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The proper way to plug in a USB cable

See all the USB symbolsOn a recent trip to a library I overheard one librarian ask another if there is a way to tell how to connect a USB cable to the PC correctly the first time. I thought I was the only one who had that problem. Even when I’m certain I have the cable the right way it doesn’t go in to the port I think I must have the cable at the wrong angle or I missed the port, either way I have to flip the cable around to make it fit.

This got me thinking that there must be some way to tell how the USB cable is supposed to fit into the port. A quick internet search lead me to an article on Lifehacker which revealed that the USB symbol on the cable is “up” and that the USB port on a PC should have the same symbol which represents “up”. Easy peasy right, not so fast, what about PCs where the USB symbol is on the side of the port. Well, in this case figure out what side of the PC is “up” and that should work.

I found that this isn’t going to work 100% of the time. We found a cable in our office that had a brand logo on the top and the USB symbol on the bottom of a cable. In this case look at the two square holes at the tip of the cable. One side the two holes will be filled in and the other side they will be open. The side where the two holes are open is up.

I know this isn’t a huge problem and I didn’t just blow your mind (maybe Tim’s) because it probably takes less time to switch the cable around vs looking at the cable and port studying the symbols. So maybe if you didn’t already know this, this can be that one thing you’re supposed to learn today.


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