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Book Chapter 10 - Essential Peripherals
2. USB Standards
USB, or Universal Serial Bus, is the de facto standard by which we plug stuff into our computers. I don't care if it's a camera or a mouse or a keyboard. The odds are good. If you have any of these devices, you're probably going to be using USB. USB has some amazing benefits to it. We can usually take a USB device, plug it into our system, and it just works most of the time, which really makes our lives very convenient.
Now, in this episode, what I want to do is talk about the different USB standards that are out there. USB has been around for quite a while, and a number of different standards have come along. And it's important for you and for the exam that you're comfortable with those standards. So let's start off by going through all the different USB standards. USB One came out in two different speeds. It would either run at one gigabit per second or twelve gigabits per second. Now, in today's world, that seems incredibly slow, but back then, that was pretty quick.
And then on top of that, even in today's world, there are still plenty of devices that run at these speeds. Think about a keyboard or a mouse. They just don't care how fast you type; you're never going to be able to go faster than twelve megabits per second, I promise. Now, these standards lasted for quite a while, but they were eventually superseded by USB 2.0. USB 2.0 runs at 480 megabits per second. So it was a big speed leap, and it really helped to bring in things like USB thumbdrives and such, where they were actually fast enough and you could pull files off of them. Now, these ran for quite a while until we came to USB 30.
The USB 30 standard ran at a blistering five gigabits per second. But USB 30 had a lot of compatibility issues, and in fact, I still have a beautiful motherboard that is USB 30 that simply can't boot Windows. It was just issues with hardware. So they quickly updated the standard and came up with USB 3.0, which is what we use on most systems today. USB Three comes in two different speeds. Generation 1 was basically just the fix for USB 30, and it ran at five gigabits per second. And then USB 3 (generation 2) runs at its current top speed of ten gigabits per second.
Now, I cannot stress enough how important these speeds are for the exam. So what I want to do is let me just put up a little chart here, and what I need you to do is memorise this chart. Go ahead and pause it. Do whatever you need to do, but memorise this chart. Okay, here you go. So you've got all those speeds memorized, which is fantastic, because you're going to see them on the exam. Now, obviously, USB is a type of connectivity. So we have a lot of different types of physical connectors. So what I want to do right now is go through the most common types of USB connectors. Now when we talk about USB connectors, you'll hear the terms USB A connector and USB B connector.
Now at this point in time, I'm going to save a big discussion of what A and B mean because it's really kind of cool if you understand how it works. But for right now, all I want you to do is take a look at these different types of connectors and make sure you can recognise them. If, for example, you were to take a certification exam and somebody showed you a picture, you would say things like, "Oh, that's a USB Minib connector.
" Got the idea? So let's march through all these different connectors I have right here. So we're going to start off right here. This is the famous original USB-A connector. This connector is the first type of connector we saw with USB. And this is what we call the A connector. They're still incredibly popular today. This type of connector was also provided by this guy right here. This is a USB cable connector. USB-B connectors I'll give away a little bit from other episodes.
This is where we plug into the computer, and this is where we plug into different types of devices like scanners or something like that. So these two types of connectors were very popular for a long time. But one of the problems we ran into with USB is that smaller and smaller devices wanted to take advantage of it. And these large connectors were not exactly perfect for a lot of situations—cameras, smart devices, things like that. So we begin to see connectors like these.
So right here, that is a USB mini-B connector. We see this a lot of times—people plugging their cameras or video recorders into computers or other devices. We'd see these types of connectors. I have a scanner I use at home every day that has a connector just like that. Next is right here. This is a USB micro connector. Microb connectors are incredibly popular. If you own an Android device, odds are good that you are not only familiar with this type of connector, but you have lots and lots of these cables in your car, in your house, and all that kind of stuff. So the mini and the micro bees are very popular. This one right here next to it on the left is a USB 3-micro connector. So the problem we have with USB 3 is that it's so much faster than the other types of USB that it had to have its own proprietary type of connector.
What's actually interesting is that, if you look very carefully, you'll see that this larger part of the USB3 microconnector is exactly compatible with it. So I could actually, if I had a USB Three micro port to plug it in, take that regular USB micro connector and plug right into it. It's backward compatibility. Now. All these connectors were great. We've used them for years and years. But it wasn't that long ago that people were starting to get frustrated.
