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112 votes
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Why was USB 1.0 incredibly slow even for its time?

USB was initially designed as a replacement for the 'legacy' ports including PS/2, serial and parallel ports. For those, up to 12 Mbit/s (or even only 1.5 Mbit/s, thx @lvd) seemed reasonable - USB was ...
Zac67's user avatar
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68 votes

How did early green PS/2 to USB mouse adapters work?

You are correct, they are only passive adapters with wires inside. There is no IC inside. And no, PS/2 protocol is not in any way compatible with USB protocol. The trick is, the chip inside the mouse ...
Justme's user avatar
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51 votes
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Did they forget to add the physical layout to the USB keyboard standard?

They didn’t forget to add such a function, they chose not to add one. The HID Usage Tables explain this as follows (section 10, page 88): Note: A general note on Usages and languages: Due to the ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
51 votes

Why was USB 1.0 incredibly slow even for its time?

USB was very fast for its time and parts/cables cost. It was intended to reduce the variety of specific cables and connectors needed for existing equipment, such as printers (huge Centronics, about ...
TonyM's user avatar
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35 votes

Why was USB 1.0 incredibly slow even for its time?

TL;DR: It's All About Use Case. USB was intended as a low cost unified alternative and ultimate replacement of common peripheral device interfaces: serial, parallel and other custom variants of the ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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26 votes

How did an old mouse detect if it was connected to PS/2 or USB port?

The chip inside the mouse or a keyboard is a microcontroller that can detect to which interface it is being connected. Such MCUs are manufactured by for example Holtek and you could at least back in ...
Justme's user avatar
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24 votes

How did early green PS/2 to USB mouse adapters work?

The adapter is passive. The mouse is designed to talk either USB or PS/2 and can figure out which is currently connected
dave's user avatar
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21 votes

Did they forget to add the physical layout to the USB keyboard standard?

No, they did not forget it. The HID descriptor does include a bCountryCode field, so it is in the specification, but it is not used for keyboard layout indication. Keyboards may use it to indicate the ...
Justme's user avatar
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20 votes
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Mind-Controller User Input from the late 90s

The device was called the MindDrive, from a company called "The Other 90%". It had a few games available including MindSkier, which was a downhill slalom game. Nothing in particular ever happened to ...
hobbs's user avatar
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19 votes

Why was USB 1.0 incredibly slow even for its time?

Like most things in the "silicon" specification world, the specification was based around a "minimally viable" VLSI implementation at the time of writing. When I was a grad ...
b degnan's user avatar
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18 votes

Did they forget to add the physical layout to the USB keyboard standard?

As a historical side note and an extension to Stephen's Answer, a few historical notes may be helpful: As seen in the citation, it was 'to minimize the number of changes to the electronics' more ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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16 votes
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Wanted: 5.25" floppy to USB adapter

The data pin-outs are the same, assuming a reasonably “new” 5.25″ drive, not an early ‘80s model. It was a common upgrade to replace the second 5.25″ drive on an older machine with a 3.5″ one, so you ...
Euro Micelli's user avatar
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15 votes

Formatting a 720K floppy disk over USB fails with Windows 10

There are some USB drives which support double-density disks and formats, but as you suspect, not all of them. It is still worth trying a plain format a: to see what it does — USB drives control ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
15 votes
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How can I connect a modern USB keyboard to a system requiring PS/2?

The short version of this answer boils down to something pretty simple and easy: Cheap, easy: try more different keyboards with your passive PS/2↔USB pin adapter OR Not cheap, still easy: buy a ...
PowerLuser's user avatar
15 votes

Why was USB 1.0 incredibly slow even for its time?

You're looking at it from the wrong end. Remember that one of the things USB had to be able to do was serve as a place to plug in a mouse and keyboard, and it was going to compete with existing mice ...
cjs's user avatar
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14 votes

How to use USB flash drives with Windows 98 SE?

