Storage

Map and troubleshoot your USB ports with Microsoft USB View

After some deep investigation, Greg Shultz came across a Windows 7 compatible version of the old Windows utility USB View.

I recently found myself on a USB troubleshooting expedition and needed to be able to get a visual image of what device was connected to what USB hub number and port number. I started out by looking at the physical USB ports on the computer and following the cables to the connected device just to get a general overview. With that picture in mind, I was sure that Device Manager would help me pull it all together. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

I then remembered seeing USB port information in Windows 7's Devices and Printers tool. And while this tool does provide a great way to identify USB details for the devices connected to a PC and allowed me to specifically identify what device was connected to what port, I still wanted more detailed information about all the USB connections inside the PC.

Better tool

I was sure there had to be a better tool out there and started looking into Microsoft's Windows Sysinternals site, but I didn't immediately see anything that specifically mentioned USB. However, while I was looking through the list of utilities on the Sysinternals site, I recalled a Windows 98 Resource Kit utility called USB Viewer and wondered if Microsoft had ever updated that tool. So I typed USB Viewer in the Bing box and clicked the Search button.

While I did find a link to an old document concerning the Windows 98 USB Viewer utility, I also found a mention of a newer version for Windows XP called USB View. Searching for USB View turned up a discussion in the Windows 7 Hardware Compatibility TechNet forum where someone suggested using Microsoft's USB View as a troubleshooting aid for USB problems in Windows 7. The post also provided a link to download USB View from the Future Technology Devices International Web site.

Now, I've never heard of that company before, and so I was a little leery. Further digging on Microsoft's Web site turned up a detailed description of USB View on MSDN, but it allowed me only to download the C++ code. With this verification that Microsoft had indeed developed a utility by that name, I threw caution to the wind and downloaded USB View utility from the Future Technology Devices International Web site. (It turns out that Future Technology Devices International specializes in USB device solutions and took the time to compile the C++ code and make the USB View executable available for download.) The utility works great in Windows 7 and along with the information from Device Manager and Devices and Printers I was able to compile all the pieces and pull together the picture I needed of my system's USB configuration.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll show you how to use the USB View utility along with Device Manager and Devices and Printers to map out the USB ports on your PC.

Device Manager

When you access Device Manager and expand the Universal Serial Bus Controllers branch, you see the USB Host Controllers and the USB Root Hubs. I disconnected all the USB devices on my test system to get down to the basics. I then brought up the Properties of the USB Host Controllers and the USB Root Hubs and checked the Location. Figure A shows the Location details provided by Device Manager for the Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller, which is the driver for the USB 2.0 ports in my test system. The Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller represents the USB 1.0 driver that Windows 7 makes available for backward compatibility.

Figure A

I disconnected all the USB devices on my test system to get down to the basics.
I reconnected the two external USB Hubs and all the other USB devices and returned to Device Manager. I then accessed the Properties of those devices and checked the Location, as shown in Figure B. However, I still couldn't get a direct correlation as to what was connected where.

Figure B

While Device Manager lists all the connected USB devices, it is still difficult to tell how the devices are connected to the system.

Devices and Printers

Devices and Printers is designed to allow you to easily see what devices are connected to your system. It will also allow you to see how devices are connected to your system. If you access a device's Properties and then select the Hardware tab you can find Location information, as shown in Figure C. While starting with an image of the actual device makes it a bit easier to tell what you are working with, the Location information is vague and I still couldn't get the connection picture that I was after.

Figure C

Devices and Printers can also provide Location information for USB devices.

USB View

When I finally tracked down USB View, I discovered that you can run it right away as there is no installation procedure. Keep in mind that you have to go through Open File Security Warning dialog box first. As soon as you do, the program scans your USB connections and populates its window with a tree view and all the connection details that I was looking for.

For example, looking at the USB View screen shown in Figure D, I can immediately tell that my example system is equipped with 8 USB ports. I also see that the Microsoft Keyboard is connected to Port 1 of a 4-port USB hub that is connected to Port 2 on the computer. I can also tell that the 4-port USB hub is a USB 1.0 device because it is showing up under the Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller.

Figure D

Microsoft USB View makes it extremely easy to get a complete picture of the USB connections on your system.

I can tell that the Microsoft Mouse is connected to Port 3 of a 4 Port USB hub that is connected to Port 1 on the computer. I can also tell that this 4-port USB hub is a USB 2.0 device because it is showing up under the Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller. The tree also shows that the printer is connected to Port 3 on the computer and that the external hard drive is connected to Port 4 on the computer.

As you can see, USB View makes it extremely easy to get a complete picture of the USB connections on your system.

What your take?

Now that you know about USB View are you likely to download and use it? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

Also read:

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

45 comments
phillpower2
phillpower2

Works fine in Windows 8.1 32 and 64-bit

GolfCabalist
GolfCabalist

USB View works fine on my Win7-64-Home.

I have 22 com ports of 3 flavors...

and 35 devices listed under Universal Serial Bus Controllers.


I needed something!


