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How to physically identify USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices

USB drives aren’t expensive, especially if you’re looking to buy one of a smaller capacity. Smaller capacity USBs, and USB 2.0 devices are now hard to find. Most USBs are USB 3.0 however, there are also quite a few counterfeit ones out there. They may claim to be USB 3.0, or of a certain capacity however software can be installed on the device so that the system you connect it to thinks it’s both a USB 3.0 device and of a certain capacity. Here’s how you can physically identify USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.

Physically identify USB 3.0 and USB 2.0

USB 3.0 devices are faster than USB 2.0 device but this speed is delivered by adding additional pins where it connects to your system. To check if a USB is 3.0, get a flashlight or use your phone’s flash. Tilt the USB drive towards yourself so that you can see inside its connector. You should see five pins at the very far back as shown in the photo below.

These are the additional pins that allow a USB to deliver more speed when transferring data. In the photo below, you can see an ordinary USB 2.0 drive where the five pins at the back are absent.

Remember to examine the connecting point of the drive and not some cable that it connects to in order to connect to your system.

Other, less reliable methods for physically checking if a device is USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 is to examine the connecting point. If it’s blue, it indicates that it is a USB 3.0 device however, if it’s a counterfeit device and it’s a good counterfeit, this is easy to fake. You can also check if the USB drive says ‘USB 3.0’ on it somewhere but again, this isn’t very reliable. It doesn’t take much to print something on a device.

If you’ve made sure that your device is indeed USB 3.0, but you’re not getting the right speed that comes with using this type of hardware, check out how you can get USB 3.0 speed on Windows 10.

USB devices may be cheap and because they are, not many people think they might be worth counterfeiting until they buy one that doesn’t work the way it should. A lot of things are surprisingly easy to fake including entire brand logos, names, and just about everything else that’s copyright protected. If you plan on using a USB to store, or transfer important data, you should make sure the device you’re using isn’t going to corrupt your files.

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