USB 3.0 Compatibility Issues In Older Fire Tablets

April 8, 2015
By

It’s your friendly KF on KND Editor April L. Hamilton here.

I recently bought a new Toshiba Satellite laptop (don’t believe the negative reviews, it’s a solid machine) which has both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. I discovered that when I connected my 2013 Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ to the USB 3.0 port using the USB 2.0 cable that came with the Fire, Windows didn’t detect the Fire at all.

I tried all the usual things: double-checking that the USB cable was firmly inserted, turning the HDX off and on again, disconnecting and re-connecting, but nothing worked. So I tried plugging the HDX into one of the USB 2.0 ports and it was instantly detected by the laptop.

A test of both ports with my 2014 Fire HD6 showed that Windows detected the attached Fire on either port, still using the USB 2.0 cable I got with the HDX.

 

Amazon Kindle Tech Support Confirms: It’s A Known Issue

I suspected this was a compatibility issue between USB 3.0 and older model Fires, but another possibility was that I needed a USB 3.0 cable to attach the HDX to the USB 3.0 port. To be sure I had to call Amazon Kindle Tech Support.

The front-line tech support person said connecting the HDX to a USB 3.0 port with the 2.0 cable should work, and I just wouldn’t get the higher file transfer speeds that USB 3.0 provides. However, the Kindle specialist he transferred me to confirmed older model Fires may not be detected by Windows when they’re plugged into a USB 3.0 port, regardless of the cable you use.

He provided some technical details about file management protocols and such, but the bottom line is that any Fire tablet released prior to the most recent, 2014 models is not guaranteed to work with a USB 3.0 port on your computer.

A future software update may close the USB 3.0 gap for older model Fires, but for now it’s safest to just stick with using your computer’s USB 2.0 ports when attaching an older model Fire.

Don’t worry: USB 3.0 is a pretty new technology, so USB 2.0 ports will continue to be included on new computers for at least a couple more years.

 

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