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I am using Windows 7 and would like to see which USB versions each attached USB device is using (1.1 or 2). How can I do this?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

You can determine the USB specification that a device supports by examining its bcdUSB field. It is not stored in the registry, so you cannot just search or access it. It is stored on the device itself, so you need a way to query the device to retrieve it.

You can use the USB View utility from Microsoft. It is available on the installation CD of some versions of Windows (and possibly some old versions of the Resource Kit). I’m not sure if it's legal to distribute it, but it’s certainly easy enough to find a copy. You could also use the commercial program USBlyzer.


The bcdUSB field is a hexadecimal number that will indicate the highest USB version the device supports in a packed-decimal format:

0x0100 = USB 1.0
0x0110 = USB 1.1
0x0200 = USB 2.0
0x0300 = USB 3.0


In addition, you can view the actual speed the device supports in the Device Bus Speed field:

Low Speed  : <= 1.5 Mbps (USB 1.0+)
Full Speed : <= 12  Mbps (USB 1.0+)
High Speed : <= 480 Mbps (USB 2.0+)
SuperSpeed : <= 5.0 Gbps (USB 3.0+)

(Check your motherboard’s BIOS to determine what mode the USB controller is configured for.)


Figure 1: USB 1.1 device

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Figure 2: USB 2.0 device

enter image description here

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What 0x0210 means? –  Soonts Feb 5 '13 at 15:30
    
@Soonts, no idea; there is no USB 2.1, and Googling it only finds Bluetooth (even when being even more restrictive). Are you actually seeing that on your system? If so, is it a third-party USB card or in your motherboard? If it’s the motherboard, what make/model is it? –  Synetech Feb 5 '13 at 20:51
    
the system is Asus N53SV laptop, USB card is Fresco Logic, device is USB3-SATA bridge built with Via VL700 chip. –  Soonts Feb 5 '13 at 21:51
    
@Soonts, hmm, that system has three USB2.0 ports and an optional USB3.0 port. I checked the specs and the manual and it says nothing that would explain it. Pages 18 and 21 of the manual clearly say it supports USB 2.0 and 1.1. Which device is showing 0x0210? Is it on all ports of the device? A screenshot would help. –  Synetech Feb 6 '13 at 1:59
    
my laptop has USB 3.0 (only one port), and the hard drive is plugged into it. Here's the screenshot: const.me/tmp/USB-View.png –  Soonts Feb 6 '13 at 12:30

If the device is using USB 1.0, windows will throw a message at you saying that there might be a problem with the device and that it is using a slower technology (in my experience).

Alternatively, you can write files to the drive and see how fast they get written/read. A USB 1.1 drive, while it has a theoretical speed of 12 MBit/S is usually far slower (<2 MBit). You will not see such speeds on a 2.0 drive unless there is something wrong with it or your computer.

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Thanks for the suggestions, but this seems rather roundabout. There is no way to interrogate Windows directly and ask? For example, what if you have a dozen devices that are already plugged in? What about devices that are not writable (mice, keyboards, printers)? –  rlandster Feb 10 '12 at 2:32
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Few things. 1) most of the non-writable drives will probably be USB 1.1 as those devices generally don't need high bandwidth. 2) I don't think there is. The problem is that while you can get what the port is, knowing what protocol its using is buried somewhere (if at all visible, there is no reason why it should be) –  soandos Feb 10 '12 at 2:42
    
@soandos: I'm not so sure about the first point. If a single USB 1.1 device is connected, all devices connected to the USB host controller are forced to downgrade to USB 1.1 speeds. –  surfasb Feb 11 '12 at 2:13
    
@surfasb, soandos, you’re both close. Windows does indeed complain/warn when connecting a higher-speed device to a lower-speed USB port. And in my experience other devices do seem to get throttled to the USB spec of the device with the lowest support on the same hub, not the whole controller. As such, it will warn about a USB 2.0 device connected to a USB 2.0 port if there is a USB 1.1 device on the same hub (with a misleading message about the port being low-speed). –  Synetech Feb 11 '12 at 4:09
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It gets more complicated than that. Some hubs will relegate full speed devices (1.1) to their own virtual bus. I just tell people to get rid of their old devices. –  surfasb Feb 11 '12 at 16:33

I thought I would also add a reply because I found this tool which is based on the Microsoft USB View code but it adds a little bit to it:

http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbtreeview_e.html

Moreover, unlike USB View this tool is freeware and you don't need to download a complete development kit to get it. I recommend.

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http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html

USBDeview v2.22 - View all installed/Nir Sofer

Interrogate exiting and past USB devices

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