Particularly with that old-school USB A connector, you always try to put it in backwards, and you all know what I'm talking about because everybody watching this has done that. where you can't plug it in. You got to look at it, and then you finally plugged it in. Right? That changed a couple of years ago with the advent of USBC. And that's this guy right here. The big benefit of USBC is that it is capable of handling extremely high speeds of data throughput, but more importantly, it no longer can only go in one direction. You can plug it in either way, and it works perfectly well.
The challenge we run into with USB is that we have all these different speeds. So if you were to take your USB thumb drive and plug it into a USB one port, it would work, but it would run incredibly slowly. So we want people to have some methodology to look at the different types of ports on the back of their computers or in the front, whatever it might be, and to be able to recognise that one port might be USB-I compatible, another port might be USB-III Gen II compatible. And what the industry has tried to do—and by the way, this is not universal; it's not a law of physics—but they try pretty hard to do—is put different colours on the different ports.
So let's go through all of these different colors. So first, if you ever see a USB port or connector with a little bit of a white tab in here (in this particular example, I'm using USBA), that is probably going to be a USB Type-A compatible port or connector. If you see one that's black, like this one right here, that's going to be USB 2.0 compatible. Now, if you see a blue one, now notice this is a nice kind of neutral blue here; that's either going to be USB 30 or USB three one.
Probably USB 3.0, first gen one. If you see a pretty teal connector like this, you can pretty much be guaranteed that that's going to be USB three one. And last, if you see a connector that's going to be orange, or in this case, red, but it could be orange or even yellow, Those are kind of unique. Those are what we call charging ports. A lot of people want to plug into a USB simply because they want to charge their smartphone or something like that.
And what we've developed over the years is that for a lot of systems, like, for example, if I have a desktop, if I turn the desktop off, it's not charging anything. So these specialised ports basically mean that if the system is plugged in, it's working. There are exceptions to this, so you can't treat it as a law of physics, but if you see these types of colours, what we're talking about is a charging port. Now, in this example that I just showed you here, we're talking about USBA connectors.
That's usually where you're going to see this stuff, particularly if you're looking at the back of a system. But do keep in mind that even on other types of connectors, like a micro USB 30B connector, you'll often see these colours as well. Now, the important thing to remember with USB is that it has good backward compatibility. If you have a USB 3.0 thumb drive and you plug it into a USB 20 port, it will work, but it's only going to run at the speed of that port.
So that's where the colours really come in handy because it allows you to look at whatever your device is and plug it into the right speed for your kind of device. Okay, so for the exam, number one, please make sure you memories all of the different speeds for USB and the different versions for those speeds. Also, make sure that you can recognize the ports that we've shown you in this episode. And then third, be comfortable with the different types of colors. Maybe not so much because you're going to see it on the exam, but more importantly, in the real world, it's critical that we make sure that we plug the right speed of device into the USB port.
3. Understanding USB
For most of us, our experience with USB is simply grabbing some kind of USB device, plugging it into something, and it just works. That's fantastic. But in this episode, I want to drill down a little bit so we can really understand how USB works. So to get started, let's consider for a moment this USB-SB mouse. very simple mouse; nothing fancy here. It's got a USB A connector on the end. But when I plug this in, I'm plugging it into, for example, a system that has a motherboard with a built-in You're Ready USB controller.
What's taking place is built into my motherboard—it's almost like a little network from which we connect all these different USB devices. And built into the motherboard itself is this controller, which simply makes all this other stuff work. So when we're talking about USB, we get into this concept of what I call upstream and downstream. Let me show you. So this is the back end of some system here. I'm kind of drawing it like a desktop, but it could be a laptop port for all I care. And we plug it into the back of this, and this is some USB device.
