How to determine whether a USB 3.0 device is operating at SuperSpeed?

How to know whether you are using USB 2.0 or USB 3.0? How to determine whether a USB 3.0 device is operating at SuperSpeed?  TechProceed will let you know the differences.

Note: The information provided in this blog post applies to Windows 8.

In this blog post, I will describe some ways in which you can determine whether a USB 3.0 device that is attached to a PC running Windows 8 version of the operating system, is operating at the optimal connection speed - SuperSpeed.

USB 3.0 introduces a new operating speed called SuperSpeed. Compared to USB 2.0 bandwidth of 480 Mbps, SuperSpeed supports 5.0 Gbps making it 10 times faster than USB 2.0. USB 3.0 also supports lower operating speeds: high speed, full speed, and low speed. Along with increased bandwidth, USB 3.0 host controllers and devices come with the promise of compatibility. USB 3.0 controllers are required to work with all existing USB devices. The fact that current PCs ship with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports presents an interesting challenge: how should you determine whether a USB 3.0 device is indeed operating at SuperSpeed?

Here are some ways to determine the operating speed of the USB device:
  • Make sure that you have USB 3.0-capable hardware
  • View device information in Device Manager
  • Look for Windows 8 UI messages
  • Use USBView to view the bus speed
  • Determine the bus speed programmatically
  • Troubleshooting
  • Make sure that you have USB 3.0-capable hardware

Typically, newer PCs with USB 3.0 support have both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 controllers, and both those ports are exposed. The receptacles on USB 3.0 ports are usually blue to distinguish from the receptacles on USB 2.0 ports, which are black. So, if the PC has a blue port, that is a good indication of USB 3.0 support. Note this is not a requirement of the official USB specification, rather a convention adopted by some PC makers.

Figure 1 shows a typical USB 2.0 port.

Figure 1. USB 2.0 port with a black receptacle

Figure 2 shows a typical USB 3.0 port.

Figure 2. USB 3.0 port with a blue receptacle

If the PC does not use blue receptacle for the USB 3.0 ports, it might have a USB 3.0 logo () next to the port.

Figure 3 shows the USB 2.0 logo.

Figure 3. USB 2.0 logo

Figure 4 shows the USB 3.0 logo.

Figure 4. USB 3.0 logo

You should also look for the logo on USB 3.0 devices and cables. Figure 5 shows the USB 3.0 logo on the connector of a USB 3.0 cable.

Figure 5 USB 3.0 logo on USB 3.0 cable
View device information in Device Manager

Next, confirm that Windows enumerated the host controller as a USB 3.0 controller. To confirm that, open Device Manager and locate the controller under the Universal Serial Bus controllers node. If Windows recognized it as a USB 3.0 controller, USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller is appended to the device description as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller in Device Manager
Look for Windows 8 UI messages to determine whether the USB 3.0 device is operating at SuperSpeed

To indicate whether the USB 3.0 device is operating at SuperSpeed, Windows 8 shows UI messages in specific places. If the PC has USB 3.0 controller to which a USB 3.0 device is attached, Windows 8 shows Connected to USB 3.0 when the device is operating at SuperSpeed. If the operating speed is lower than SuperSpeed, the message isDevice can perform faster when connected to USB 3.0.

You can view those UI messages in PC Settings.
Open the Charms Bar by dragging the cursor to top right of the screen or by pressing Win + C.
Select Settings and then Change PC settings.
Select the Devices under PC settings application.

Figure 7 shows the UI message when the USB 3.0 device is operating at SuperSpeed.

Figure 7. PC settings – UI message for a USB 3.0 device that is operating at SuperSpeed

Figure 8 shows the UI message when the USB device is operating at a bus speed that is lower than SuperSpeed.

Figure 8. PC settings – UI message for a USB 3.0 device that is operating at a speed lower than SuperSpeed

You can view similar messages in Devices and Printers, as shown in figures 9 and 10.

Figure 9. Devices and Printers - UI message for a USB 3.0 device that is operating at SuperSpeed

Figure 10. Devices and Printers – UI message for a USB 3.0 device that is operating at a speed lower than SuperSpeed

If the USB 3.0 device is a storage device, Windows Explorer shows similar messages when the volume label is selected, as shown in figures 11 and 12. Note that the View -> Details pane must be selected for the message to be visible.

