots to find the proper one if you are confused.)
    4. Remove the PCI slot cover. Each PCI slot will have a small metal slat covering the back of the slot where the card's inputs and outputs will be accessible from the back of the computer. There should be a single screw just inside the case, which can be removed to take out the slot cover.
    5. Install the FireWire card. Position the card over the PCI slot and push it in firmly, straight down until it pops into place. You can screw the screw from the slot cover back in to secure it in place.
    6. Close the case and power on the PC.
    7. Use the driver CD to install software drivers for the card if necessary. Some cards will be recognized and be operable automatically, while others will require you to insert a driver CD and run an installation file first. If you have to install drivers from a CD, restart the computer.

    Tips & Warnings

    If you do not have a free PCI slot, you may need to take out an unused device before installing the FireWire card. Chances are your computer has an old modem or other PCI device taking up a slot that you do not use much, if at all. FireWire data transfers require a special FireWire cable.

  • How to Install a Firewire Card Into a PCI Express Slot?

    Instructions

    1. Shut off the computer, disconnect all attached devices and unplug the power supply. Before proceeding, wait a few moments to dissipate any electricity that may remain in the circuits.
    2. Locate the holding screws, four to eight of them, on the rear of the computer and remove them with the Philips-head screwdriver. Lift or slide off the top part of the computer case. Some computers have side panels that slide off while others have cases where the top and two sides lift off in one piece.
    3. Look inside and locate an available PCI Express slot. These slots, white or yellow with small metal lines inside them, may have other slots around them. Look for the smaller slots.
    4. Remove the metal cover from the back opening that lines up with the PCI slot you will be using. Unscrew the holding screw and slide the cover out. An opening at the back of the computer allows access to the Firewire card's ports during use.
    5. Hold the Firewire card so that the small, gold-colored tips on one side are facing the inside of the computer. Line these tips up to the slot inside the computer and firmly push the card into place. You may need to apply force to achieve a secure fit.
    6. Replace the one holding screw that keeps the Firewire card in place. Check the back of the computer; the port section of the card should be clearly visible and accessible through the back of the computer case. Replace the computer casing and reconnect all power and devices.
    7. Turn on the computer. The computer may indicate that new hardware has been found. Allow the computer to install updated drivers for the card automatically by clicking "Find Drivers" on the popup window that appears. If you are prompted for a driver CD, insert the CD that came with the Firewire card. Restart the computer if prompted after the drivers are installed.

    Tips & Warnings

    The computer may need to go online to get the latest drivers, so connect to the Internet before searching for hardware drivers.

    Purchase a combination Firewire/USB card to add both types of ports to your computer.

    Always discharge static-electric energy from your hands before touching the inside of the computer and while handling the Firewire card. Do so by making contact with a metal item like the screwdriver or the computer's external casing.

  • What kinds of USB peripherals can I connect to my PC?

    USB carries data at the rate of 12 megabits per second, which is sufficient for "medium to low-speed peripherals." This broad category includes telephones, digital cameras, modems, keyboards, mice, digital joysticks, some CD-ROM drives, tape and floppy drives, digital scanners and specialty printers. USB's data rate also accommodates a whole new generation of peripherals, including MPEG-2 video-base products, data gloves and digitizers. Computer-telephony integration is expected to be a big growth area for PCs, and USB can provide an interface for Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and digital PBXs.

  • Where can I learn more technical details about USB?

    Technical presentations and other details are available from the USB Implementers Forum on the USB developer's site, as well as directly from USB-IF member companies.

  • Is USB available on mobile computers in addition to desktops?

    USB is currently a key feature on virtually every new notebook. One great advantage of USB is that it allows notebook users to easily share peripherals.

  • How many USB peripherals can I connect at once?

    Technically, you can connect up to 127 individual USB peripherals at one time. Due to the fact that some devices reserve USB bandwidth, the practical maximum of devices is less than the theoretical maximum. However, PCI-USB add-in cards provide an independent USB bus to which even more peripherals can be connected.

  • What do USB plugs and ports look like?

    USB features one "Universal" plug type for all USB peripheral-to-PC connections. The distinctive USB plug looks like this:
    USB plug
    USB sockets

    Above is an example of USB ports found on PCs and on some USB peripherals including keyboards and monitors.

  • What does it mean when a product is USB compliant and why should I care?

    Compliance means products that are called USB products are really built to match the description in the USB specification. This is important to a customer because if all products match the spec perfectly they would by definition work together perfectly. The world is not perfect and so compliance testing exists to help manufacturers measure how well their products match the specification. There are many ways to make sure products work together and many ways to see if they match the specification, but compliance testing is one of the most useful.

    Conscientious manufacturers do a great deal of testing on their own and use compliance test programs like the one sponsored by our organization, USB-IF. If you don't find a product on our product list it does not mean there is anything wrong with that product, but if you do find it there you know that this manufacturer has put in a lot of effort to try to make sure that product matches the USB specification and has the best chance of working.

  • How many USB products are being developed?

    The question is rapidly becoming are there any products that I cannot get with a USB interface. Virtually every category of PC peripheral is using USB for some products. In several categories the volume of USB versions of products exceeds the volume of any other version today.

  • Where can I find out what USB products are currently available...or on the way?

    You've come to the right place! This web site highlights Current USB Products and a list of new products due for release. The products listed here are only our members' products, but there a distinct advantage to you in choosing from these listed products. All of these products have undergone and passed a specific set of testing to help assure that they will function correctly on your computer.

  • Does USB affect the cost of PCs and peripheral devices?

    USB is a built-in feature of most PC chip sets, as well as operating system and other system software, which does not significantly affect PC prices. By eliminating add-in cards and separate power supplies, USB can help make PC peripheral devices more affordable than they otherwise would be. In addition, USB's "hot-swapping" capability allows business users to easily attach and detach peripherals. Device sharing can reduce the cost of ownership of such equipment.

  • Will I need special software to run USB?

    Current operating systems all support USB, operating systems that are no longer supported by their makers may or may not support USB without modifications. Many devices get all of the software support they need from the OS, but there are some that will come with a floppy or CD with specialized drivers for that particular device. Don't worry about getting the right software because the OS's that support USB always know how to determine if anything else is needed and they will help you get the software loaded so the device works correctly. At one time there was some limited support for USB on Windows 95, but that is no longer available.