If you’re buying a device that connects to your system via USB port, you should buy one that is USB 3.0. If it’s a device that draws power, it doesn’t matter but for storage devices, you want something that’s USB 3.0. If you’ve bought a device that claims it’s USB 3.0, and you want to check if it really is, or if you’re getting the speed you should with USB 3.0, you can. USB Device Tree Viewer is a free app that lets you check if a device is USB 3.0 or 2.0.
USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 device
Download and run USB Device Tree Viewer. Connect your device to your system. Make sure that you connect it to a USB 3.0 port. Here’s how you can tell if the port on your system is USB 3.0 or USB 2.0.
When you connect your device, the app will highlight which port it connects to, and select it automatically.
In the panel that opens on the right, scroll down to the Connection Information V2 section and look for Supported USB Protocols. It will list three protocols; USB 1.0, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0. If the device is USB 3.0, you will see 1 (yes) next to it.
If your device says its 3.0 on its box but the app is reporting it’s 2.0, try connecting a different device. It is possible that the port isn’t USB 2.0, or that there is something wrong with it so try a second device. Also, don’t use anything other than the data cable that goes with your storage device to connect it to your system. If you’re connecting a USB drive, don’t use a USB extension cable even if it’s USB 3.0.
The app tells you which port a device is connected to however, it will not help you identify ports on your system. If you remove and connect a different device to the same port, you will see that a different one is selected. The port number appears to change based on the device that’s connected to your system so while the app is a reliable way to check if your device is USB 3.0 or not, you cannot use it to check which port number is assigned to a physical USB port.
USB Device Tree Viewer gives you a lot of other information about your device so it’s a good tool to have. It can, for example, tell you who the manufacturer of the device is and you can use it to check if you have a genuine Kingston or Samsung storage device. The manufacturer information is available under the Device Descriptor section.