The first improvement I would like to see is the ability to add my own label to each device.

acagroup
acagroup

OK I just tried this utility on a new XP system and get the old " this application has encountered a problem and must close"

barryGmail
barryGmail

Hi, I tried USBview. It did not work in Windows 7 in any mode [compatibility , Administrator etc]. I tried UVCView downloaded from ftp://ftp.efo.ru/pub/ftdichip/Utilities/UVCView.x86.exe It worked fine giving the info outlined above by Greg.

ashamess
ashamess

Great article : Very helpful to have the reminder for the times we are under pressure to solve an issue, and forget to turn to a useful tool that will give some information to move forward quickly. I found the Nirsoft site from a previous article on this site for Shellview apps. I use the usbdeviewX64 on my Win 7 machine, works great.

DurbanDon
DurbanDon

I tried to save this as I thought it very good. I have recently had problems with USB ports in a USB hub not working. I got a horrible black on dark green thing to save.

Realvdude
Realvdude

While I don't envision a need for it, I'll check it out and add it to my software toolbox. Future Tech seems to be heavy into hardware level communications (judging by their utilities), so it is no wonder they updated it for Windows 7 (and Linux?). It was nice of them to share.

sales
sales

I can see were this will be very useful in diagnosing and troubleshooting, Thank you for finding and sharing this Utility.

scoobygt4
scoobygt4

I am afraid I shuddered as soon as you mentioned - type xxxx in the Bing box ! Bing box ... what is wrong with saying search engine ?

basil.cinnamon
basil.cinnamon

www.nirsoft.net has a similar but complementary utility, USDDeview. Between USBDeview, USBView, and the Dev Mgr, I can mostly figure out which USB ports are what, and what they ports are doing. Two cautions: (1) none of them will tell you precisely which port is "really" USB v 2.0 or 1.0. (2) the Hub numbers jump around depending on the order in which you plug in a device to a port; but the port numbers do stay fixed. (Thus, Hub 1 Port 2 may become Hub 3 Port 2 when you plug something into Hub 0.)

JusWonderin
JusWonderin

WSCC contains a much better tool by Nirsoft. It allows for enable or removing a device.

TWBurger
TWBurger

Finally got it to compile and run. The downloaded executable would not run in Windows 7 but did work well on my XP machine. After installing VS11 Beta and the WDK8 Preview the source would not compile until I did a large amount of re-configuring of the compile and project settings. The utility is a handy novelty and does find all of my USB devices but the really valuable lessons learned here is the problems of developing for Windows 8 and using VS11. There is a large amount of missing and incorrect information and many basic mistakes made by Microsoft and I am not impressed at all. If they want me to devote effort to building Mosaic applications they are going to have to provide better development support than the other tablet OS platforms.

Mr. Fix
Mr. Fix

Greg was rightly cautious about having to download a MS module from a 3rd-party site. Why would MS provide the source code but not the executable? Judging from the fact that the module needs to identify the type and manufacture of each USB device detected to be useful, my guess is that MS decided that the volatility of the USB market makes it prohibitively expensive to maintain. Whatever, it remains untested for Windows 7 which means that, at best, the information it provides could prove unreliable (curiously, on my first test run, it reported detection of a "USB Mass Storage Device" that does not exist). Of course, it could also harbor some flaw or vulnerability that MS cannot be held responsible for.

paul.ob.tech
paul.ob.tech

Never heard of FTDI? obviously never had to use a RS232 to USB adapter.

Kevinhin27
Kevinhin27

but some of this functionality has been in Device Manager since Window98. Simlpy Click View, then Devices by Connection. Not a 1 step USB troubleshooting utility like this tool, but the option is there.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Trying to figure out the utility, does "bcdUSB: 0x0110" means the device is USB 1.1? as all but one are 0x0200. As well, does "Root Hub: USB#ROOT_HUB20#4&ff4fef2&0#{f18a0e88-c30c-11d0-8815-00a0c906bed8}" means the hub is USB 2.0?

Cuffy10
Cuffy10

I see no current posts?

Chilidog67
Chilidog67

Go to the Nirsoft website Force mentioned above. They have a utility called USB Deview. Works great - we have used it for years. We have a script running that calls the utility every time a machine logs in and puts a copy of the log in a folder on a file server where we can review them. If you have a domain you can also use Group Policies to disable users adding USB devices to their machines. Only so much you can do though; people still have DVDs, the Internet, access to networks, etc,

ams10769
ams10769

My organisation does not allow use of USB based storage devices. But then we also know that this is virtually impossible to enforce. So,its there any utility to detect the history of USB connected devices & then to securely delete it?

Horus418
Horus418

If this is NEWS then you are way behind, this has been known for years. I personally have been using since I switched to Win 7. What next, how great sequoiaview is at being a manual Hard Drive data management system. That Mydefrag work and can handle fragmented hard drives. Sorry but old news, means no news.

kirkbubul
kirkbubul

It would have been really nice if the author had provided a LINK directly to the software. All I could find was usbview.zip that doesn't say that it's good for Vista/Windows 7.

