General Question

2davidc8's avatar

Why did this PS2 to USB conversion not work?

Asked by 2davidc8 (4983 points ) November 26th, 2011

I have this older keyboard and mouse that still work great, but they have a PS2 connection. My new laptop, however, does not. So I got some PS2 to USB adapters from an electronics store. After plugging them into my laptop, Windows does not seem to recognize the units, they don’t work at all. Is there a step I’m missing? Do I need to download some new drivers?

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7 Answers

nyboy718's avatar

PS/2 connectors must be plugged in when the computer is off, if you plugged them in when the computer was on, then you must restart the computer. After a fresh restart, they should be recognized, if for some reason they are still not being recognized then you may need to download the appropriate drivers for the device.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Once the PS2 keyboard is plugged into the USB adapter it should behave exactly like a USB keyboard and be recognised by windows as such. You should not anyother drivers to get to work. You will also be able to plug the usb adapter into the computer and it be recognised while windows is running just like any other USB device.

jerv's avatar

There are some cheap adapters that only change the connectors, but do not actually convert the signals.

Also note that while the purple keyboard and the green mouse connectors look the same, they are not. The same holds true of adapters.

And, as @nyboy718 points out, PS/2 devices are not “hot pluggable” like USB devices are.

@Lightlyseared Only if you use an active adapter that actually converts the signals as opposed to a passive one which doesn’t.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Looks like microsoft removed PS/2 support from its drivers in 2010 even with a USB adapter so you may need to find alternative drivers.

And while PS/2 wasn’t designed to be hotswappable you could usually hot swap keyboards without problems (never worked with mice though).

2davidc8's avatar

Thank you, @Lightlyseared @jerv and @nyboy718 for your replies. Your answers have given me some ideas to try. I have an older laptop with Windows XP that should have the older drivers on it. I didn’t know that PS/2 was not hotswappable. And I didn’t know that there were such things as active vs. passive adapters. The adapter that I bought was from Micro Connectors; the package did not indicate whether it was active or passive, but it did say “For use with either keyboard or mouse”. I’ll try a few things and report back.

2davidc8's avatar

My old laptop running Windows XP has both PS/2 and USB ports. So, I tried the PS/2 keyboard on each port in turn, doing a cold boot each time. Well, it works in the PS/2 port, but not in the USB, using the aforementioned adapter. I think this rules out the driver issue, so now I’m thinking it’s the active vs passive adpater issue that @jerv mentioned. I must’ve gotten a cheap, passive one. I’ll exchange it for an active one and see what happens.

2davidc8's avatar

OK, so I bought this PS/2 to USB adapter, and it works great! Thank you @jerv for the information about the difference between active and passive adapters!!

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