I'm just drawing a box here, but it could be a mouse, a keyboard, or an external drive; I don't care; it's just some USB device. When this USB device plugs into the back of my system, it becomes subservient to the controller built in here. So what we're talking about is that we have a bunch of commands that are going downstream. It can be two-way communication, and that's fine, but the actual controller built into my motherboard is controlling and sending commands downstream to make sure that we connect properly. in the USB world. We have two very different types of connectors. We have a connector and a B connector. The A connectors are the ones you see that we always plug into those old, square-looking connectors. But we have a whole different set of connectors, which we call the upstream connectors, because whoever is plugging in here is taking commands from upstream.
So upstream is a B connector, and downstream is an A connector. Every time you connect any device via USB, you have a USB upstream connector and a USB downstream connector. Now, in most cases, I have a lot of stuff around here. Now in most cases, like this mouse here, we have an A connector, a good old A connector; nothing special there; but if you look on the other end, it's just soldered. There is no connector that really is a B connector electrically, but it's soldered in, so there's nothing to plug in or unplug. But with external devices, if you want to unplug a cable, you have to use a special connector called a B connector. and I've got one right here. Now just for fun, if you can name this device, my email is in this series.
Send me an email saying I know what that is. Mike. Okay. Anyway, on the back of this very ancient but good example device, I have this type of connector. This is a classic first-generation USB bee connector. So this is the little plug that goes in, and I plug that in, and I have made a proper upstream connection. Now, if you look at the other end of this cable, you'll see it's got an A. So the A is the downstream, and I'll plug that into the back of my computer. So the whole idea behind A and B isn't just limited to those big USB connectors. If you take a look here, I've got a USB mini connector and a USB micro connector. These also come in USB Microa and USB Microb, USB Mini A, and USB Benny B However, nobody uses the A versions of these two. So if you see a USB micro, that is a microb.
If you see a USB mini like this one, it is a USB mini B. These are designed only to do one thing: be plugged-in devices. You're not going to plug these things into the back of a computer by using A and B connectors like that. There's never any confusion about who's in charge of controlling whom. So we always try to work hard when we're using our devices, either having them soldered or having them use a B connector. Now, just like all the A connectors, the B connectors have improved over the years as well. And I've got some examples here. So for USB One and USB Twenty, they all look like this particular guy. When USB 30 came along, they came up with a new type of B connector. And this particular one is plugged into a SATA external drive. So that's a USB Type-B connector. These were great connectors, but they were a little fragile, and people liked the big square-type USB connectors. So during USB 30, although these are often called USB Three-One connectors, we began to see B connectors that look like this.
So with classic USB, we always have an A and a B connector. People didn't like this, and you started to see people cheating all the time. Let me show you one example of a cheat. If you look on the back of this scanner, for example, that is a regular old micro USB. That's technically not a B connector. The reason is that the people who wanted to do this wanted a smaller connector because it was such a slim scanner. So they actually kind of broke the rules a little bit, and as long as you use the cable that came with that scanner, you never have a problem. So there are some exceptions that aren't good to get around all this. Remember that USB C connector we were talking about? With a USB C connector, the whole concept of A and B, of upstream and downstream, is kind of gone.
Not only can a USB C connector go either direction, you can plug it in either way, and by negotiating with the devices, they'll determine who's upstream and who's downstream. And you don't have to worry about A and B if you're using USB-C connectors. Okay? Now, all this upstream and downstream stuff is cool, but it doesn't really show us the complete power of USB. To understand that, let's take a look at what's happening inside your motherboard. So if we were to zero in on a particular chip, it's often the South Bridge on most motherboards; built into this are separate, what we call USB controllers.
These controllers are designed to support certain versions of USB. Now in this one example, I've got three different versions of USB on here. These controllers are plugged into what we call root hubs. In this particular example, all of my different USB controllers are plugged into a single root hub. From that hub, all the USB connectors on our motherboard are then exposed so people can plug into them. Now what's interesting here is that if we were to see a motherboard setup like this, in all probability all of these different connections would probably all be blue. The reason being is that no matter where you plug in, you can always connect to the three-dot-one controller. Another example you'll see, and this one's a little bit more common, is having multiple controllers.