Windows 98 doesn't come with any drivers built-in for the USB Mass Storage class. Fortunately, there are some generic drivers available, such as from here. I found this site by searching the web for &...
Alex Taylor's user avatar
13 votes

How can I connect a modern USB keyboard to a system requiring PS/2?

Not at all. Well, at least not with any simple plug / converter. USB works completely differently from PS/2; any converter will need an active component. And no, those pesky PS/2-USB plugs that were ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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13 votes

Did they forget to add the physical layout to the USB keyboard standard?

It's obvious that the keyboard could automatically tell the PC its layout. In 2005 I was unlucky enough to work on a Solaris system at a university computer lab in Sweden. Normally, I don't care ...
gerrit's user avatar
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12 votes
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How to use USB flash drives with Windows 98 SE?

File System Windows 98 typically uses FAT32, whereas later versions of Windows support NTFS. While it should recognize a flash drive at the low-level hardware no matter what file system is installed, ...
manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact's user avatar
12 votes

Connecting Panasonic "Penwriter" RK-P400C to modern PC using USB to serial cable

I successfully got the RK-P400C printing from a serial console (minicom on Linux) today. Here's how to do it for future reference...;) The DB25 connector on the right side is a 25 pin serial port. At ...
MattyZ's user avatar
  • 351
12 votes

Gotek drives for MS-DOS (plus few more constraints)

Firstly, a little bit of background information. The Gotek is designed to work with a wide number of computers, not just IBM-compatibles. The original standard for floppy drives (designed by Shugart) ...
Kaz's user avatar
  • 8,176
12 votes

Why was USB 1.0 incredibly slow even for its time?

USB was mainly about replacing the legacy serial, parallel printer, and PS/2 ports – it had plenty of bandwidth for that. Furthermore, it is ultimately a point-to-point connection. With a virtual root ...
Kuba hasn't forgotten Monica's user avatar
11 votes

Formatting a 720K floppy disk over USB fails with Windows 10

Note: As I don't have a computer with Windows 10, I do not know whether it helps there as well, but this worked for me on Windows 7. I do have a Fuji USB floppy drive (Not sure if this is the same ...
tofro's user avatar
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11 votes

How did early green PS/2 to USB mouse adapters work?

As others are saying, they're passive adapters and, as these two pinout sites detail, they work by connecting the USB Data- line to the PS/2 Data line and the USB Data+ line to the PS/2 Clock line and ...
ssokolow's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

Accessing a USB drive from DOS

The FreeDOS kernel doesn’t support USB drives on its own. When you boot from a USB drive, the CSM makes it available through the BIOS 13h services, so it appears to DOS as a “standard” drive and ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
10 votes

Role of Termcap under contemporary unices

The role of Termcap in contemporary Unix-style systems is the same as it always has been: it provides a library and database allowing software to adapt to the varying capabilities of different ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
9 votes

Is there a device that connects to a USB port and acts like a normal PC floppy drive?

I don't think anyone sells something like that in one piece. There are, however, components on the market that should allow you to build that from scratch: A GoTek or HxC that behaves like a "real" ...
tofro's user avatar
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9 votes

Is there a device that connects to a USB port and acts like a normal PC floppy drive?

There's no way a USB anything can transparently emulate a floppy drive without a driver being preinstalled. The traditional PC floppy drive was an ISA device and appeared on specific I/O ports (...
LawrenceC's user avatar
  • 1,209
9 votes

Why was USB 1.0 incredibly slow even for its time?

It's in the name: Universal Serial Bus. A variety of serial bus interfaces were used to connect low and medium-speed peripherals like modems, keyboards, mice, scanners, protection dongles, and so on. ...
RETRAC's user avatar
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9 votes

XW8000 workstation boot from USB

Adding manufacturer and type of machine might help others to identify what this is about. According to Google the XW8000 seems be an early 2000s PC by HP. Is that right? Are you sure it's even ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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