Adaptec USBControl

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  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good

Pros

  • Free

Cons

  • None

Adaptec has released USBControl, a small USB 2.0 utility aimed at making sure you plug the right peripheral into the right socket. USBControl is a free download from Adaptec's Web site, and will work with any USB 2.0 equipment -- not just Adaptec's own.

It's not a particularly sophisticated piece of software: all USBControl does is show you which USB peripherals are plugged into which ports -- it warns you if a USB 2.0 device is plugged into a USB 1.1 socket. There are three visual states the utility can be in, all providing different levels of information.

In its most minimal form, USBControl is a taskbar icon. If everything's as it should be, this is just a USB logo, but will flash with a star if there's a problem with a USB peripheral. Click on this and a small window pops up summarising all the USB peripherals connected to your PC. Each has the hub and port number it's connected to next to it. If any of these are USB 2.0 devices connected to a USB 1.1 port, they'll have a flashing star beside them. Note that hubs themselves aren't shown in this view, only the devices connected to them.

Click on any of the listed peripherals and a larger window will open. This gives a map of all the connections, including the hubs. Here you can also see the names and icons assigned to each device. For some types of peripheral that use generic drivers these may not be representative, so you can edit the name and icon as required. If the device is a USB 2.0 device, a small '2' will appear at the bottom right of the icon. Click on an icon in the large window and you'll see if it's connected to the right sort of port.

USBControl doesn't run on systems that don't have a USB 2.0 adapter installed -- it would be of little use on such systems anyway. When you get your first high-speed USB peripherals, it will be more appropriate. It's a useful tool to check that you're getting the best out of your devices, and it's free.

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