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How to Use a USB Hub

by Staff Writer

USB hubs

Things You Need:

  • USB hub
  • USB cables
  • Twist-ties or rubber bands for organizing cables (optional)

When computers started coming with USB interfaces, it quickly became easier than ever to connect new peripherals to your computer. Of course, it's not too difficult to use up all of the available USB interfaces on your computer. Fortunately, a device called a USB hub can let you connect even more USB devices to your computer by letting multiple USB devices share a single USB connection on your computer. Connecting a USB hub is surprisingly simple and requires no new configurations on your computer.

Using a USB Hub:

  1. Decide where you'd like to place your USB hub. It's a good idea to choose a convenient location that is within reach when you're sitting in front of your computer.

  2. If your USB hub came with a power adapter, plug the power adapter into the wall and then connect the other end to your hub.

  3. If your hub didn't come with a USB cable or a USB cable isn't attached to it, you'll need to purchase one. Choose a cable that's long enough to reach from your computer's USB ports to the spot where you've decided to put your hub. A 6-foot cable will generally provide you with ample length.

  4. Plug the USB cable into any of your computer's USB ports. It's generally a good idea to choose a port on the back of the computer so the wire isn't visible. It doesn't matter which port you choose. If all of your ports are currently in use, simply pick a device, unplug it from your computer and plug it into the USB hub; it should be back up and running as soon as you plug the USB hub into your computer.

  5. Plug each one of your devices into the USB hub. Your operating system may need to take a moment to "re-identify" the USB devices, but they should all be back up and running soon. If any of your USB devices draw a particularly large amount of power, you may want to keep those devices plugged directly into your computer so that they don't have to compete for power with other devices on the hub. (You can spot power problems when plugging one device into a hub makes other devices turn off and vice versa.)

  6. If you like to keep your computer area tidy, feel free to use twist-ties or rubber bands to organize the cables.


  1. When you are purchasing a USB hub, pay attention to both the number of additional USB ports that the hub will provide and whether or not it is a powered hub. You'll know that it's a powered hub if it comes with a power adapter. Devices such as portable music players require a certain amount of power to be provided by the USB hub. Since you're splitting the power from one USB port on your computer across all of the ports on your hub, a powered hub is required to provide certain devices with enough power to communicate with your computer.

Buy USB and Firewire Hubs
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