Figure 11. Windows Explorer - message for a USB 3.0 device that is operating at SuperSpeed

Figure 12. Windows Explorer - UI message for a USB 3.0 device that is operating at a speed lower than SuperSpeed
Use USBView to view device information about the bus speed

If you are writing a device driver, the USBView tool might be more useful for verifying the bus speed. The tool is included in the Windows Driver Kit (WDK) 8 Release Preview (RP), which is available for download at this Web site. USBView in this release has been updated to display SuperSpeed information.

Figure 13 shows a USB 3.0 device operating at SuperSpeed in USBView.

Figure 13. USBView – Message for a USB 3.0 device that is operating at SuperSpeed
Determine the bus speed programmatically

If you are a device driver developer, the USB driver stack exposes a new IOCTL,IOCTL_USB_GET_NODE_CONNECTION_INFORMATION_EX_V2, which you can use to query speed information for USB 3.0 devices.

Here are a few things to try if you find that your USB 3.0 device is capable of operating at SuperSpeed but is operating a lower bus speed:
Make sure that you do not have a USB 2.0 hub between the device and the PC. That is because USB 3.0 devices that are attached to a USB 2.0 hub can only operate at high speed. In this case, either switch to a USB 3.0 hub or attach the device directly to the USB 3.0 port on the PC.
Ensure that the USB 3.0 hub that your device is attached to appears correctly in Device Manager. For certain unsupported USB 3.0 hubs, Windows may disable the SuperSpeed portion of the hub and report it as “Non Functional” in Device Manager.

Figure 14 shows a non-functional hub in Device Manager.

Figure 14. SuperSpeed USB Hub is not functional

Make sure that the cable that is used to connect the device is a USB 3.0 cable. It is also possible that the USB 3.0 cable has signal integrity issues. In that case, the device might switch to high speed. If that happens, you must change the USB 3.0 cable.

Update the firmware for the USB 3.0 device by obtaining the latest version from the manufacturer site. Some USB 3.0 device manufacturers release fixes, for bugs found in the device, as firmware updates.

Update the firmware for the USB 3.0 controller by obtaining the latest version from the manufacturer site. Some USB 3.0 controller manufacturers release fixes, for bugs found in the controller, as firmware updates.

Update the BIOS for your system by obtaining the latest version from the manufacturer. On some motherboards, the BIOS can incorrectly route a device that is connected to a USB 3.0 controller to a USB 2.0 controller. That incorrect routing allows the USB 3.0 device to operate at high speed but not at SuperSpeed. A BIOS update might fix such a problem.


In this blog post, we discussed ways of making sure that you get optimal experience with your USB 3.0 device attached to a USB 3.0 controller on a PC. If you have any questions, please leave us a comment.

How To Password Protect Your USB Stick/External HDD in 3 Easy Ways

USB thumb drives/ external HDD are small, portable, and can be read on any device with a USB port. These features make them the perfect vehicles to transport data between computers. Due to their portability, however, they are also easily lost. Thus sensitive files callired on a USB stick should always be protected.

Unfortunately, you cannot simply password protect your entire USB stick, like you have password protected your Facebook account. Tools that will seriously protect your your data, all work with encryption. Unless you want to invest in a secure flash drive with hardware encryption, you can use freeware applications to achieve a similar level of protection. This article summarizes some of the easiest ways to password protect files and folders on your computer.

1. Manually Save Files With a Password

As mentioned above, you can’t safely password protect your entire USB stick without using encryption. However, if you shy away from the time consuming encryption process of entire folders and need a really quick way to only protect a few selected files, maybe you can simply save those with a USB password.

Many programs, including Word and Excel, allow you to save files with a password. For example in Word, while the document is open, go to > Tools > Options and switch to the Security tab. Now enter a Password to open, click OK, re-enter the password when asked, and finally save your document and don’t forget the password.

2. Create An Encrypted & Password Protected Partition With Rohos Mini Drive

Many tools can encrypt and password protect your data. Most, however, require Administrator rights to run on any given computer. Unfortunately, this is also the case for one of the best encryption tools: TrueCrypt. Tools like these are not a viable solution if you need to securely transfer data to a computer where you do not have Administrator rights.

Rohos Mini Drive, on the other hand, is a tool that will work whether or not you possess Administrator rights. The free edition can create a hidden, encrypted, and password protected partition of up to 2GB on your USB flash drive. The tool uses automatic on-the-fly encryption with AES 256 bit key length. Thanks to the portable Rohos Disk Browser, which is installed directly on your flash drive, no encryption drivers need to be available on the local system. Subsequently the protected data will be accessible anywhere.

