No Mobo Book. Can I put a USB Port in Aptiva

April 13, 2011 at 05:50:01
Specs: Win98, 533MHz/650Mb
I have an old IBM Aptiva E Series 95U that I would like to add USB ports to; it doesn't have any built in and I have a "card" from another computer that plugs into the Mobo. I just don't see any plugs on theis Mobo for doing it. I didn't get the book or any CDs with this machine and I've already swapped out the memory to upgrade to over 600Mb (the 100 Watt PS was much too low to take two HDDs and a CD-ROM so I upped that to 300 - and it sits on the floor, outside the box!) I am running this machine on WIn98 SE with two 40Gb HDDs in it and it seems to run just fine - and much faster than the wife's 800MHz Comapq (this is supposed to be a 533MHz machine).

TIA for any and all input in this. I have looked around the Net and I can't find the manual for this Mobo - and it doesn't have an awful lot of pins where the USB plug could go...


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April 13, 2011 at 06:23:43
If the board doesn't have pci slot then u have big problem(i don't think isa usb card exist).

We can not fight new wars with old weapons, let he who desires peace prepare for war - PROPHET.

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April 13, 2011 at 06:31:04
First of all, Win98 can't handle more than 511MB of RAM. You need to hack your registry so only 511MB is used.

Second, there are two versions of Win98. Win98SE (second edition) is friendlier to USB devices. That said, finding drivers for modern USB hardware can be problematic. Virtually all new USB devices do not have Win89 drivers available.

What is your reason for wanting USB capabilities?

For what it is worth look at the link below. Your machine may be as old as 1994 vintage.

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April 13, 2011 at 07:40:06
Way back when USB was a new thing, there were some mboards that had no physical built in USB ports, but they did have a header on the mboard for one or two USB ports that you could connect an optional wiring adapter / plate with one or two USB ports in it to that you installed in a card slot space in the case. In that situation, USB was mentioned in the bios Setup, and it probably would have had USB 1.0 support .

The bios MUST have USB support.
If there is no mention at all of USB in the mboard's bios Setup, e..g. USB enable / disable , Assign IRQ to USB, then your system cannot support a USB controller card even if you did install one.

As kuwese has pointed out, there is probably no such thing as an ISA USB controller card, so if your mboard has no PCI slots then you can't install a USB controller card.

If you bios DOES mention USB.....

- you must enable it, and assign an IRQ to it if the latter is there, in the bios

- the way the pins for USB headers are wired up was never standardized. The way they are wired up and what positions each pin is in may or may not be compatible with a modern wiring adapter / plate with one or two USB ports in it to that you install in a card slot space in the case, unless you get one that has an individual female connector for each wire. You will need to find info about which pins on the mboard are for USB and what each pin is supposed to connect to.

"Virtually all new USB devices do not have Win8 9 drivers available."
(Win 98)

- Win 98 and up will automatically detect USB 1.x controllers and install built in generic drivers for them (if they're enabled in the bios Setup.)


"Virtually all new USB devices do not have Win89 drivers available."
(Win 98)

Windows 98SE and previous Microsoft operating systems have NO built in support for recognizing flash drives; Windows ME was the first Microsoft operating system that did.

It used to be flash drives came with Windows 98, and/or, more often, 98SE drivers that you could install, but that's no longer the case. You can still download 98SE drivers from a few flash drive manufacturer's web sites, but I've found these drivers to be a better solution.....

If you're not sure whether you have Windows 98 or 98SE, RIGHT click on My Computer - Properties.
Whether it is 98 or 98 Second Edition is shown on the right on the first page you see.

Generic USB Mass Storage drivers.
These allow many USB devices that have no drivers for 98 and 98SE to work in those operating systems.


Win98 original, modified from the 98SE versions.

The 2.x versions support the recognition of many USB devices.
The 3.x versions also support the recognition of USB 2.0 controllers.

NOTE that the 2.x versions have NO Un-install; the 3.x versions DO - in Add/Remove Programs - Remove USB 2.0 stack.

After you have installed these drivers, after you have plugged in or installed a USB device that hasn't been plugged in or installed before, you are prompted to have Windows search for drivers - do that, it will find the drivers, and that same USB device is detected automatically when it's plugged in or installed after that.

These drivers work for many devices, but there are some they can't detect.
E.g. Apple never made drivers for their devices for previous to Windows 2000, so an iPod , iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, etc., cannot be recognized.

If a camera or other device that uses memory cards isn't recognized, these drivers will recognize most memory card reader devices if you plug the memory card from the device into a reader.

Flash drives and memory cards show up in My Computer or Windows Explorer simply as a drive letter with a Removable Disk label, rather than them possibly having a specific label as they do in 2000 and above, e.g. Kingston Data Traveler.

The 3.x versions of these drivers make the Safely Remove Hardware icon appear in your taskbar quite reliably when certain USB devices data can be stored on have been plugged in. That's not as reliable in the 2.x versions.

The same as in ME and up, you must click on that icon when you want to unplug a USB device when Windows is running, otherwise you can damage the data on the device.

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