How To Plug In A USB Cable Correctly Every Time

Somehow, even if we think we know which direction that USB cable is supposed to plug in, you always second guess yourself when it doesn't go in the first time. Here are a few tips to rid your life of this annoying phenomenon.

Image via 9GAG.

Blogger Royce Eddington made a startling discovery that we've never noticed before — every USB cable actually tells you which way is "up":

Look at the top of your next cable. On one side is the manufacturer's logo, and on the other is the USB symbol (sometimes with another manufacturer logo underneath the symbol). The USB cable always plugs in with the USB symbol facing UP on your laptop. If you have a vertical monitor with USB ports, the USB cable always plugs in with the USB symbol facing you.

I'd add that if you're plugging it into the back of a desktop tower (i.e. sideways), the USB logo will always face away from the nearest edge of the case. That is, if your USB ports are near the right side of the case, the USB logo should always face left, and vice-versa.

I looked through all my USB cables and shockingly, they all do have this USB logo on them — something I never noticed. Sadly, flash drives are a different matter, but usually you can tell which side is up just by finding the side with the two square "holes" on it. And until someone invents a true cure for this seemingly simple problem, this method should work most of the time.

Plug In a USB Cable Right the First Time [Royce Eddington]


    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Why do you need to be so bloody belligerent! I just don't understand why people making these comments feel it is OK to be so dammed rude! If you were face to face with the guy I'm sure you'd be a bit more courteous.. #[

        You might be surprised by just how belligerent I can be -- yes, even in person!

        Now that more people have left comments, I have to say that I'm amazed; I've been operating under the apparently false assumption that LH writers/editors and readers knew their shit. My bad.

      One problem with those logos is you can't see them in the dark, a bit of liquid paper might help marking the side that goes up. My USB ports on the back of my PC are also vertical, so it isn't an upside down situation, it is a left/right situation, so is even more confusing. Just flip.

    These connectors have been around for more than a decade and you're spotting this now?

    It's not even a slow news day!

    There is an exception, for some reason WD think they're so special they can put the usb logo facing down with their logo facing up.

    Gets me every time.

      Me Too. B*stards!

        Me three! Always on my MBP... decided it must be "a Mac thing"... whoops!

    The fact is that the USB symbol is often very hard to see, specially in poor light. I put a bit of bright tape on the symbol side of mine, saves a bit of hassle! #]

    I hope this means Hughhh's mum can get her webcam working now.

      Cheers Kendal! You must've been getting some awful blue balls, hankerin' for a spankerin' while her site was down!

    The thing is, it doesn't work with Western Digital gear. Some genius decided to confuse everybody by putting the WD logo on the opposite side. At least on the new stuff with Micro USB connections.

    What I've noticed is that most USB media players get this upside down... or is it just cheap ones?

    Either way, it gives me irrits...

    I'm personally not sure why you'd use this methord :\

    The foolproof methord I've found is to LOOK at the cable. It has a seam on it. That seam faces DOWN. The methord is basicaly the same. Its the opposite of the USB logo thats being reffered to here but every device kinda has to use that methord otherwise the physical plugh won't work. give that a go.. :P

      This is what I do... I've never encountered a USB cable that doesn't have the seam on it's bottom side. Makes much more sense than logos.

      If you are talking about the line of fine text, that can be just as hard to see as the USB logo, specially if you are sight impaired in any way, and I've got several cables that have no marking at all! just put a sticker or tag on the USB side of the cord, easy to do easy to see! #]

        no no... if you look at the metalic part that goes into the computer there is a seam where the metal is joined. That seam faces down to the bottom of the USB connector.

          Meh! still seems to me it is easier to just mark the thing! Not like it's hard to do? #]

   what? other than using whats already there for you :P

              If you read my earlier comments you'll see that I am talking about a sticker or a piece of tape! lol

                You can mark every USB cable you encounter as much as you like, Ecky. I'll keep using the seam-check.

    "The USB cable always plugs in with the USB symbol facing UP on your laptop."

    Not always. I discovered this "helpful hint" quite a while back but I've also discovered a bunch of USB leads that are the opposite way around.

    This brings up an interesting thought.. how many times have you gone to plug in your VGA cable (ok, these times are over now with HDMI but the memory is still there) and found that it is the opposite direction to how you expected it to be? :)

    You know, this is actually the opposite for Apple branded cables.

    The Apple symbol up is the correct orientation.

    There's no point looking at the logo, there is a more reliable way to do it. The side that faces away from the edge of the back of your case, or up on a laptop is the side of the usb connector that has holes where you can see the metal inside the connector through them. The other side has plastic blocking the holes. The blocked side is the "back". This is always the case. Looking for printed logos is not always reliable.

    All USB connectors have a seam/line on the "downside" on the Metal Connector, though IEEE should be shot for allowing the USB connector and RJ45 (Cat5) LAN Network Interface Socket (NIC Card) to have same dimensions !, in 6 years have twice visited clients who have short-circuited motherboards by plugging in USB devices to the NIC Port...

      lol the whole "i plugged in my usb and it don't work" i got that a few times, plugged into the RJ45 port on laptops.

      i either look at the actual guts of the plug, or look for the seam also.

      some computers however have the ports up side down

    Has no one else thought of just looking inside the connector?

      Meh, something about having to bend down and look inside waaaay too difficult.

    Useful info for me, at least. Thanks!

    What about sideways usb ports, like those in my PC. Did you think about that? Huh?

      Yes. Yes he did.

    It's also not correct on some NEC laptops, where every port on the mainboard is upside down from the norm (RJ45 port has tab underneath, VGA upside down etc). Makes plugging in a USB modem fun :(

    I think this article is valid.. After all, there are still some people who don't know what Ctrl+F does.

    I have a WD Elements hard drive. The USB icon is actually at the bottom and brand logo at the top when plugged in correctly :/

    SMBC said it better

    Was literally just wondering this the other day then happen to see this article doing a search on how I can plug my 500gb HD with tons of .avi movies into my brand spanking new 46" LED smart TV. And now I won't even have to worry about always having to flip my USB plug twice. Life is sweet.

    Btw, I suspect we always flip it twice because even though we are 90% sure that it plugs in that way, we don't push as hard just in case we might damage it (this has never actually happened to me but I still think about it literally every time I plug something in), and get a similar feeling to when it is flipped, and so we flip it, and then go wtf?omg, and finally flip it again and ram it in there. Fyi, that 4th smiley face is damn near perfect.

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