Once you have created a password protected and encrypted container on your external drive, you can open it by clicking the Rohos Mini.exe icon from the root folder. After entering the password, your Rohos disk will be mounted and accessible via your Computer, i.e. the directory of all drives and partitions connected to your system. To close your Rohos partition, right-click the Rohos icon in the Windows taskbar notification area and select Disconnect.

A more detailed description of Rohos Mini Drive can be read in my PDF guide The Office Worker’s 101 Guide to a USB Thumb Drive.

3. Lock Your Flash Drive with USB Safeguard

Like Rohos Mini Drive, USB Safeguard is a portable app that runs directly from your flash drive and thus does not require Administrator rights on the local computer. It uses on-the-fly AES 256 bit encryption. The free version is limited to drive size of 2GB.

Download the usbsafeguard.exe and copy it to your USB flash drive. Run it from your flash drive and enter a password to lock the drive. To unlock it, run the file again and enter the password. The locking procedure must be repeated every time you want the drive to be locked as the tool will remember its last status, i.e. locked or unlocked. This also means that you can change the password every time you use USB Safeguard.

Let me know your questions here :  Snehal[at]Tehcprocee[dot]com. Stay Tuned. 

Motorola Moto X Review tells us why it is a game changer

After launching in August last year, the Motorola Moto X is finally ready to come to our shores. Earlier today Flipkart teased the imminent launch of the flagship device and reports claim that it could arrive as early as next week. Our site put the device through its paces in its extensive review after the launch in US. Let’s see just how good the phone is and if it can replicate the immense success of the Moto G in India.

First let’s take a look at the specifications — the Moto X features a 4.7-inch 720p display, 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, 10-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, 16GB of internal storage, 2,220mAh battery and on the software front, it runs on Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.It also has what the company calls the Motorola X8 Mobile processor, which is essentially a low power consuming co-processor that stays awake while the phone is in sleep mode. This not only enables the always-on voice command and active display features but also ensures that the Moto X has a longer battery life as the main processor is not activated unless required for processor intensive tasks.


From what we have seen so far, the Moto X looks like a really well-built device with premium-ness oozing out of it. The front is dominated by the display with little space wasted by bezels and the textured pattern at the back gives it a nice look.

TechProceed echoes our feelings, “The Moto X is made out of a combination of glossy plastic and soft touch plastic, letting the phone feel premium and look great without sacrificing weight or comfort.”

“The display is bonded to the plastic front frame using a new manufacturing process that practically eliminates the border around the screen. It makes you feel as if you’re just holding the display in your hand when you use it, and everything else just melts away,” it adds.


A 4.7-inch display with a pixel resolution of 1280×720 pixels and a density of 312ppi will not set the comparison tables on fire. But with “user experience over specification race” the motto, Motorola has instead gone for a display size that is comfortable to hold in one’s hands and a resolution which does all it is expected to without any fuss.

TechProceed noted, “While it looks overly saturated and bright because it’s an AMOLED screen, the screen does look sharp and clear, with a 312ppi that makes text look beautiful.”


Again in this department, Motorola gone for cameras that are good enough to click decent pictures easily rather than overwhelm a regular user with a barrage of options. The company claims that almost everyone clicks a picture without delving into the settings and hence a lot of features are automated.

Talking about the 10-megapixel camera at the back, TechProceed says, “The camera isn’t quite as amazing as Motorola made it out to be, and overall not as good as say the iPhone 5. It’s not a bad camera by any means and it’s nice to see companies like Motorola pushing camera technology forward on Android smartphones.”


As mentioned above, the Moto X is powered by a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 processor paired with 2GB of RAM. In addition to that the Moto X also has something called the Motorola X8 Mobile processor, which essentially powers the device’s Touchless Control, Active Display and other always-listening gestures. It may not be top of the line specs, but it never feels under powered either.

Since one of the most important aspects of a nice user experience is not having to charge your phone twice a day, the battery had to be powerful enough to survive all the tasks. Luckily it is and TechProceed notes, “Moving on to the battery, this is easily the best performing Android device in this regard, and lasts for days on standby, even with Active Display running. It also easily powers through one whole day of non-stop usage. It’s downright impressive.”


Though it originally shipped with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, it has since been upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat and in fact will launch in India with the latest version of Android running out of the box. The OS on the Moto X is a near stock Android and hence there is hardly any bloatware. This is always a positive and the device doesn’t disappoint.


With user experience the top priority, there are a lot of value additions on this device. The ability to wake up the phone by saying “OK Google Now”, the active display that shows the time and important notifications without having to wake up the device and other options like Motorola Assist and Motorola Connect really change the way we use a smartphone. Like the Moto G, the flagship device too has a nano coating which makes it water repellent to a certain degree.


