The Best Secret To Identifying USB Ports

Dear Computer Lady,

Here’s another question regarding photos from Kindle to Laptop.

My Kindle is refurbished and did not come with a USB cable. The cable I use keeps my Kindle charged from the laptop, but the laptop never acknowledges that I have plugged in the Kindle.

Am I wrong to believe that a USB is a USB is a USB? And, since the laptop has more than one port, would it make any difference if I tried another? One port is connected to my wifi and the other is connected to my printer. The third one is the one I use to charge the Kindle.

Thank you, dear Computer Lady – you are very kind, Sid

Dear Sid,

There are actually 3 speeds of USB ports, and some computers have all three, while others have only 1 or 2.

There are also different qualities of USB cables. I suspect that your problem would probably be solved with a different cable, rather than a different port.

First, lets look at the three types of USB ports.

USB 1 is usually indicated by a white plastic piece in the port. USB 1 is rather slow with a maximum speed of 12 megabits per second, and I would usually use it for something like my mouse and keyboard.

USB 2 is usually indicated by a black connector. It is much faster with a maximum speed of 480 megabits per second, and is also backward compatible with usb 1 devices.

USB 3 is usually indicated by a blue connector. It is the fastest USB connection available, has transfer speeds up to 5 gigabits per second.

The colors of the USB ports is totally optional, but almost all computers that I have seen recently do use those colors.

If you are plugging your Kindle in a USB 1 port and there is a USB 2 or 3 available, it would be worth trying one of the faster ports.

My guess is that upgrading to the official Kindle cable would fix your problem.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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