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I'm remoting into an XP box... that's 3 feet from me... as you do.. but I began to wonder how to tell how many USB port it has if it weren't right next to me.

I thought I could just look in device manager but the number of USB hubs (4) doesn't match the number of physical ports (3). I'm looking for a software/OS solution please, not a "just ask someone to use their peepers" solution.

UPDATE: Re comments msinfo32.exe

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Use some tool to get the motherboard name and look it up online? – Feb 3 '12 at 0:26
Yeah I thought if I looked up the technical specs for the laptop that I could pull the info from that but the trouble is the technical specs are no longer available for a Sony VAIO VGN-FS35GP. I honestly thought Windows would "just tell me". – rism Feb 3 '12 at 0:38
What is the model number printed on the front of the LCD panel? – Moab Feb 3 '12 at 4:43
On the front of the LCD panel it says VAIO but I thought that was the range. So i think the model is either FS or VGN. In full it is VGN-FS35GP as above. Bearing mind that Im after an across the network solution not one whereby I can just look at the PC. In WIndows 7 i can just use msinfo32.exe from start>run to get the "proper" USB port config... but in XP when i use msinfo32.exe it gives a dump that looks just like the info in device manager and from that info i cant discern whether ports are external or internal... whereas in Win7 I can. – rism Feb 4 '12 at 2:34
@rism Can you post what you are seeing in W7 that lets you distinguish internal and external ports? – Paul Feb 4 '12 at 3:22
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The difficulty is that machine may have X amount of USB controllers, capable of Y amount of ports, but have less than Y ports physically presented out of the case.

Some of the usb ports/controllers may be used internally and never presented as a port - in a laptop for example, a webcam is almost always a usb device directly wired to the motherboard usb controller. As is the touchpad.

Pre-built machines may not take advantage of all of the USB risers available on the motherboard. They could be sitting there with nothing connected to them. However, from an OS point of view, it is still a USB port - that it doesn't have a cable running from the riser to a physical port on the case is not something it can be aware of.

So if you want to see which of the USB ports the motherboard supports have physical ports on the case, then without directly looking, I would suggest some sort of webcam setup :)

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It seems odd that there is no "external marker bit", to differentiate external facing ports from internally used ports. – rism Feb 3 '12 at 0:39
@rism because it’s not possible to have one. You can connect riser cards to the internal USB connectors and transform them to external. – kinokijuf Aug 22 '12 at 8:06

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