CoolBarbarian
CoolBarbarian

This is an issue that has annoyed me intensely over the years. Perhaps I have been fortunate only having a few usb peripherals or been able to ignore it, but this should really be an inbuilt utility of all windows versions,

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

This can be handy tool when your USB devices are giving you trouble. Do you have other tools and utilities that you use for your troubleshooting that your peers may not know about?

DFagerstrom
DFagerstrom

Copying content from pages in IExplorer 8, I, too, get black on dark green. Workaround for me, copy content while using Mozilla. Other option, copy content from IExplorer into Wordpad so that most formatting drops out.

johncymru
johncymru

On two Win 7 Ultimate x64 laptops it gives the APPCRASH error message in whatever mode I try to get it to run but on a Win 7 Home x64 netbook and an XP Pro/SP3 laptop it works as advertised. The 2 Win 7 Ux64 laptops are first and second generation i7 (M620 & 2820QM) and the netbook is a Celeron 743. Nirsoft's tool works fine on all four machnes.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...on Microsoft's sites, so I just called it the Bing box. Didn't meant to make you shudder ;-)

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...you have to pay attention to what tree the device appears on. The Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller represents USB 1.0 and anything that appears under that heading in USB View's tree display is a USB 1.0 device. The Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller represents USB 2.0 and anything that appears under that heading in USB View's tree display is a USB 2.0 device. Now, one caveate to this explanation is that if use a USB 1.0 hub (as I showed in my example) and then plug a USB 2.0 device into the USB 1.0 Hub, that device will appear in the USB 1.0 tree.

Mr. Fix
Mr. Fix

Strange, considering that Greg's "Takeaway" asserted that this module is Windows 7 compatible. I had no problem running it under Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit. Questions: 1) Which version of Windows 7 did you try this with? 2) From what link did you download your executable (the article gave you http://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Utilities/usbview.zip)? 3) What kind of response did you get?

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...USB 1 or USB 2 you need to see where the device appears in USB View's tree display As I mentioned in the article there are two main USB connections set up in Windows 7 in my example system: Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller & Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller The Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller represents USB 1.0 and anything that appears under that heading in USB View's tree display is a USB 1.0 device. The Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller represents USB 2.0 and anything that appears under that heading in USB View's tree display is a USB 2.0 device.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

TR does not "close" general discussion threads, they are usually allowed to die on their own. If the thread were closed, you would not have been allowed to post. So, it's not closed. Some threads are revived months, even years, after the last post. For some unknown reason, these revived threads are known as "zombies." ;) Finally, what do you define as "current"? At the time you made your post, the most recent post in the thread was less than three hours old!

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

Just because you knew about this tool years ago doesn't mean that everyone does. Personally I haven???t ever troubleshot a USB connectivity issue that didn't involve the port being broken and frying devices (which you don't need a utility to find and troubleshoot). Assuming people know stuff just because you do is a very egotistical thing to do. Bill

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...the file msvcrt.dll as the cause of crashes with USB View. Go to the C:\Windows\syswow64 foder and locate the msvcrt.dll file. Right click on it, select Properties and then slect the Details tab. Let me know the version, size, and date on the Win 7 Ultimate x64 laptops and on the Win 7 Home x64 netbook. On my 64-bit W7 Ultimate, msvcrt.dll has the following: File version: 7.0.7601.17744 Size: 674 KB Date modified: 12/16/2011

TWBurger
TWBurger

I think it was a 64 bit issue. I'm running W7Pro 64. I get the standard APPCRASH event. To compile it change the C++ configuration options to no Common Languiage Run Time Support, disabled minimal rebuild, and under general changed the platform toolset to v110 from WindowsApplicationForDrivers8.0. Compiled and ran perfectly after that.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Aside from the controller that I know is USB 3, the 2 I'm assuming are 2.0 [Intel 5 Series 3400 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller. But my question was how do I determine if a USB device attached is USB 1.1 or 2 or 3 - not whether the controller is. I could have a USB 1.1 plug device plugged into a USB 2 controller. but will still operate as 1.1.

liljim
liljim

OK. I looked for and found the file. It is not compatible with Win 7, 64 bit for AMD CPUs. I looks good, so I wish someone would recompile it with a Win 7, 64 bit compatible compiler, since apparently the source code is available. I tried the nirsoft product mentioned in another respondent's post. It has a Win 7 64 bit version and works rather nicely

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...USB View to not work on your system. Could be some sort of interference from osme other software that you are running. Did you try running it from the hard disk rather than the USB stick? Did you try Nirsoft's Free USB View utility? http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html

johnbarrat
johnbarrat

Like liljim, I cannot get usb view to run on my Win7 64 (Intel). I have it placed on a memory stick and attempted to run it form there. It appears to do something (hourglass) then stops - don't even get an icon on the task bar. Tried it on XP and it runs perfectly. Tried running it in administrator mode still wouldn't run. How did others get it to work?

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...which I ran the USB View utility was running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (AMD 64-bit Dual Core Processor 4800+). It runs fine on this system. What version of Windows 7 do you have? What error message did you receive?