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How to add more USB ports to an old PC

How to add USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 ports to an old PC

 

What if you need to add extra or faster USB ports to an old computer? You can do this through additional cards placed in the motherboard. Many online and outlet electronic retailers offer USB expansion cards for next to nothing.

You can find a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 expansion slot card with four external and two internal ports for under $30. The card installs into a PCI slot on your motherboard. I have compiled a step by step guide to show how to install this new USB card into your computer.

Installing new USB ports would really only be necessary if you only had old USB 1.x ports in the computer. Some computers may only have two ports on the back, if they were really inexpensive models. You could install an expansion card, or you could just buy a USB hub, which would allow you to externally expand the number of USB ports you have available, making room for a printer, digital camera, or other such device. For those who want to install an expansion card, here are the instructions.

Installing a USB expansion card into an old PC

On the back of the computer, each of the cards installed present a new function for the computer. For instance, one card allows this older computer to access the Internet while another adds monitor support. As you can see, there are two USB expansion cards installed and each has two ports. To begin, unplug everything from the computer tower.

Open the case of your computer, by pushing in on a release button, removing screws or pulling back or up on the side/top of the case. Your owner’s manual should tell you how to remove the case if you have trouble (some of them can be tricky).

Find an open PCI slot on your motherboard. As you can see in the picture, this computer has five open slots. The open areas on the end are where the USB ports should poke out from the computer case. If those are covered, you can remove the slats that cover them by unscrewing and pushing on the cutout. Each card should have a single screw in the top metal of the case.

When you push in the card, start from the end furthest from the case and work your way in. The card should be mostly parallel to the slot. Push the card in firmly, and then screw in the supporting screw.

Replace the cover to the case, plug in the computer, and power it on. It should automatically recognize the USB expansion card. Do not plug in USB devices until you have powered on the computer after installation – this may interfere with the card installing properly.

NOTE: When you’re handling the inside of your computer, you should always ground yourself to keep static electricity from surging into the motherboard. You should also work on a static resistant surface, like a tabletop.

Author Name:Jason Frye
Published Date:23 March 2011
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