In this example, I'm using a one-one and a three-one controller, and they're plugged into their own separate route hubs. On a motherboard like this, all the connectors that are coming off of this root hub are going to have the little black plastic on them because they're only one, whereas all of the ones coming off of this root hub are all going to be blue because they're connected to the three one.That's all well and good, but in this particular example, the most devices we could plug into our system would be 12345. But USB allows you to plug in up to 127 devices, and you do that via what we call USB hubs. Now, this isn't a route hub; this is actually a device you plug in. So I could plug a hub into one of my USB ports, and then this hub will have its own USB ports hanging off of it.
And by doing this, we can have up to 127 devices. So I've got some examples of USB hubs right here in front of me. So the idea behind USB hubs is that we're going to have one upstream connector that connects to my system on this guy. It's soldered in; that's the upstream connector. And then I can plug all the devices I want into all the different ports on this hub. The only downside to these hubs is that USB supplies power, and if you plug in too many devices, that one connection may not provide enough power.
So what we have, and this is pretty common with all of these different kinds of hubs, is powered hubs that are hard to see on these guys. But you'll see there are two little AC connectors on these guys. One is right here, and the other one is right here. And that's for AC power. I just plug it into an AC adapter in there, and that way, that one poor USB connected on the back of my system isn't trying to provide power to all my different devices. So all this looks really cool, but if you want to see it in action, we're going to have to fire up an operating system again. Because I'm a Windows guy, we're going to do this in Windows, and I've got a copy of Device Manager right here.
So once I've got Device Manager fired up, what I'm going to be looking for is the USB controller. So it's right here. So as I open this up, you're going to see a little bit more in here than what I want to show you. But we've got two host controllers. One of them is built into the motherboard. This one is called "media." I don't necessarily know where that is. It's probably also on the motherboard. And then we can actually see the root hubs themselves. There's probably a couple other root hubs here that aren't being shown, mainly because USB devices have different ways to report and it doesn't always show up in Device Manager by the brand name and model that we'd like. Those composite devices are probably also root hubs for different speeds of USB. The beautiful part about USB, especially if you're using the most recent versions of whatever operating system you choose, is that it is highly automated. For the most part, all you have to do is plug in and go.
4. Configuring USB
Working with USB devices is usually pretty straightforward. The one thing you need to remember is that if you've got some USB device like this little web camera, In this particular case, the USB pretty much works with any operating system. The downside is that whatever device is connected to the end of the USB cable is going to need a device driver.
Now, traditionally, when working with the Windows and Linux operating systems, the rule has always been to first install the device driver for the thing, then plug it in, and then it'll work fine. Now in this particular example, because I'm running Windows 10, that's really less of an issue than it was before. In today's world, especially in the Windows 10 world, I pretty much just plug things in. Windows has tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of different device drivers built into the operating system itself. And on the rare occasion when it can't find a device driver, it will go online, automatically download it for you, and install it. There are a few exceptions, and we're going to make one here.
So first of all, let's go with the rule. I've got this nice little webcam. I use this webcam all the time. If you ever want to talk to me while looking at me, it's going to be on this webcam. Now I'm going to be plugging these into my system here underneath. And I've got my buddy-cousin thing here who's going to help me plug that in. So, will you plug that in for me? Thank you. Thanks. So handy. So what I'm going to do here is plug this in. Now I want you to watch Device Manager while he works. OK? Did you see that flash? That's telling me something's happened. So we take a look, and we can see that my camera is there and ready to go. Again, this camera is a few years old, but it still works beautifully. If you run into a situation where you don't have the right device driver, usually it's just going to show up with some type of error, and then we can go online. So over here, I've got everything already set up.
I went online, and I'm going to go ahead and download—oh, wait a minute. For Windows 8 and later, additional software is not required. So that's pretty common today because with both Windows 8 and 10, they automatically grab stuff. Plus, they have a huge cache of drivers, and I'm up and cooking. It's just that easy. OK, now let's make it a little bit harder. There are situations where you might come up with some kind of device that Windows simply doesn't know about. And what I have here is actually a fascinating little tool. This is a microscope, believe it or not. And to make this microscope go, it needs device drivers.
