USB 2.0 in Windows XP

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  • Details about using USB 2.0 with Windows XP - Service Pack 1 for XP adds support for USB 2.0. This page explains how to upgrade to use new Microsoft USB drivers if you had some OEM drivers for USB 2.0 previously installed on your computer.
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USB 2.0 Support is provided by Windows XP Service Pack 1. If you have SP1, you will not need any custom, OEM drivers to use USB 2.0.

USB 2.0 Support in Windows XP with Service Pack 1

About this Page...

This page walks through the steps needed to upgrade from OEM drivers provided with USB 2.0 card to new Microsoft USB released with Windows XP Service Pack 1. Instructions provided on this page assume that:

  1. You are running Windows XP
  2. You installed USB 2.0 card and drivers that came with the card BEFORE you upgraded to Service Pack 1.
  3. [Optional] You installed Windows XP Service Pack 1. If not, do it first (as listed below).

If you installed your USB 2.0 card AFTER you upgraded to Service Pack 1, the drivers should be already on your computer and Add Hardware Wizard should find the proper drivers for you automatically.


Details on Upgrading to new Microsoft USB 2.0 Drivers


Original version of Windows XP came with support for USB 1.1 but not for USB 2.0. If you - like me - bought a USB 2.0 card before Service Pack 1 came out, then you had to install custom OEM (non-Microsoft) drivers to have the card work on Windows XP. The USB 2.0 standard was finalized just months ago and some of early drivers appear to have some troubles with modern USB 2.0 equipment like, for example, Epson Stylus Photo 2200. Interestingly, some older USB 2.0 equipment, like Epson Perfection 2450 Photo scanner connected to USB 2.0 works fine with OEM drivers (at least on my computer ;-).

How to Update

Windows XP Service Pack 1 comes with Microsoft drivers for USB 2.0. When you install the Service Pack, you will get the drivers copied to your computer. However, if you had other, non-Microsoft USB 2.0 drivers already installed, the Microsoft drivers will not override the OEM ones. That means that you have to do it manually yourself. Fortunately, this is not a very complex task. Here is the link to Microsoft Support Knowledge Base article that describes how to force update of your OEM USB 2.0 drivers to new Microsoft USB drivers:;en-us;329632.

One note to add is that what Microsoft calls "USB 2.0 EHCI Host controller" in the Knowledge Base article, might be named slightly differently on your computer depending on what name your USB 2.0 card vendor assigned to the driver. For example, on in my case the driver was called ""NEC PCI to USB Enhanced Host Controller," and after updating to Microsoft Drivers it is now called ""NEC PCI to USB Enhanced Host Controller (B1)."

Get Windows XP Service Pack 1 Installed First

That's right. Can't do much without it...

The Details Step by Step

To start updating the drivers, click on "Start" button, then right-mouse-click on "My Computer" and select "Manage" from the menu that opens. The Computer Management window will open, and then click on "Device Manager" in the left pane and expand the "Universal Serial Bus controllers" in the right pane  The following screen snapshot shows the list of USB drivers before updating them - the selected USB driver is the one I had to start update for to get all of them updated:

Double click on the driver to open driver properties, which will look something like the picture below:

Note that this is really an OEM driver, not a Microsoft one. Driver details for your case might look different depending on what card and drivers you got. Now click on the "Update Driver..." button and you will get the Hardware Update Wizard:

Make sure "Install the software automatically" is selected, and click Next. The wizard will find the new Microsoft USB 2.0 driver and will install it as the default driver on your computer. And that's all - you don't need to select any other USB driver in the Device Manager, all of them should be already updated.


Copyright 2002 and 2003 by Robert Zembowicz. All rights reserved.