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  • PS/2 vs. USB Mouse and Keyboard

    Posted on Cybertooth Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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      • #2287395 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        About a year ago, I repurposed my wife’s previous office PC into a Windows Media Center system. It’s an older machine, an HP p6234 from 2009 with Windows 7.

        When I took over the computer, I noticed that the case had two PS/2 ports in the rear, one for a mouse and the other for a keyboard, and yet the computer had been shipped with USB mouse and keyboard. I remember thinking, “what a waste of two perfectly useful ports, and they’re taking up USB connections that could be used for something else.”

        As is wont to happen, though, inertia prevailed and I wasn’t getting around to switching out the mouse and keyboard. There was still a single free USB port in front, so there was no connectivity emergency.

        Over the months, however, a certain annoyance with this computer slowly built up in my mind. Whenever I had to reboot the system, I noticed that it would take an inordinately long time to reach the Windows 7 sign-in screen–minutes rather than seconds. The monitor display would stay black for 3, 4, 5 minutes, not the kind of wait that you’d want to stand around for. Many times I’d ask myself, “What the heck is it doing in the background for all this time?”

        On top of this, on about half of the reboots, when I reached the sign-in screen, I could neither type anything nor move the mouse pointer and would have to power-cycle the machine, necessitating another 5-minute wait for Windows to come up. Aaaarrrgghh!!!

        Last week I finally got tired of this nonsense and decided to try plugging in a PS/2 mouse and keyboard. I figured, I’ve never had an issue with a PS/2 device not working, so let’s see what happens. And what do you know, all of the above symptoms were solved together: not only do the mouse and keyboard work on every boot, but the boot time has dropped to less than half a minute.

        Score one for old technology over new tech.  🙂

         

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2287493 Reply
        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Well, the problem with USB is that there’s so many versions of it and they don’t all work alike… and doing it *right* is complicated and kind of expensive. (Unlike low-end USB devices. See the problem?)

        So, some of the failure modes are complicated.

        I’ve never had an issue with a PS/2 device not working

        I have, they’re just very rare.

        There was one case once where some but not all BIOS version numbers on a certain hardware model to fail to boot, if that one particular PS/2 keyboard was connected. (Keyboard turned out to have internal damage… from a liquid… so, I grabbed a new one of the same model number from the shelf. Happened around 2007 or so IIRC)

        Also, certain old HP (pre-Y2K) models were known to have an …electrically fragile… PS/2 port. Was particularly easy to fry motherboards through it by accident.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2287521 Reply
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Could it be, that your PC was trying to recognize connected USB as boot devices? If issue disapeared when connected via PS/2..
        Good to hear, that issue is solved.
        All I can think about, is the price and availability issue – these PS/2 peripherials are rather rare now. I have some old ones too, but not use them anymore.
        Also when you disconnect and reconnect PS/2 mouse and keyboard, you may have to restart PC, so PC recognizes these peripherials. Initialisation of PS2 is done once during boot.

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2287782 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Enjoy, just remember that hotplugging (hot swapping) PS/2 devices may cause failure.

      • #2287617 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        Could it be, that your PC was trying to recognize connected USB as boot devices? If issue disapeared when connected via PS/2.

        Wow, that must be exactly what was going on. Thanks very much. I can’t think of a better explanation. Somehow, the PC was trying to boot from the keyboard!

         

        • #2287809 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Somehow, the PC was trying to boot from the keyboard!

          Yes, it sound ridiculous, if you put it that way. But if you plug in device into USB, PC does not know what it is. It has to find out.
          The truth is, that unplugging USB mouse and keyboard speeded up your boot process, so there was some problem. Maybe not boot, maybe the recognition of device took so long..
          Anyway, good to hear that it boots faster now.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2287849 Reply
            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            Actually, then again… there are various kinds of other faults that may cause “USB” errors as their first symptom.

            Once came across a server with USB-related errors at boot. Turned out that the part at fault… was the CPU, a Xeon. (Which was then replaced under warranty.)

            • #2287850 Reply
              doriel
              AskWoody Lounger

              Once all my USB 3.0 ports stopped working, when all 2.0 were still functional.

              It was invalid USB 3.0 controller on motherboard. Non repairable issue, if you dont want to change motherboard.

              Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

              HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

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