An overloaded USB hub!

External USB hubs that have their own power supplies do not consume power from the computer and most often are called self-powered devices. On the other hand, the computer’s internal USB hub is bus-powered, that is, it consumes the computer’s bus power. One needs to be aware of devices that require a lot of power such as, cameras and should take the necessary precautions to protect both the device and the computer’s motherboard.

From the Device Manager’s USB controllers node you can check the power allocations for a USB hub and find if too many devices are using that hub.

  1. From the Device Manager, double-click Universal Serial Bus Controllers, go through all nodes by right-click each USB Root Hub and choose Properties.
  2. Click the Power tab to view the power used by each device in the Attached Device list. You may find more than one USB Hub as this depends on your computer architecture. Also, some USB devices do not show simply because they do not report information to the operating system.
    power tab

Each USB controller has a fixed amount of bandwidth that all attached devices share.

  1. To view the bandwidth usage, right-click each host controller and choose Properties.
  2. From the Advanced tab, check the bandwidth used by each device in the list of Bandwidth-consuming devices. This view might help you in finding devices that are overloading a particular USB controller

Hint: Through the power tab you can determine which device consumes the most power and by moving this device from the internal USB hub to a self-powered hub (if you have one) you would be improving your computer hardware performance.