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How to use a USB 3.0 device on Windows 10

The next USB speed specification is already here with devices that are ready to support it. It won’t be long before you start seeing new laptop and desktop models advertising they support USB 3.1. USB 3.1 has transfer speeds of 10 Gbits per second but it’s not suddenly going to replace USB 3.0. You will find that USB 3.0 is going to stick around for quite some time even though it’s now ten years old. Most storage devices you have now are probably USB 3.0 and while this specification is quite common now, not every knows how to correctly use a USB 3.0 device in order to get its promised, or near-promised speed.

Use USB 3.0 device

In order to use a USB 3.0 device correctly so that you get 5 Gbits/second you need three essential items;

  1. A USB 3.0 device
  2. A port that supports USB 3.0
  3. A connecting cable, if used, that supports USB 3.0

USB 3.0 device

It’s fairly easy to determine if a device supports USB 3.0 speeds or not when you’re buying. Most devices will definitely advertise this specification on their box. A USB 3.0 device may cost a bit more than a USB 2.0 device but chances are slim you’d even find a USB 2.0 device to buy in the first place. The difference in the price will be slight and not worth the few pennies you save.

In addition to the device advertising that it is USB 3.0, it will also have the USB 3.0 symbol on its cable (if included), or on the device itself. Lastly, the connector for the device will be a bright blue to indicate it’s USB 3.0.

If you have a device lying around and you want to check if it is USB 3.0 or not, there’s a fairly simple way to do that.

USB 3.0 Ports

A USB 3.0 port is absolutely essential in order to get the speed it advertises. If you bought your laptop/desktop in the last five years, it probably has at least one USB 3.0 port if not more. These ports are indicated by the USB 3.0 symbol and by their blue color. It’s pretty easy to identify them just by looking.

Not all USB ports look the same. The ports vary from ordinary USB 3.0 ports to USB type C ports, and Thunderbolt ports. If those are the ports present on your laptop or desktop, you should know that both USB C and Thunderbolt 2 and 3 ports support USB 3.o.

If your USB 3.0 device can connect directly to your system’s USB 3.0 port, you have everything you need to get the fast transfer speed that this specification promises. If your device requires a connecting cable, then you need to read the next section as well.

Connecting cable

The cable that connects your USB 3.0 device to your USB 3.0 port must also support the specification. This hold true regardless if you’re connecting to an ordinary USB 3.0 port, or to a USB C or Thunderbolt port. The cable must support the data transfer speed and it must not be damaged in any sort of way.

If you have all the correct components, you should get USB 3.0 transfer speeds.

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