Category Archives: Hardware

How to Get a Wireless Keyboard and Mouse to Work with a USB Hub on Startup

Okay, so here’s what happened. I bought a new computer and decided to treat myself to a wireless keyboard and mouse. When I plugged the receiver into the USB port in the back of my computer, the keyboard and mouse sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t, so I figured the signal was having trouble reaching all the way to the back of the computer. Sure enough, when I plugged the receiver into the USB port in the front of my computer, they both worked fine.

The only problem was that having a little USB receiver sticking out the front of my computer all the time didn’t look very nice, so I tried to think of ways to fix it. I bought a (bus powered) USB hub, plugged it into the USB port in the back of my computer and… my computer wouldn’t start up properly. If I turned the computer on and then connected the wireless receiver to the hub, it would work fine, but it could not handle the USB hub being plugged in before the computer was turned on.

I thought maybe it had something to do with the USB hub needing external power, so I bought a self-powered hub (the kind that has a power adapter that plugs into the wall) and tried again. Nope. Same problem.

Finally, I checked out some websites and found that going into my computer’s BIOS settings at startup and changing the USB settings from “high speed” to “full speed” let me use a hub at start up. I am not sure why this works, but it does. So, if you are having trouble getting your USB hub (and therefore your wireless devices) to work on start up, changing your USB settings in your BIOS might help. I suspect that it may also slow down your rate of transfer over USB cable, so if you notice a big difference, you might have to find a better solution. I only discovered this work-around today, so I can’t say yet whether it will end up slowing things down to an acceptable rate or not. I will report back later if that ends up being the case. If so, presumably buying a high-speed hub would fix matters. I’m not sure, but that would be my best guess for the next step…

(By the way, this worked with both the bus-powered and the self-powered USB hub, so you do not need to buy a self-powered hub to get your wireless devices working at startup. Try the above solution before going out and buying a self-powered one like I did!)

Unplug Computer and Internet during Thunderstorm

Here is a short, but sweet, bit of computer advice. If you hear a thunderstorm on the horizon, unplug your computer AND unplug the cable that connects your computer to the internet. In fact, if you live in a place that gets a lot of thunderstorms (in my city we seem to be having one per day this summer — climate change??), you might want to consider leaving your computer and internet connection unplugged whenever you are not using them, at least during the storm season.

The reason I am writing this is because we had a thunderstorm yesterday while I was out and my computer and internet modem (ADSL) seem to have been hit. They are both going to need replacing as a result.

This has not happened to me before in over twenty years of owning a computer, so perhaps if you don’t think it will happen to you, then just stick with unplugging your computer when you are at home and a thunderstorm develops. If you have a good (and new, and not previously damaged by a thunderstorm) surge protector, you might not have to unplug your computer, but you still may want to consider doing something about your internet connection.

If it’s not plugged in, it can’t be fried.