49

Along with Intel USB 3.0 Host Controller drivers, a utility called "iusb3mon.exe" (Intel USB 3.0 Monitor) was installed at startup.

Its apparent goal is to "monitor" some USB 3.0 functions. My questions are therefore:

  • What USB 3.0 functions it monitors in particular?
  • What functionality will I lose if I elect to terminate this process?
  • Why did Intel deem it significant to run it on Startup?

To clarify the rationale for my question:

From what I can tell, all my USB devices work just fine without this process. When a kernel mode driver has an accompanying usermode process (that's a process within the session, not a service), it's usually to complement the kernel driver with some UI. Did anyone see any UI presented by iusb3mon?

  • 1
    I haven't in fact checked USB 3.0 devices as they're hard to come across, but as a driver developer I can tell you there's no chance in hell the kernel driver waits for a usermode process to do something during the USB 3.0 handshake, which probably happens right upon plugging in. – Ilya Mar 5 '13 at 15:24
  • The iusb3mon process should probably do something like letting you know the host controller hasn't got enough bandwidth for two devices, or "This device can run faster on a USB 3.0 port." but I'm looking for confirmation on this before I go to reverse-engineer this process. – Ilya Mar 5 '13 at 15:25
  • I've just observed a system where all USB ports worked for a standard mouse, but none (including the USB 2.0 ports) worked for any other device until the Intel software was installed. This happened despite the proper Intel Chipset software being installed. – Twisty Impersonator Oct 18 '17 at 19:15
10

To directly answer your question,

The job of this utility was to monitor the functionality and system usage of your USB ports in the background and look for any possible problems. All Windows Operating Systems have a core USB Monitoring system already and the Intel Utility is not necessary in any way. Intel wanted to use a tool Intel Made to monitor USB related system problems etc. But it isn't necessary and can be stopped and removed.

  • 22
    Please clarify what kind of functionality it monitors. I'm well familiar with USB internals so please be technical. – Ilya Oct 1 '13 at 14:57
  • 2
    Seconded. I'd like to know. Sadly binaries are not the easiest to understand :\ – Wyatt8740 Aug 7 '15 at 18:27
  • 2
    Yes what exactly does the Intel utility do? If it is totally unnecessary, why is it installed? – user21820 Oct 28 '16 at 7:45
4

According to Intel:

Intel® USB 3.0 monitor is part of the Intel® USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Driver and its main functions are:

  • Monitors plug and play status of all USB 3.0 ports.
  • Generates pop-up message for event notification.

After ending the iusb3mon task, my USB 2 stick doesn't appear to act any differently, though. Maybe it only affects USB 3 devices.

  • 2
    Plugging in/out my USB 3.0 external drive doesn't show anything different to this iusb3mon running or not :) – Jim Raynor Feb 22 '16 at 15:33
3
+200

Intel does not publish any information on iusb3mon, except to call it a "monitor". One has to go to the USB 3.0 implementation of Renesas Electronics in order to find the explanation.

In the release notes of D720201 & D720202 Design Resources Release it is described as :

The Monitor Application, if installed, alerts the user when a USB 3.0 device is connected to a USB 2.0 port. Performance normally will improve if the device is connected to a USB 3.0 port.

This is a monitor, not a driver. It is probably activated by the connect-device event, so should not take much resources. If it starts hogging resources, it can be uninstalled without any problem. Both USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices will continue on working correctly with or without this service, as this alert is not essential to their correct functioning.

  • 1
    Is this monitor really necessary? Windows has always been able to alert a user to the fact a "hi-speed" (USB 2.0) device is plugged into a 1.0 port. Is it unable to do so for USB 3.0? – Twisty Impersonator Oct 20 '17 at 13:09
  • @TwistyImpersonator: I'm quite sure it's not necessary. I found many testimonies of people who disabled it with no problem. I only found one which said that without it the mouse was less precise, but which I find hard to believe. – harrymc Oct 20 '17 at 13:41
  • I follow the "not required like a driver would be" argument...but does one forgo all notification that a device is in the wrong port with this monitor? – Twisty Impersonator Oct 20 '17 at 13:51
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    Your link explains about Renesas Electronics' "USB3.0 Monitor application (rusb3mon.exe/dll)", not about Intel's "iusb3mon". One can only guess they serve the same exact goal, but that's all, a wild guess. – That Brazilian Guy Oct 21 '17 at 20:15
  • 3
    @ThatBrazilianGuy: The Renesas implementation files have the same names as the Intel ones, just with the first "i" replaced, so the two products seem to have a parallel architecture. So I do agree, this is a guess, but there are some facts behind. It would be logical for Renesas to base its implementation on Intel's. – harrymc Oct 21 '17 at 20:28
-2

Link to my answer regarding how to verify USB2 and USB3 connection speed - https://superuser.com/a/804856/205740

tl;dr In my case this monitoring app made me very surprised why my external hard drives started again to save files very slow, this time between 2-3MB/s and 33-34MB/s. Disabled it and now I'm capping around 85 to 90MB/s average write speed and 170MB/s read

  • If this link answer the question then vote to close it as a duplicate. – Toto Oct 25 '17 at 15:30
  • I added this as more clarification to OP clarification - USB devices work fine without using the iusbmon3.exe, and in some cases (my tests were on 4 machines, 2 laptops + 2 desktops, two different SATA-to-USB3 controllers, many disk drives) disabling it leads to higher transfer speeds – 1000Gbps Oct 25 '17 at 18:01

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