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Effectively James_H., as the Galileo Getting Started and https://communities.intel.com/servlet/JiveServlet/previewBody/21838-102-6-25157/Galileo_GettingStarted_329685_004.pdf guides state, connecting the board through USB cable before powering it may damage your board. You must always connect the board to power before connecting it via USB to your computer. Depending on how much time you left it connected may permanently damage the board but there are options to try if you left your board connected only via USB. You can try to update the firmware of the board that may make the board work again. The procedure for updating the firmware is described here https://communities.intel.com/servlet/JiveServlet/previewBody/21838-102-6-25157/Galileo_GettingStarted_329685_004.pdf , Let me know if this works.
As Sergio pointed out, you should probably connect the power first. The board is not supposed to draw power from the USB.
Now, I have left the USB connected for around a 2-3 minutes before connecting the power-supply and nothing has happened. I know this is frustrating but I think if left connected for very a small duration of time it has no harmful effect.
The Galileo can (supposedly) be powered via USB (on the Client port), but Intel recommends against that.
I do not think that is a very accurate statement. There is however a VIN pin that allows the board to receive power from another source.
The minimum power guaranteed by the USB standard is very low, significantly below what is required by Galileo. Many USB hosts provide more power than the standard but your mileage may vary - a lot. Note Galileo is not the only USB device having USB power problems.
The most likely "damage" when powering with USB only is: the Galileo firmware is trying to update some variables in the SPI flash while booting and not getting enough power to do that, leaving the SPI flash and firmware in an inconsistent state: "bricking" the board. In the worst cases the firmware can only be recovered with a Dediprog SPI flash programmer (which costs a bit more than the board itself). For more about Dediprog see the BSP build guide.
I don't think Galileo Gen2 is any different in terms of USB and power.
On the other hand Galileo Gen2 is power-over-Ethernet capable.