Resolving USB Speed Issues, “This Device Can Perform Faster” Error

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usb speed errorHave you ever seen the “this device can perform faster” message when you connected a USB device to your computer? This message is Windows’ way of telling you that you’re missing out on the theoretical speed of your hardware, but it may not be clear how to fix the problem. Like many computer issues, particularly with hardware, this problem has a number of possible causes and solutions.

The message tells you to connect your device to a USB 2.0 port, but what if it’s already connected to a USB 2.0 port? Or what if you thought it was connected to a USB 2.0 port already – how can you tell the difference?

Device & Port Mismatch

First thing’s first – ensure your device can actually perform faster. For example, if you dig an old, USB 1.1 flash drive out of a closet and plug it into a USB 2.0 port, Windows will show you this warning message. This message doesn’t necessarily indicate that the device itself can perform faster, only that the USB port itself is operating at a lower speed than it supports.

This problem can also occur if you’re plugging a USB 2.0 device into a USB 3.0 port. USB is backwards compatible, but speed is sacrificed when using an outdated port or device.

Drivers

Problems with your system’s USB drivers can also result in this USB speed error. To fix it, you can try downloading and installing the latest USB or motherboard chipset drivers from your computer manufacturer’s website (or your motherboard manufacturer’s website, if you built your computer yourself.)

Another way you can try to fix the USB drivers is by launching the Device Manager – type Device Manager into the Start menu and press Enter. Look for any USB devices with yellow exclamation point icons next to them under the Universal Serial Bus controllers category. If you see one with an error, right-click it and tell Windows to update or install drivers for it. You can also try updating drivers for devices that don’t have a yellow exclamation point icon.

usb speed error

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Cable

The problem could be with your USB cable. If the cable was originally designed for USB 1.1 devices, it may not work properly at USB 2.0 speeds. It may also just be a faulty cable – when it doubt, try swapping the cable.

Damaged Hardware

Try plugging your USB device or cable into a different port on your system. It’s possible that the USB port itself is faulty and doesn’t work properly.

It’s also possible that the problem is with the device itself – you can try plugging your USB device into another computer that doesn’t experience this error. If you see the same error everywhere, the problem is with your device, not your computer.

high speed usb error

Power

Some devices may need more power than they’re getting from the USB connection – for example, external hard drives require much more power than USB keyboards, which require fairly little power. This can often occur if you’re using a USB hub that doesn’t provide power – if you’re using a USB hub and you receive this message, you should connect your device directly to your computer instead of the hub.

There are actually two types of USB hubs – hubs that only draw power from your computer and hubs that include a separate power connector. Only hubs that include external power connectors can provide enough power to support power-demanding USB devices. This also applies to other devices that function as hubs, such as monitors with included USB ports – connect your USB device directly to your computer or a powered USB hub.

It’s also possible that your computer isn’t routing enough power to its USB port. This isn’t the way USB connections are supposed to work, but it’s a possibility with faulty or badly designed hardware. Try connecting your device to a different USB port.

high speed usb error

BIOS Settings

Many computers’ BIOSes have a setting that can toggle between different USB modes for compatibility purposes. While computers generally ship with the optimal setting, this setting could have become changed.

To access your computer’s BIOS, you’ll have to restart your computer and press the key that appears on the screen – often F2 or Delete – during boot up. Once you have, you’ll be in a special BIOS menu. Look for a USB Mode option and ensure it’s set to the highest possible speed – for example, if your computer supports USB 2.0, the USB Mode setting in the BIOS should be set to 2.0 Mode, not 1.1 Mode. This setting may also be named something like “high speed” USB mode, depending on your BIOS.

Disabling The Warning

If you can’t resolve this problem, or if you’ve determined it’s a problem with your device or computer and you’re stuck with it, you can always disable the bubble that appears when you connect your USB device to your computer. The device will still run at a much slower USB speed than it theoretically could, but at least Windows won’t bug you about it.

To do so, open the Device Manager (type Device Manager into the Start menu and press Enter), right-click the USB host controller under Universal Serial Bus controllers, and select Properties. Uncheck the Tell me if my device can perform faster check box on the Advanced tab.

usb speed error

Have you run into this problem? How’d you fix it? Did you use a solution not mentioned here? Leave a comment and let us know!

Image Credit: USB Connection Port via Shutterstock

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Comments (24)
  • Andrew Toynbee

    Brilliant! I’ve been plagued by this message for years and never been able to fix it – until today. I use an Acer notebook which now has a 12hr battery, and being non-standard, it doesn’t fit perfectly. Windows Vista sees this as a problem and every time I move the device, even minutely, I have to stop working to clear the message.
    As you suggested, I went into device manager and found one of the ‘tell me’ notification boxes was still ticked.
    An hour later, and I’ve not been bugged by the bl00dy message once! Heaven! TYVM!