And I'm pretty sure let's go ahead and plug this in. Cousin thing. There you go. Not that one. Wait here. Give it back down. Okay, take it, take it, take it. hard to train. So, as I think, plug this in. Let's go ahead and watch Device Manager again. Okay, now we'll take a look at this, and we can see we've got a device. But do you see this little error? Do you see the little emergency? What it's telling you is that I recognise this device, but I don't have the device driver for it. So in this case, luckily for me, I've already downloaded onto a thumb drive the device drivers I need. So let's get, you know what, I'll take care of this and I'll use one of my front connectors. Give me a moment while I install this driver.
As we install this driver, I want you to keep an eye on Device Manager, and let's see if this installation goes the right way. Now, while we're at this, what you're looking at is a built-in Windows security function where we have what are called signed drivers. And this is why I'm having trouble installing it. Most people who make stuff have their device drivers signed by Microsoft. Basically, what they're saying is that my USB device isn't spreading malware or having problems like that. And it gives people a little bit of comfort when they're installing hardware. This particular device doesn't have a signed driver, mainly because it's a little bit expensive to do that.
And this little microscope company didn't want to spend the money, but I trust them. So we'll hit "install." Ah, there it is. Okay, so we got it up and cooking, but it is working, and I'm a happy camper. Now there are a few other things you should be concerned about when we're talking about installing devices in Windows in particular. One of the things that is always important is that we always have a keyboard and a mouse working, no matter what. And so many keyboards and mice these days are USB that we have built into Windows as what are known as Human Interface Devices, or HIDs. So if you take a look, I'm going to go over to my keyboards, and you'll see this Hid. What we're talking about there is that the HDE device drivers are just like core device drivers.
Always, to make sure that mice and keyboards work, you plug in some big fancy keyboard that's got all these extra function keys. Those aren't going to work, but all the basic keys will work, and the Windows button will work. You get some crazy big gaming mouse, not like this thing that's got 10,000 keys on it. Well, the scroll wheel will work and your top two buttons will work, but nothing else will. That's the beautiful part about Hid. They are base drivers that get the core stuff working. Just because you plug in a mouse and it works, if it has extra features, you're going to have to get a device driver that supports the extra features of that HiD device to get full functionality. Now, while we're in here, USB can be a real problem. One of the challenges we run into with USB is that it's a big security issue. It's easy for people, especially bad guys, to use things like key loggers, which will record every keystroke.
If you have people, you don't want them copying your payroll data where they can plug in a thumb drive and copy it. What we'll see happen with a lot of the systems problems that we have—well, there are two things. Number one, you can turn off USB ports. You can actually go into your system, set it up, find your USB ports, and depending on the system, you can turn them off selectively by port or you can just go in and turn them all off.
In law enforcement, that's actually quite common. Along with that same concept is what we call a "USB lock." A USB lock is usually some kind of software that's designed to watch over your USB ports. And not only will it prevent people from being able to use the USB port, but it can also perform reporting. It could also whitelist certain USB thumb drives, for example, so they can work. But a USB lock, especially if you're in an area of security, is an absolute godsend for those who don't want their information being leaked out through their USB ports.
5. Thunder and Lightning
Thunder and lightning Okay, well, the lightning part didn't work, but anyway, I want to talk about some other types of connections that we see out there in the world today. Thunderbolt and lightning connections So first of all, I want to start with Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is kind of a combination of the PCIe and a display port, all combined into one, so pretty much it will do anything you want kind of port. It will drive monitors, you can charge with it, and you can do data transfer. You can do anything you want with a Thunderbolt connection.
Now, Thunderbolt has been around for a little while, and we have three different versions. Version one runs in a two-channel kind of setup where you have each channel running at 20 gigabits per second. So it's a total throughput of 20 gigabits. Version two runs at just 20 gigabits per second. And version three is 40 gigabits per second, which is unreal fast. Anyway, what I want to do for starters is talk about some of the types of connections that you'll run into. So if we take a look right here, what you're looking at is versions one and two. They're both the same Thunderbolt connections. So this is also used as a mini display port.
So if you watch my display episodes, you're going to see this type of plug again. So Thunderbolt doesn't really have its own type of special connector. It's going to use good old Mini DisplayPort. Now, version three comes along with something totally different. And that is, you bet, USB-C. So wait a minute, Mike. You're saying it's a thunderbolt. Version three USBC No, they're two different standards. USB C is really more of a connector type. However, for most anybody, if you've got like a Thunderbolt connection and you plug in like a USB mouse, it's going to work just fine.
