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I've noticed that some printers and scanners have USB. What is it? Can I use it?

Virtually all new PCs and laptops are equipped with Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. Windows 95 OSR/2 provides limited USB support and Windows 98 offers extensive built-in USB support. If you use one of these operating systems and your computer was built in 1997 or later, there's a good chance it has the USB. Check the documentation that came with your system. USB peripherals include keyboards, mice, printers, joysticks, modems, scanners, digital cameras, and speakers. USB peripherals are designed from day one as true Windows Plug and Play devices. There are no boards to install and no jumpers, dip switches, or IRQs to set. Better still, all USB devices are hot swappable and can be recognized and initialized without forcing you to reboot your computer. USB transfers data up to 12 Mbps (million bits per second); that's 3 to 5 times faster than parallel devices and more than 20 to 40 times faster than serial ports. The cables can be up to 5 meters (about 15 feet) in length, and the connectors are slim and compact. Best of all, you can use USB to attach up to 127 devices to the root hub without worrying about IRQs.


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