  • RB

    Get a Mac.

    • jason.baron

      What a useless response. Typical Mac fanboy thinks Mac's are superior in every possible way than Windows PC's. I would love to own a Mac, I just can't afford the over-inflated price.

  • Hendrix

    I had an almost similar problem: the computer did connect lots of USB2.0 devices correct and linked to the EHCI so they performed at the correct speed. However, I just bought a new Verbatim 2TB drive USB2.0 interface and it kept connecting to the OHCI and therefore running on USB1.1
    This went so bad that the computer actually crashed several times during trying, and ended with a blue screen of death.

    I removed the device, uninstalled the device reinstalled the device, did the same with all usb hubs and controllers, cleanup the registry, I really tried everything you can think of, also updating all drivers (which were updated) except reinstalling WinXP. (which would be universally stupid).

    My Iomega drive of also 2TB worked without problems on the same computer.

    The drive gave the same problem on another XP machine but it worked without any problem on an Acer One netbook of 4 years old.

    This made me realize that there must be a latency problem with the older motherboards and the newer USB2.0 devices or at least a mismatch in the connection handshake.

    Then I used a powered USB hub and the drive (with own power supply) worked without problems, not at top speed but about 114Mbits/s ~ 12MB/s which is 25% of the theoretical max speed of USB2.0

    That was weird, then I used a not self powered 4 ports USB2.0 hub, connected this to the same XP machine and connected the drive to this non powered hub, worked also at about 25% of the speed, so connected to EHCI (Enhanced Host Controller Interface) which was also visible in the device manager.

    Then I found out that the Iomega drive has its own internal Generic USB hub and the Verbatim does not.
    Same for my Sandisk Extreme
    However my Kingston Datatraveller 100G2 did not have its own generic USB hub inside but that worked without problems, same for some other Flashdrives.

    So the conclusion is this:
    If the USB2.0 devise runs like USB1.1 and you tried all usual things like reinstalling drivers, updating all, reinstalling devices, removing all from registry…etc. you need to compensate for the difference in timing of the handshakes, a cheap generic USB hub (Hama or Trust) will do this for you so this is how to solve the problem.
    This problem occurs with older motherboards (2001/2005… I think) running WinXP-SP3. There is no other cure (at least apparently no one knows one…) for bad designed USB2.0 devices in combination with older motherboards.

    So good luck to you all.. I gave up finding a real solution, the USB hub is a workaround I can live with.

  • Rakib

    I had this problem with my home PC for last 3 months and I did not find any solution. I even don’t know how this problem started since I am sure my computer has USB 2.0 port and my device also support USB 2.0 as I have been using my device for a year. I visited several forums to find the solution and tried every possible ways but it didn’t work out. Finally I reinstalled Windows 7 and I got the positive result. Same PC, same USB device and same speed, everything was perfect after reinstalled Windows 7. :)

    I just found the problem in my office PC and I think now I know how this problem starts. While copying data to my pen drive I removed pen drive from PC and inserted it back immediately. Boom !!! The problem starts “The USB 2.0 device can perform faster if you connect to a high speed USB 2.0 port”. Data transfer speed dropped down 100 to 10. :( My device is ok as I tested it another PC.

    Can anyone advise me how to resolve this problem without reinstalling windows 7?
    For your information there is no error (Yellow mark) in Device Manager under Universal Serial Bus Controller.

    • Robert

      I have caught the same bug. In my case the computer is several years old and USB 2.0 worked fine the whole time. Until just recently when I tried to sync an iphone that was plugged into an unpowered hub. I could tell it wasn’t happy even though I didn’t get any error message. However, even after removing the hub and rebooting, I get the dreaded message: “The USB 2.0 device can perform faster…”. And indeed it is running slower than it used to.

    • Robert Alverson

      I had this problem too. I think I fixed it. In device manager, I uninstalled the driver for the two instances of “standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller”. For my Nvidia mobo, I think those are the USB 2.0 controllers.

  • AW

    Recently upgraded (moved from a dual core AthlonX260) to a quad core i5 3570k with ASROCK HM77Pro, re-installing twice the USB drivers (once with what came with the mobo on CD, and another by downloading off the drivers off from the motherboard’s manufacturer) for Windows 7. About a good week have passed to this day of downloading updates one after another before things start to settle down.

    Still giving me the message and still doesn’t look as though my USB 3.0 external enclosure (housing a 2Terabyte WD) is working at USB3.0. Only get roughly somewhere between 30-35MB/s.

    Checked my bios there’s nothing wrong with the default settings at all.

    It’s such a joke oh well, looks like I’ll have to live with it.

    • Chris Hoffman

      Maybe you already thought of this, but some systems have both USB 2.0 ports and USB 3.0 ports. USB 3.0 ports are generally colored blue inside.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.