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Thread: USB keyboard

  1. #1
    AO's Resident Redneck The Texan's Avatar
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    USB keyboard

    Hey I have a USB keyboard but it wont let me boot into safe mode unless im using my old crappy p2a keyboard. Is this because the USB doesnt get initilized until Windows starts?
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  2. #2
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    It's due to one of two reasons:

    1) Your bios doesn't support usb keyboards

    2) Your bios doesn't have support turned on for usb keyboards. Dig around your bios with your ps/2 and see if you can find anything to turn usb on at boot or something similar. I don't know why some computers ship with this turned off by default, it's incredibly stupid.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    The Grunt

    It's due to one of two reasons:
    Errrrrrrrrr NO, I am afraid it is probably not either of those. You see, if either were the case, USB devices should not work, period. Certainly, I don't think there are BIOSes around that don't support USB................after all, what manufacturer would install USB ports and a BIOS that didn't support them? EDIT: I will correct myself here, Everything pre-Windows 95, and Windows 95 boxes without USB ports will have a BIOS that probably does not support USB. The same for machines that were built for NT 4.0 as that OS does not support USB.

    I think that most upgrades to BIOSes of the Windows 95 era would have USB support added, although it would almost certainly be turned "off" by default.

    If Tex~'s question is about why his keyboard doesn't work in Windows safe mode. That implies that it works fine in normal mode? and in any case indicates that the boot cycle has run and Windows has loaded. If he cannot get it to go into safe mode at all, then that implies the BIOS settings are wrong?

    Windows XP SP2 and 2000 SP4 will both support USB devices in safe mode according to Microsoft. They deliberately do not support serial devices. This is the opposite behaviour to 9x and ME that do not support USB but will support serial devices in safe mode.

    So the question is, what version of Windows are we talking here?

    My next question would be: do any other USB devices work in safe mode (mice, thumb drives)?

    If the answer is "no" then it is a Windows problem, if the answer is "yes" then it would seem to be something that is device related.



    EDIT: I have thought of a situation where it might be the BIOS, this would imply a pretty old BIOS and/or USB device?

    You should have two settings in the BIOS which are something like "Enable/disable USB host controller" which should be turned "on" I would expect that to be the default these days..............that is one of the cases that The Grunt was referring to.

    And, "Enable/disable legacy USB support" which should also be set to "on"

    I suspect that would be the setting that is causing the problem, if it is the BIOS.

    EDIT#2:

    Sorry guys, I am not having a good day.............I think my brain has declared an "early weekend" or something

    I have in front of me right now a little gizmo that came with a Razer Boomslang mouse. It converts USB to PS2. So, if all else fails Tex, just get one of these converters, then you will at least be able to use the USB keyboard, albeit in PS2 mode. Then just plug it into a USB port when you reboot in normal mode?
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  4. #4
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    He said he couldn't BOOT TO safe mode. Not that he couldn't use it in safe mode. Which means when he tries to press F8 when windows is getting ready to boot, nothing happens because the BIOS has not loaded USB.

    And when I say the BIOS doesn't "support" usb, I don't mean that it doesn't communicate with the USB controller ever, I mean that it ignores it until an OS asks for it.
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  5. #5
    AO's Resident Redneck The Texan's Avatar
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    Grunt, is correct mine USB keyboard works fine once Windows XP has loaded up to my log-in screen but, if I try and do anything ( like get into safe mode by pressing F8) before i get to the log in screen I cant. But, I CAN press F8 and get into safe mode with my old ps2 keyboard

    edit/ I just now noticed that there are 2 built in USB ports, 1 on each side of this usb keyboard. that seems a little weird too me? but i guess im not complaining.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Have you looked at the two BIOS settings?

    EDIT: Having given it some thought, this summarises my experience with USB:

    1. Machines that do not have USB ports and do not have a BIOS that understands USB, because back then, the OS did not understand USB either. These machines will be >12 years old by now. It will not be possible to update the BIOS so you can basically forget them as far as USB is concerned.

    2. Machines that have USB ports, but the BIOS does not support it. These would be around the Windows 95 era. Sometimes you can get a BIOS upgrade and if you load an OS from Win 98 onwards you should be in business.

    3. Machines that do support USB, but that fancy new keyboard, scanner, mouse, modem, camera etc just won't work. These are older machines and the general cause is that the USB Controller has not been switched on. I have certainly not seen that with a COTS machine manufactured in the last 4 years. Before then USB was fairly exotic and the default was to switch USB off.

    4. Machines that do not support USB by design (usually security driven) These will also tend to be missing CD and floppy drives, games and comms ports. These are generally not worth bothering with as you find that they have custom BIOSes that you cannot update, and you frequently cannot get into the setup menu.

    5. Relatively modern machines that should support a USB device but don't............ mostly have USB 1 ports and the customer has a USB 2 device. trust me............it happens!

    6. machines that work just fine. That would account for stuff I have seen that has been made in the last 4 years.

    And when I say the BIOS doesn't "support" usb, I don't mean that it doesn't communicate with the USB controller ever, I mean that it ignores it until an OS asks for it.
    Ah! that is what I understand is likely to happen with some BIOSes if you have USB legacy support disabled.
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  7. #7
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    usb sux. The pc BIOS sux. USB is a hack, a workaround added on but
    not fully supported until a driver is loaded. Catch-22, "you can't get there
    from here" The ps/2 keyboard port is the canonical keyboard port.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Maybe you could get a BIOS update to support usb
    during the boot process, or maybe a newer box (send the old one to me for testing)
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    rcgreen behave yourself!...................you are in the Hardware Forum now, and we don't tolerate skiddie nonsense, flamewars and such (unless I start them of course )

    Yes, USB can cause all sorts of problems.................apart from support during the post cycle, there are simple considerations like the physical connection?
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  9. #9
    AO's Resident Redneck The Texan's Avatar
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    Sorry to keep yall waiting so long on this! but I finally figured it out. I was able to get into my BIOS on my USB keyboard ( by pressing delete) then from there I found out that "USB Keyboard Support" was turned off! Now I know that is a setting I have never messed with so it must have come that way. Very odd. Now AFAIK all my usb related stuff worked AFTER windows loaded but now I tested it and I am able to press F8 and boot into safe mode since I turned the USB Support on. BTW my pc is only about a year old and this keyboard is about 2 years old. Well have a good one and thanx for the help! Tyler.
    Git R Dun - Ty
    A tribe is wanted

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