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Randy The Tech Professor

June 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Don’t Throw Out That Old PS/2 Mouse And Keyboard!


Hello everyone,

Just wanted to let you know why I still hang on to my PS/2 mice and keyboards (especially the keyboard).

Many of my clients upgrade their PS/2 mouse and keyboard. They either want to go with a USB mouse and keyboard setup or with the even more popular wireless mouse and keyboard setup. Now I’m all for an upgrade, but as a computer tech I’ve made the following observation.

Some BIOS will only work with a PS/2 keyboard. Many times USB and wireless keyboards are not compatible with certain motherboards during the “pre windows” booting phase. The USB or wirelass keyboard will start to function only when Windows is fully loaded.

At times you can make a change in the BIOS by going into your BIOS peripherals menu and turning on the USB keyboard/mouse feature, but not always. Sometimes plugging your USB keyboard into the first (or another) USB port will do the trick. But often you will just have to keep plugging that old PS/2 keyboard into the PS/2 port in order access your BIOS settings, Safe Mode, Login Screen, etc.

Professor Randy says: Don’t throw out those “old” PS/2 mice and keyboards!  Sooner or later they will come in handy with certain types of motherboard BIOS. You’ll be glad that you still have them!






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  • aj
    10:07 am on July 3rd, 2012 1

    I also hang on to my trusty PS/2 keyboard (it’s been with me through several computers and the one I recently built was based on a motherboard that was REQUIRED to have a PS/2 keyboard jack) but for a slightly different reason. I’ve been using this IBM Model M keyboard for over 15 years — ever since the company I worked for upgraded from IBM PCs to Dells and threw out (!!!!) all the old hardware. I managed to salvage three IBM keyboards out of a dumpster. Those three should last me for forever!

  • Randy Knowles
    2:43 pm on July 8th, 2012 2

    Good move aj by not throwing out your PS/2 keyboard. As you have said they can come in quite handy for a variety of reasons.

    I’m curious to know the reason why you installed a motherboard that only worked with PS/2 peripherals?

    Best wishes and thanks for the comment.

  • aj
    3:19 pm on July 8th, 2012 3

    Oops. Sorry if I left the impression that the motherboard ONLY worked with PS/2. Many motherboards these days have only USB connections, expecting one to use a USB mouse and a USB keyboard. I looked specifically for ones that had PS/2 connectors so I could plug my keyboard in directly rather than through PS/2-USB adapters. I suspect at some point in the future I’ll be forced to use those adapters. I also use a KVM switch that is PS/2-based to share the keyboard, mouse and monitor between two PCs. That’s another reason I’m still in the PS/2 world.

  • Randy Knowles
    8:24 pm on July 8th, 2012 4

    I’m with you aj. I use PS/2 whenever possible and although I’m “old school” I say long live PS/2!

    Funny thing about some techs and KVM switches. Many computer techs don’t like them because they (KVM switches) don’t really increase productiveness for many techs. The tech gets so concentrated on one computer monitor that he forgets to push the KVM switch button to change the display to the other PC! By the time the tech realizes that he has another computer “on the line”, too much time has gone by. In my shop I use one dedicated monitor for each individual computer so I can see what is going on with each computer at all times.

    Thanks for the comment and best wishes

  • aj
    6:45 pm on July 9th, 2012 5

    Sure enough, in a troubleshooting environment, you’d want each PC you’re working to be displaying current status so you can just glance over and see what’s going on — as long as you have the real estate available for the hardware. My desk is just large enough to hold my main PC, a 24″ ASUS flat panel, a 17″ Samsung flat panel and, of course, my keyboard and mouse. Another desk behind me holds my old Alienware monster, used for testing programs as well as to run old software, especially those that are resource hogs. I use the KVM to switch an analog video signal between the main PC and the Alienware to the smaller Samsung. The ASUS monitor is connected directly (via digital video) to the main PC so I always see what’s going on there. The Samsung is either displaying an extended desktop of my main display or the desktop from the Alienware.

