3. Motherboards from 2002 or earlier often have a mixture of USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports. The latter will be connected not to the board’s chipset but to a separate controller. If this applies to you, update the controller’s driver. For the very common VIA VT6202 (a known troublemaker), head to tinyurl.com/7htbs.
4. If your motherboard has a mix of USB ports, ensure you know which ones are which. Maybe you’re being unwittingly short-changed on speed. Often, the ports on the board’s I/O panel will be USB 1.1, with USB 2.0 being provided only via ports front-mounted on your case. Again, check your manual to see what’s what.
5. On the subject of speed, have you inspected your cables lately? Printers and scanners often come without them, as a result of which many people just use ones they’ve got lying around. Kinked or squashed cables – or ones only designed for USB 1.1 – can cause slow transfer rates and even data corruption.
6. If a USB device intermittently stops working, it’s possible that Windows incorrectly thinks the device has become inactive. To stop this, open Device Manager, double-click each USB hub in turn and, under Power Management, untick ‘Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.’