The Motorola Moto X then may not win the smartphone race as far as specifications are concerned. But what it ensures is that you cruise to the finish line and enjoy every moment of the journey.

TechProceed concludes, “The Moto X is not the fastest phone in the world. It’s also not the most cutting-edge, it doesn’t feature the biggest display, and it isn’t the thinnest Android phone. However, there is absolutely no doubt that the Moto X is the most amazing Android phone I have ever used, and I think most people will agree.”

“Motorola’s new hero phone offers up the most seamless and integrated Android experience on the market, and it does this without changing the core Android experience practically at all. There are truly great, well thought out features, that together make this phone a bonafide smash, and it really is Android’s iPhone,” it adds.

Motorola Moto G review: The budget performer

The much awaited Moto G, Motorola's economy Android smartphone, has finally been launched in India. The phone has won accolades the world over for its low price and great performance combo, and for bringing the focus back to usability instead of high-end specifications, a trend Motorola started with the Moto X, its flagship smartphone. We try to find out if Moto G really lives up to the hype surrounding it, in our review.

What's in the box

Unlike the international version of the Moto G, the Indian version imported by Flipkart includes a charger and a headset. It doesn't include a USB cable so you'll need to buy one to transfer data to the phone. Other than these, you'll find the user manual and a warranty-related document. The Moto G comes with a standard black coloured back panel, but additional back panels in other colours can be ordered separately.

Build and design

One of the most striking things about the Moto G is its minimalist no-frills design. The phone's look is essentially based on Moto X which is not available in India at this moment.

Moto G feels good to hold despite it being heavy at 143 gram and a bit thick at 11.6mm due to its curved back and rounded corners that take care of ergonomics. The phone is made from plastic materials but feels durable. Although it comes with a removable back panel, the construction is excellent. The back panel fits snugly, with no creaks and wobbles.

At first glance, the only thing you notice is the Moto G's shiny black front panel devoid of any distractions. There's no branding and no hardware buttons. The 1.3MP front camera and a notification LED placed next to the earpiece are the only other components visible.

Turn on the phone, and the 4.5-inch 720p IPS edge-to-edge display comes to life bursting with pixels. The phone's front bezel is designed in a manner so as to put all the focus on the display, making it the centre of attention. On the sides, the bezel is pretty narrow, but it takes up considerable amount of space below the display, which is a good thing as the navigation controls are easily accessible.

There's a minor gap between the edge of the front panel, which is slightly raised, and the display that tends to attract dust particles. The edge may also be susceptible to wear and tear once you start using the phone. The display comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection guarding the screen against scratches. Moto G is the only phone in this price range to feature Gorilla Glass 3.

The right edge of the Moto G features the narrow Power/ Screen lock keys which are made of metal and offer decent tactile feedback. However, we wish the volume rocker key would have been a little longer as we ended up hitting the power key during the initial period of use.

The 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top while the micro-USB port is placed at the bottom edge of the phone. There are no ports or buttons on the left edge.

The back of the phone, which is essentially the removable back cover, is curved and sports a rubberized soft matte finish, that makes holding the phone a pleasant experience. It features the phone's 5MP rear camera lens, an LED flash and Motorola logo (in an indent). We also found the back prone to smudges, but it is thankfully easy to clean.

Moto G also comes with a nano-coating that makes is water resistant up to a certain level. It will be able to handle minor splashes, but most likely won't survive a dip in the pool.

Overall, the Moto G is a compact and durable no-frills smartphone that is built to last.


The dual-sim version of Moto G available in India comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Motorola has promised that the phone will get the Android 4.4 KitKat software update in the coming days. At the time of filing of this review, our Moto G unit had not received an update and was still running Jelly Bean.

Moto G runs an almost stock version of Android complete with on-screen navigation controls. The interface is close to Google's Nexus 4 except that Motorola also includes some of its own apps. Thankfully, these apps are not bloatware and add to functionality. One of the Motorola app called Assist changes how the phone alerts you during meetings or sleep. If you've used an iPhone, you must have used or come across the Do Not Disturb; Assist is similar and allows you to silence or auto reply to missed calls while you're in a meeting or sleeping. You can choose exceptions for Favourite callers or when someone calls twice.

Another Motorola app bundled with the phone is Moto Care. The app is not only a searchable user guide featuring Tutorials, FAQs, How-tos and actionable tips, it also offers a shortcut key to get in touch with Motorola's customer care. Motorola Migrate allows you to transfer content and settings from your old Android phone or iPhone.