So there's a whole lot of compatibility between them. So if you take a look over here, you can actually see a Thunderbolt connection. Now that one's pretty cool, but the one underneath, that's even more interesting. Let me move this out of the way so we can really see it. I don't know if you can catch it, but if you look really, really closely, you're going to see what looks like a little lightning bolt that's telling you that these are Thunderbolt connections that are up and ready to go. So Thunderbolt, really, I mean, if people say, "What's Thunderbolt for?" I'm just going to say yes. You can use Thunderbolt just to charge something.
You can use Thunderbolt to drive up to six monitors. I mean, it's incredible throughput. So it's pretty cool stuff. The alternative, which is not really an alternative but similar to Thunderbolt, is Lightning. Now, first of all, Lightning is absolutely exclusive to Apple products. It's proprietary. So if we take a look right here, you'll see these are Lightning connectors. Lightning is used for charging devices. It's used for data transfer, pretty much. if you have an iOS device. You're going to be really familiar with these little Lightning connectors in the Mac world. You can keep it separate by thinking about this. If you're running macOS, you're probably going to be using a Thunderbolt connector.
If you're running iOS, you're going to be using a Lightning connector. Now, there are some kinds of exceptions to that rule, and those are right here. If you take a look at what I've got, These are just some earbuds, and they're going to work just fine on my smartphone or on my Mac OS device. and I can go ahead and charge them. That's really all I do in this case—charge them using a Lightning connector. This is also true for wireless devices like, for example, keyboards and mice. I can charge this device using a Lightning connector. Lightning is fantastic, but it is proprietary to Apple products. And what's actually kind of interesting is that we're seeing more and more Thunderbolts starting to appear within the Mac OS world, in particular as a USB C.
So it's been kind of fun to watch USB C, which is showing up, like, for example, on my Google Pixel 3 XL phone with a USB C, and all of a sudden I'm seeing Mac products with that same USB C. And again, we have good interchangeability there. All I need to do is plug in, for example, my Google Pixel 3 Android device, which has USB-C, and plug it into my Mac running Thunderbolt on USB-C, and I won't have any problems at all. At the very least, they wouldn't work and wouldn't cause any damage. But surprisingly, a lot of these devices will drop to USB C and just suddenly start talking to each other.
The only downside to Lightning compared to Thunderbolt, in particular, Thunderbolt 3, is speed. Unfortunately, Lightning runs at a very, very slow five gigabits per second, compared to Thunderbolt's 40 gigabits per second. Well, you know what? To this old tech, these outrageous speeds sound absolutely incredible.
6. Keyboards and Mice
Probably the two most important peripherals for any system are going to be your keyboard and your mouse. Let's face it, we live with these guys. Now, I've got this wireless keyboard and mouse right here in front of me. If I'm going to use a wireless device, I'm going to use some kind of little dongle like this. This one powers both the mouse and the keyboard. You'll see a lot of times where people will have two dongles, one just for the keyboard and one just for the mouse. So I'm not a huge fan of these, mainly because I don't like changing batteries.
Now of course, we all know and love good old USB. We just plug that into the back anywhere you want. Keep in mind that almost all keyboards are only running at USB one one.If you can avoid wasting one of these blue USB There are three connectors on a keyboard. Always do that. But the last one I want to mention real quick is a very, very old one that's coming back with a vengeance. And if you take a look at this motherboard right here, I want you to look at this connector.
This is an old-school PS/2 connector. PS Two predates USB by a long shot, and it was kind of forgotten about. However, these days, a lot of gamers like to use PS2 keyboards and mice, mainly because they think the latter has much less latency. It responds really, really fast compared to USB. So if you take a look, I've got a PS Two keyboard and mouse in front of me. These PS2 keyboards invariably have purple. And that's what you're seeing there on this connector. You'll see it's half purple and half green. That means you can plug a keyboard into it. Equally green is for the mouse you'll still see on some other boards. We'll have two very separate PSTwoS, one green, one purple. Now you know what they're for. The only downside to PS2 is that you can't plug it in on the fly. You're going to have to shut your system down, plug it in, shut your system down, and unplug it. So that's kind of an old-school thing. Other than that, it's pretty straightforward. Let me just plug this in, and we've got a nice PS/2 connection.
