Very general keyboard/mouse question

January 16, 2013 at 14:17:10
Specs: Win 7
Can most any USB keyboard or mouse be plugged into a
PS/2 port via a USB-to-PS/2 adapter, or does the keyboard
or mouse need to be specifically designed for that, in which
case it says so and usually comes with an adapter?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
January 16, 2013 at 14:35:21
I think it would have to be specially designed so no, I don't think all USB keyboards would work with an adapter (some might). You could try to buy a cheap USB card though.

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#2
January 16, 2013 at 18:46:13
I think he wants it to be PS2 in which case a USB card won't work for him.

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#3
January 16, 2013 at 23:09:44
I guess I'll ask a second question.

Are there any advantages to plugging a keyboard or mouse
into a USB port rather than a PS/2 port, if both are available
on the computer?

My computer has one PS/2 port, so I plug my USB keyboard
into it, and my USB mouse "naturally" is plugged into a USB
port. Both keyboard and mouse came with adapters for use
in PS/2 ports.

But in another thread here, somebody just linked to a keyboard
that might be more to my liking (keys that don't wobble and jam
slightly when pressed), and it says nothing about PS/2.

I know that a keyboard plugged into USB requires drivers to be
loaded in order to work, even in BIOS. No drivers are needed
if it is plugged into PS/2. Since the PS/2 port is there, I prefer it.
But maybe there's no real reason to prefer it.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#4
January 17, 2013 at 17:57:28
I have used PS2 adapters on USB keyboards before, generally on older computers that had no or limited USB usage (early Windows 95 machines) or USB problems and have not had problems. On the other hand, since Windows 98, I have not ever needed to load drivers (other than normal motherboard drivers) for using any wired keyboard for normal keyboard functions (special keys would probably need software to operate those options). I even recently purchased a keyboard with volume and mute buttons and they even worked without installing any software. Personally, I would use the USB connection (assuming you have enough USB connections) and keep the adapters in case you ever had problems and needed them in the future. The same goes for the mouse unless it has more than three buttons, you are unlikely to need software for them to operate. Note that for the keyboard and mouse to operate before Windows boots (BIOS, repair options, passwords, etc), they need to be plugged into USB jacks that are directly on the motherboard. USB jacks that are on hubs, expansion cards, and some front USB jacks (especially ones on combination card readers which have built in hubs) will not always work until Windows is fully running.
I hope that this clears some things up for you.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#5
January 17, 2013 at 19:55:36
Yes, it helps.

I didn't mean that the user has to install any drivers, just that there
is an additional layer of drivers loaded by the BIOS and the OS to
control USB that isn't required for PS/2. I'm not claiming it is a big
deal, but I tend to think that less is usually more when it comes to
software, and I just haven't heard of any advantage of USB over
PS/2 for keyboards and mice.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#6
January 17, 2013 at 21:13:57
When USB first came out, it might have been more true but it has been around 17 or 18 years approximately (very roughly from memory) and has been main stream for quite a number of years now. Use what you want, or what you have since all will work and work well. There is no difference in performance and even USB 1.1 is fast enough for the fastest typist, but I cannot see the reason for using an adapter if there is no reason since it is something else to fail or get unplugged. PS2 ports are apparently on their way out with most machines having only one now and some, none at all.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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