The dual-sim Moto G also comes with settings for managing the behavior of two sim cards, allowing you to choose the default connection for data, calls and messaging.

That's about it. You get a pretty neat slate to customize as per your own preference and use the apps that you wish to.

The Android 4.4 KitKat update is expected to bring some minor cosmetic improvements including white notification icons and a transparent notification bar, a new Phone dialer app, some camera improvements in addition to other changes under the hood.


Moto G is an economy smartphone and despite the phone delivering more than what other smartphones in the price segment offer, the limitations are apparent when it comes to the camera.

The phone comes with a 5MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front facing camera. The rear camera can capture 720p video and also comes with an LED flash for taking pictures in low-light conditions.

Motorola ships its own camera app with the phone which is pretty bare bones when it comes to offering granular settings but designed keeping in mind the casual camera user. You'll only see two controls - one for switching to the video camera and the other to switch between the front and rear lenses till you swipe from the edge to the right side of the screen to reveal an arc shaped dial that features controls for HDR mode, LED flash, focus & exposure, slow motion, Panorama mode, geo-tagging, widescreen mode and shutter sound. Similar to the Windows Phone camera app, you click pictures by tapping anywhere on the screen. The soft viewfinder can be moved up and down to zoom in and out or shift focus.

We were pretty impressed by the images captured by the Moto G outdoors, during daylight. The images had good amount of detail, reproduced colour accurately and good contrast, especially in HDR mode. Pictures captured in low-light conditions and indoors were not that great but noise levels were comparatively lower than other phones in the same price range.

The rear camera can capture 720p video and we found the quality to be satisfactory.

The front camera comes in handy for taking selfies and for video chats, and does a decent job.


Moto G is known for offering the level of performance which is only delivered by phones costing Rs 10,000 more than it. At the heart of the phone is the 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with Adreno 305 graphics and 1GB RAM. We did not notice any lag whatsoever while navigating through the phone's menu, launching apps and switching between them.

We were able to play games like Temple Run 2, Banana Kong, and Asphalt 8 without encountering frame drops or freezes. Despite the limited RAM, the phone is a great gaming device.

In synthetic benchmarks, it beats competitors like the Micromax Canvas Turbo Mini by a margin. The phone scored 17,404 in Antutu, 8574 in Quadrant and 57.9 in Nenamark 2 benchmark tests. Some of these scores are better than the Nexus 4.

Out of the 16GB storage, 12.92GB is available to the user. Unfortunately, you can't expand the storage as the phone doesn't come with a memory card slot. Google is offering 50GB free cloud storage in Google Drive with the phone but we don't see cloud storage going mainstream till data connectivity gets better and data tariffs go cheaper.

Moto G offers Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS connectivity options. Interestingly, it comes with a trusted Bluetooth feature allowing you to disable lock screen when the phone is paired with a device specified as 'trusted.' This means you don't need to unlock the screen to change tracks when listening to music via Bluetooth headphones.

Moto G offers excellent call quality and signal reception and we did not encounter issues while making calls even in areas where cell signal is relatively weaker. The phone was able to lock to GPS without any hiccups.

Moto G offers FM radio but unfortunately, you can't listen to it through the phone's speaker even when you've plugged in the headphones to use as an antenna. It also doesn't offer a recording feature. We were able to play most popular video and audio file formats.

The external speaker on the phone offers loud sound output though it lacks bass. Of course the sound gets muffled when the phone lies on its back, which is an issue.

The phone is backed by a 2070 mAh battery and will last you a complete day even if you put the screen brightness at the highest level and use 3G data all the time. You'll be able to make about 2-3 hours of phone calls, play some casual games and browse the web in this time period. The phone can play video continuously for 7 to 8 hours.

Overall, the Moto G offers impressive performance and using it as our daily driver turned out to be a pleasant experience.


There has been a vacuum in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 price segment when it comes to quality Android smartphones. Indian brands do somewhat fill the gap but the after-sales experience has left many customers high and dry. Also, the build quality and finish of these devices leaves a lot to be desired.

The Moto G addresses this very segment delivering great performance at an affordable price. We would not shy away for calling it a value for money proposition as the phone is well built and comes with the promise of latest software. We hope Motorola (even after completion of its acquisition by Lenovo) continues to offer software updates and ensures good level of on-ground after sales support.

There's no other Android phone we can recommend in the price segment. If you're fine with Windows Phone and want a better camera, the Nokia Lumia 720 is a good option.