Are you worried that your USB ports are either underperforming or out of spec? Does it seem like you are not getting the amount of charge you need from these ports? You can use the built-in capabilities of Windows, a third-party app, or a voltmeter to detect the amount of power available.
You can check the power capabilities of the USB ports using the device manager in Windows. To find the data in Windows 10, follow these steps:
1. Type “Device Manager” in the taskbar’s search box. If you don’t see the search box in your bottom taskbar, right-click where it’s empty. Then, point your mouse cursor to “Search” and click on the “Show search box” so it is checked.
After you have typed the app’s name in the search box, your computer’s Device Manager will launch.
2. In the Device Manager, click on the “Universal Serial Bus controllers” section to unfold it.
3. Right-click one of the entries named “USB Root Hub” the or “Generic USB Hub” and choose “Properties.”
4. In the new window, you will have to click on details. Then, under “Property -> Device description,” select “Power data.”
This will show you the power classification Microsoft has implemented since Windows 8. Going from D0 to D3, the higher the number, the lower the USB port’s power will be. Therefore, if you see D0, it means your USB port has the maximum power output.
Accordingly, check all the USB ports on your PC. Their number will depend on your motherboard and form factor – ATX vs. mATX vs. mini-ITX as the smallest one with the lowest number of USB ports. The lowest power output is D3, which happens when your computer enters a sleep state.
If you have enabled a device for wake-up, it will have to enter power states D1 or D2, but only if you see this supported under “Power capabilities.”
There are different third-party software programs online that you can download to get information about your USB ports. USBDeview is free software that provides the user with the power specs of the USB ports on a computer. It is a portable program, and you do not have to install anything on your computer.
To use USBDeview:
1. Download the software here.
2. Extract the files and run the application file.
3. Locate the USB ports. An easy way to do this is to click on the Description label to sort the devices by description. This will group all the USB ports and make them easier to find in the list.
4. Click on the one you want to check to highlight it.
5. Scroll over until you find the column heading that says power. Clicking here will tell you how much energy the port is using.
Another way to learn the power output of your USB ports is to use a physical USB voltmeter. These devices detect input voltage, current, power, capacity, and energy of the port. Unlike the two methods listed above that only work on a computer or laptop, you can use a voltmeter to detect the energy capabilities of other devices, such as phones, power banks, and car chargers.
There is a wide selection of voltmeters available for low prices, and they come with a variety of features. Once you have purchased one, it requires just a simple connection to display the power information for the port.
You can now test your USB ports and check their power output. Whether you think it’s not working correctly or are wondering if it has enough power to perform a task, one of these methods are most likely to help. If you have difficultly understanding the differences between USB-C and USB 3, here are the differences.