Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Using USB 3 on a USB 2 computer is absolutely an option! There is a lot of compatibility built into the way USB is designed.
Leo, can I buy a one-terabyte drive, USB 3.0 and have it work on my computer with a 2.0 USB?
In this excerpt from Answercast #79, I look at the compatibility built into USB 2 and USB 3 ports and devices.
Fortunately, the answer to this one is nice and clear, "Yes, you can!" In fact, it reminds me of a small story that I ran into myself.
I actually purchased a one-terabyte external drive - one of my Seagate Free Agent drives that I recommend regularly. I received it and plugged it into a computer.
I didn't really think that much of it. I did the usual formatting and backup and so forth.
I'm now using it on my Mac as my backup drive for the Mac's backup program. And I noticed that the backups were actually being very, very fast. Much faster than I expected.
As it turned out... I suddenly realized that this particular MacBook Pro that I have (it's one of the Retina models from earlier this year) actually has USB 3 support!
What I didn't realize is that the USB 3.0 compatible device that I had just purchased actually had a USB 3.0 device to plug into - in the form of my Mac; and it's working out very, very well.
The device will still connect to my USB 2.0 supporting devices just fine and I can do whatever I need with it.
So, the short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, absolutely.
There's lots of compatibility built into the way USB is designed and this happens to be one of them. It's a very easy in fact to overlook. In fact, the device you have may be running at a higher speed than you think!
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
Next from Answercast 79 - Are there problems if you put too many large files on your desktop?
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