    But on hot Summer days in this non-air conditioned room, it’s only the laptop that gets powered up cause it’d be like a freakin’ oven in here!

  • Damian
    11:59 pm on July 9th, 2012 6

    I don’t have one of those cool mechanical keyboards most computer people seem love so much, but I like my HP PS/2 keyboard that I got from the old server my uncle gave to my mom as “her” first computer about eight years ago. She doesn’t use it anymore. It’s got some weight to it, not thin plastic. I think if it was actually attached to that server it didn’t see a whole lot of use.. but could have if that was actually someone’s high end workstation. I brought it back out after sitting there a few yeras and it’s been on my desk for the past year now. The media keys even work in Windows 7 when the keyboard is plugged into a PS/2 port, but not when using a PS/2 to USB adapter.. only get the basic stuff. Good thing my awesome motherboard has both old ports, I also use a ball mouse that’s been around since Windows 95. Well, it’s old to me. I know people who still use older stuff.

  • aj
    10:59 am on July 10th, 2012 7

    If you are a touch typist, you owe it to yourself to at least experience the feel of a “buckling spring” keyboard. That’s the basic design of the IBM Model M. I’m sure at some point in your travels, you’ll run across a client who has one of these keyboards. You’ll be able to tell right away — they are noisy (some people find that annoying, especially if you are a late night writer) and the feel of the keys is nothing like the usual keyboards that are out there. Once you’ve tried writing a paragraph or two on one, you’ll be hooked.

    While you would have a tough time getting an actual IBM (eBay maybe along with premium prices), you can still check out the Unicomp series of keyboards (I think DAS markets a buckling spring keyboard as well, but at a rather high price). A basic Unicomp model will set you back about $70. Not cheap but then that’s why you won’t see them packed inside a Dell or HP box any more.

    My wife uses a ball mouse too — the wired ones are getting harder and harder to find. She’s very hard on the buttons and, one of these days, I’ll have to disassemble a couple of the bad ones, unsolder the right button’s microswitch off one and resolder it as the replacement left button microswitch on the other.

  • IKnowThisIsOld
    2:17 am on December 1st, 2012 8

    Actually the phrase “Once you’ve tried writing a paragraph or two on one, you’ll be hooked.” is not at all true. I *hate* the feel and sound of those old model M’s as much as some people love them. I think that’s the way it is with most people. Either you really love it or you really hate it. I prefer something in the middle of those and the newer mushy keyboards that I also hate. I like the 8923 ibm ps2 keyboards. Bought a bunch of them in 2001 (like 5 or 6 I think) at a surplus store. Now I wish I had bought 15 of them :-D

    Just killed one when I missed my desk with a full cup of coffee this evening, which is why I found this old post. Still have a couple of ’em left. Guess my kids computer may end up with a different kind of keyboard :-D

  • Adam
    10:55 pm on March 16th, 2013 9

    I just recently bought a new motherboard but it has a ps/2 keyboard jack but it doesnt have a mouse one??? What do i do?

  • Randy Knowles
    1:42 pm on March 21st, 2013 10

    Hi Adam,
    Thanks for the comment. Use a a PS/2 keyboard and a USB mouse – or get this adapter and you’ll be able to plug both keyboard and mouse into a USB port:

    Best wishes,
    Randy Knowles

  • Meg
    1:49 pm on March 15th, 2014 11

    My son’s usb keyboard is broken and his PC (Windows 10) has PS2 ports. Please could someone remind me how to get an old PS2 keyboard to work as I plugged it in and nothing happens.



  • Randy Knowles
    5:53 pm on March 15th, 2014 12

    Hi Meg,

    Plug in the PS/2 keyboard into the back of the computer (purple input). Restart the computer and you should be good to go!

  • nick
    10:23 am on October 30th, 2015 13

    Try to fit a raspberry pi (or some other single board computer) into the Ps/2 keyboard hook it up, and you have a computer in your keyboard.


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