Serial, Parallel, and PS/2 Facts
USB is a serial interface that supports low- and high-speed devices.USB supports almost any kind of peripheral device, including keyboards, mice, scanners, digital cameras, printers, and storage devices.USB supports Plug-and-Play andhot swapping(adding and removing devices without rebooting--also known ashot plugging).USB allows 127 devices to be connected to a single computer (directly to the host or by hubs).All devices connected together share computer resources (IRQs, I/O addresses).The computer's BIOS must support USB and have USB enabled.
Uses a serial bus using twisted-pair wiring for data transport.Lets you connect up to 63 devices on one IEEE 1394 bus.Supports many kinds of isochronous devices (devices requiring additional bandwidth to accommodate streaming data), such as digital video cameras and recorders, hard drives, and network adapters.Supports Plug-and-Play and hot-swapping (you can add and remove devices without rebooting).Can provide power (up to certain limits) to devices.Supports peer-to-peer transfers. For example, data can be transmitted between a digital video camera and a recording device without going through a computer.
Asound cardis an expansion card (or a component of the motherboard) that manages sound input and output. Because computers use digital data, sound cards must convert analog sound into digital data, and digital data into analog sound.The Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) converts analog sound into digital data.The Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is an on-board processor that reduces the CPU load.The Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) converts digital data into analog sound (in preparation to be played on speakers).
Sound card drivers and other software save digital audio into several different file types.WAV (Windows standard), a widely used and compatible file type.AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format), the Macintosh equivalent of the WAV.AU (UNIX standard), supported by most Web browsers.MP3 (MPEG-1 Layer 3), a highly effective audio compression standard.AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), also known as MPEG-2, a compression expected to replace MP3.RA or RAM (Real Networks), developed for streaming audio files. Requires proprietary software.WMA (Windows Media Audio), a highly compatible standard developed to compete with Real Audio.MIDI, not a true audio file, but contains data to reproduce sounds through electronic synthesis.
Before purchasing or installing the device, verify that the device is compatible with the version of Windows you are running by checking product documentation and Certified for Windows Logo.Obtain the latest driver before installation by checking the manufacturer's Web site for an updated driver.For Windows Vista, unsigned and self-signed drivers must be manually approved (Warn is the default and only setting). However, you cannot install unsigned drivers on x64 versions of Windows Vista.Driver signing options are on the Hardware tab of the System Properties. Click theDriver Signingbutton to modify the settings.
Use Device Manager to view installed devices and their status.To open Device Manager:ClickStart, right-clickMy Computerand selectManageto open Computer Management. Select the Device Manager snap-in.Use the device icon to identify the status of the device:No icon: Windows did not detect the device. Try scanning for new hardware or rebooting the system to detect the device.A normal icon means the device was configured, the appropriate driver was installed, and the device is working properly.An icon with a yellow exclamation mark means the device was detected, but could not be configured properly. In this case, make sure you have the latest driver for the device.An icon with a red X means the device is disabled.