Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a serial bus standard to interface devices. USB was designed to allow many peripherals to be connected using a single standardized interface socket and to improve the plug-and-play capabilities by allowing devices to be connected and disconnected without rebooting the computer (hot swapping). Other convenient features include providing power to low-consumption devices without the need for an external power supply and allowing many devices to be used without requiring manufacturer specific, individual device drivers to be installed.
USB is intended to help retire all legacy varieties of serial and parallel ports. USB can connect computer peripherals such as mice, keyboards, PDAs, gamepads and joysticks, scanners, digital cameras, printers, personal media players, and flash drives. For many of those devices USB has become the standard connection method. USB is also used extensively to connect non-networked printers; USB simplifies connecting several printers to one computer. USB lock software can lock out memory devices and still allow other USB peripherals to function. The USB was originally designed for personal computers, but it has become commonplace on other devices such as PDAs and video game consoles. In 2004, there were about 1 billion USB devices in the world.