No matter what type of connection you use, you're still going to have to go through some configuration. Windows does a good job of, by default, getting your mouse and keyboard running fine. However, what's interesting is that, particularly in the Windows Ten world, we're in this bizarre environment where we go from Control Panel, which is the classic place to make these changes to Windows Ten settings. Literally in the lifetime of Windows 10, this is changing on the fly. Microsoft is morphing its operating system. not by the Windows version. I'm not talking between Windows Eight, dot One, and Ten; I'm talking about through versions of Windows Ten.
Let me give you a great example. And the keyboard and the mouse are the best places to do this. So traditionally, to make changes to the keyboard and mouse, we'd fire up good old Control Panel. Now, if you look in here, you'll see we have mouse settings, and we also have keyboard settings. So if you want to change your mouse settings, your spot speed, or your keyboard if you want to change to a different German keyboard, traditionally these would be the places to do that. However, with Windows 10, that's changing for some of the settings. You're going to have to go into settings. So we take a look in here. So if we click on devices, you can see I've got a mouse in here, but look at what it's giving me for a mouse. So it's going to be talking about scrolling and that type of thing.
And now watch this. When I hit additional mouse options, it goes right back to the Control Panel folks, literally as this video is being made and this stuff is going to be changing. Microsoft's coming out with new versions of Windows on a monthly basis right now. So be careful on A Plus itself as to where Microsoft is going to put certain things you need to do. The CompTIA exam is notorious for always saying, "Well, I need to go to the Control Panel for this, and it's going to change on you." So the bottom line is that for the actual exam, think Control Panel, and you're going to be safe for the exam itself.
Okay? Now, keyboards and mice are great other than the fact that we're living in a world where the Control Panel is being usurped by settings, but they're not the only type of input device. So I want to throw something else in while we're here. And this is a game controller. It comes from an Xbox. Game controllers are great for PCs. However, there are a few things we need to think about. A lot of game controllers are going to have their own proprietary connections. And in order for this guy to work on a PC, I've got to use this special little dongle. It comes with a controller, so I could get this Xbox game running through a USB port. Also keep in mind that any configuration for a game controller is probably going to be done through the game itself, so watch out for that. Now, if you're like me, you always want to have a lot of computers around. I don't know; I'm always doing stuff with lots of computers at once.
So one of the things we run into, especially for somebody like me who has multiple computers underneath his desk, is that I don't want to have each computer with its own monitor, with its own mouse, with its own keyboard. I'd like to be able to have one keyboard, one mouse, and one monitor, and then I can switch between the different computers. And that's where something like this comes in. This is a KVM switch. KVM switches are designed to allow one set of input devices and a shared monitor between multiple physical computers. So imagine that I've got three computers underneath my desk. For starters, I'm going to have this little box right here. It's like a YouTube unboxing. So let's take a look at the back of this fellow right here. So, as we take a look at the back of this KVM switch over here on the outside, this is where I'm going to plug in my mouse, my keyboard, and the video to the monitor I want to use.
Now, what's fascinating about this is that we then have four other computers we can hook up to. Now, if you look at this initially, you're going to go, "Wait, that's just HDMI." So I can only hook up the video output to four other computers. Well, it's not that way. What we have to look at are these cables. So let me move this out of the way so we can see this. So this is the part we plug into the back of the KVM switch. But look what's on the other end of this cable. So what we have here is something that is going to handle the video coming from that particular computer. This is going to be the keyboard and mouse control. This one is USB, and it even has sound functions as well. The beautiful part about a KVM switch is that I can have one keyboard, one mouse, and one monitor, and I can have multiple computers. And on this particular one, I just press individual buttons, and it will simply flip between the individual computers. So if you have a lot of computers, the KVM switch is the way to go. Keyboards and mice really are the most critical part of any system when it comes to peripherals. But it's not just keyboards and mice. Keep in mind that we can also have game controllers. And if you have a lot of computers, KVM is the way to go.
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