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Will my Windows XP computer work with a USB keyboard?

Will my XP computer work with a USB keyboard?

Yes, and possibly no.

It really depends on exactly what you’re asking.

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Windows XP supports USB keyboards regardless of what machine you are
on. If your machine has USB ports, they’re working and Windows has the
appropriate drivers installed (which it should by default), and your
USB keyboard works, then absolutely – Windows should work with that
keyboard.

“Before Windows is loaded it’s your computer, or
rather your computer’s BIOS, that determines whether or not a USB
keyboard can be used.”

Seems simple enough, right?

The problem is what happens before Windows XP loads.

Before Windows XP boots, whether or not your keyboard will work has
nothing to do with Windows.

Before Windows is loaded it’s your computer, or rather your
computer’s BIOS, that determines whether or not a USB keyboard can be
used. And even then, that’s only for as long as the BIOS is in
control.

The most common example is a machine such as my old desktop machine.
Its BIOS did not support USB keyboards. That means that I
could not access the BIOS settings or interrupt the boot process with a
key press. However, once Windows was loaded, the keyboard worked just
fine.

If I needed to access the BIOS settings my only recourse was to get
a standard PS2 keyboard, power down the machine, plug it in, and
reboot. The machine, or again more correctly that machine’s BIOS,
recognized the PS2 keyboard and I could manipulate all the BIOS
settings I wanted. Once I was done, I would once again power down,
unplug the PS2 keyboard, and reboot into Windows where the USB keyboard
would once again work.

The BIOS installed on most recent machines support USB keyboards
from the very beginning. But most older machines do not, and you have
to resort to the same tricks I had to if you want to play with BIOS
settings or other things available before Windows boots up and enables
its more extensive USB support.

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7 comments on “Will my Windows XP computer work with a USB keyboard?”

  1. Shortly after reading your article, I came across a question posted on Yahoo! Answers. The asker said he was using XP and had 3 accounts. His USB keyboard worked with 2 of the accounts but not with the 3rd (which is apparently a limited account.) So that got me thinking… does the type of account have a bearing on whether or not a USB keyboard – or any other USB device – will work? Is this a problem with only XP or could it be a problem with Vista?

    The link to the question on Yahoo! Answers was almost 200 characters long so I created this Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/5t4dj6

    If it doesn’t work, could you search on Yahoo! Answers for the question: “Very moody keyboard” and offer your expert opinion? Thanks.

    Reply
  2. what then is the advantage of having a usb keyboard on an older machine, I wonder? Why not simply use a ps2 keyboard for all your work? unless you want all the fancy multimedia buttons etc…

    Reply
  3. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    In my case, the USB keyboard was wireless.

    Frequently people get nice new USB keyboards with form
    factors or features they prefer, and put the old dusty
    crusty PS2 keyboard aside.

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

    iD8DBQFIWXGXCMEe9B/8oqERAt74AJ4uRWxGYRO7zLL8Z9h3USqBBOsKZgCfRUvV
    kwrVyCGUa8Xs8BkB/yckZF0=
    =r2AY
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

    Reply
  4. The advantage of using USB keyboard/Mouse is it’s hot pluggable. With a PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse, you’ve got to restart the computer before the keyboard would work, with USB keyboard, you just plug it and it’ll work instantly.

    This might seem silly reason, unless you’re using a laptop and you have some apps that you just can’t work with a touchpad (most fast-paced game, image editing software, 3D Modelling, etc)

    Reply
  5. I could not use my ps2 for both my keyboard and mouse but if I use usb keyboard and mouse it work okay. What’s y problem?

    Reply
  6. Here’s my annoying problem,
    The ports of Keyboard and Mouse are not working so I have to use USB-PS/2 converter and it worked but a problem occur with my keyboard. It’s just that when I play games like racing games which require me to press a key while holding another key but when doing so the key which is on hold stops from being on hold while in fact Im holding it.??????
    Confusing? Actual game sample, while accelerating need to turn left but when i turn left my car stops accelerating even if i am still holding the accelerator key… pls help me with this. thank you in advance^_^

    Reply
  7. I have recently bought a new PC with DP45SG motherboard. My keyboard behaves in the same manner as indicated by “Julius Oliver Honor” in the previous post. If any solution is acheived, please post it to me also.

    Previous post by “Julius Oliver Honor “
    —–
    Here’s my annoying problem,
    The ports of Keyboard and Mouse are not working so I have to use USB-PS/2 converter and it worked but a problem occur with my keyboard. It’s just that when I play games like racing games which require me to press a key while holding another key but when doing so the key which is on hold stops from being on hold while in fact Im holding it.??????
    Confusing? Actual game sample, while accelerating need to turn left but when i turn left my car stops accelerating even if i am still holding the accelerator key… pls help me with this. thank you in advance^_^

    Reply

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