USB

Why can't my laptop read USB 2?

Episode 1561

Carlo from Ontario, BC CAN

Carlo has a small laptop with a USB 3.0 port. But suddenly, it won't read USB 2. What gives? Leo says that USB 3.0 is supposed to be backwards compatible as long as the plug is Type A. It could be a faulty connector, or the connector pins are dirty. The connector could have also shorted out. Shine a light in and look for some cruft, or even damage on the surface of the contacts. ScooterX in the chatroom suggests that it may be a driver issue. Go into the device manager (windows key + X) and look to see if there's a red X. Or delete the drivers and then restart to reinstall.

Can I download higher quality photos and videos by connecting over USB?

Google Pixel 3

Episode 1538

Garett from Chico, CA

Leo says yes, all Android phones can do this. He just needs to get a USB cable, either USB Type A or Type C depending on what his computer has. A Windows PC should be able to mount the phone as a drive, but he may need to get software for it if he's on Mac. He can look for "Android File Transfer Manager" which is a free program that allows the Mac to see the Android device.

How can I connect Thunderbolt 3 to USB-C?

SanDisk Dual Drive Type-C

Episode 1491

Brian from Nashville, TN

Brian runs an external Thunderbolt 2 drive and Parallels to dual boot into Windows. He upgraded his SSD, which works on his laptop, but it won't attach to his Mac Mini. How can he adapt it? Leo says that the Thunderbolt 3 connector is the same as the USB-C connector. But that doesn't mean it has the Thunderbolt controller built in. So he may need to get a Thunderbolt 3 external enclosure to use it, but it's not cheap. He could use a Type A USB 3.1 data cable connector to the Type-C drive and he should get full throughput.

Why don't my computer speakers work?

Logitech USB Speakers

Episode 1424

Steve from New Jersey

The left speaker on Steve's computer stopped working. He replaced the speaker, replaced the cables, updated the drivers, and even used Linux on a USB stick. None of that worked. What's left? Rich says to try plugging a headphone into the jack to see if that works. Steve thinks that besides the drivers, he thinks that it's still a software issue. He should look at the speaker settings, and should try a different USB plug.

Why can't I read my external hard drive?

NewerTech USB 3.0 Universal Drive Adapter

Episode 1381

Dennis from Santa Monica, CA

Dennis' computer has a Western Digital Passport external hard drive that mounts, but it can't be read it or ejected. Then it crashes the computer. Leo says that it's a USB device that isn't fully mounting. It's probably an issue with either the USB controller on his computer, or the cable itself. Dennis should try using a different USB cable first. Then he should try plugging it into another USB port and see if he can replicate the issue. The USB driver may also be corrupted.

How does Google Voice work?

Google Voice

Episode 1364

Gary from San Diego, CA

Gary wants to know about Google Voice with the Pixel phone. Leo says that Google Voice started as GrandCentral, which he used to use for his office. Then Google bought it and created a central phone hub for everyone. It gives you a new universal number and then rings different phones until it finds you. It also has custom voicemail boxes for people in your contact list, strangers, close friends, and unknown. It also sends you a text message with the voicemail. And it's free to use.