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One Fix For: Windows Doesn’t Boot. Black Screen.

Windows doesn’t boot and all I’m seeing is a black screen after turning on via the power button.

If this sounds familiar, read on.

Given this website is dedicated to USB (Universal Serial Bus) technology, then let us provide a tip, which is USB related, as to the possible cause of your black screen upon boot up.

Check your computer to make sure a USB flash drive is not connected at the time of power up. If you have a USB drive connected, disconnect it and try again. If upon this recommended tip, things work, then you have a bootable USB flash drive which is causing the problem. In addition, your BIOS is setup to boot from a USB flash drive. Both of these things can easily be corrected.

Of course the simple solution is removing the flash drive. But if you want to FIX the problem, there are a couple steps you can perform to get things resolved.

First, you can remove the boot code from your flash drive. Unfortunately, you cannot do this with a simple format or even a full format. What you’ll need to do is clean the flash drive via disk part. What this function does is wipe the flash drive clean of boot code so you have a simple Mass Storage Device, not a bootable Mass Storage Device.

Do the following: (note: doing this step will remove all data from being accessed because we are cleaning out the file allocation table)

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Press Release: Orange County IT Services and Cyber Security Consulting by Forza Tek

orange county cyber security computer consulting

Orange County, CA – December 2022Forza Tek offers a range of computer services including Cyber security solutions, software consulting and software development services.

Forza Tek provides a broad variety of IT services and advice, including the creation and deployment of business applications as well as the setting up and upkeep of business infrastructure, so management can concentrate on expanding the company.

Cyber Security

Computer security, cyber security, or information technology security (IT security) is the protection of computer systems and networks from malicious actors who may cause unauthorized information disclosure, theft or damage to hardware, software, or data, as well as disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.

Because of the increased reliance on computer systems, the Internet, and wireless network standards such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as well as the proliferation of smart devices such as smartphones, televisions, and the various devices that comprise the Internet of things, the field has grown in importance (IoT). Due to the complexity of information systems and the societies they support, cyber security is one of the most significant challenges of the modern world.

Software Development

The process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing that goes into creating and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components is known as software development. Software development entails writing and maintaining source code, but it also encompasses all processes from the conception of the desired software to its final manifestation, typically in a planned and structured process. [1] Research, new development, prototyping, modification, reuse, re-engineering, maintenance, and any other activities that result in software products are also included in software development.

Technology Services

Technology services are delivered in the IT industry in accordance with business or enterprise requirements. Services range from basic Internet access to enterprise application software (EA). Internet service providers (ISP), application service providers (ASP), cloud providers, and developers are examples of technology service providers.

  • Software development, integration, and maintenance are examples of technology services.
  • Hardware Integration, management, and upkeep of networks
  • Information safety (IS)
  • Management consultants in information technology
  • Services for mobile phones
  • Web-based applications

Software Consulting

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USB Speeds Shown in MBs – Picture Graph

Most USB specification speeds are shown in Mbps or Megabits per second, but nearly all users reference data storage in MB (Megabytes) or GB (Gigabytes) so this post converts the Mbps rate to MB/second and presents them in a picture graph. Scroll down to see the image.

In the year 1995 seven companies came together to develop USB or Universal Serial Bus. The overall goal was making a uniform way storage devices would connect to computers. (Seven companies are: Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel)

  • USB 1.0 was introduced in 1996.
  • USB2.0 was introduced in 2000.
  • USB 3.0 was introduced in 2008 with the next generation of USB 3.0 called 3.1 introduced in 2013.
  • USB 3.2 was released in 2017.
  • USB 4.0 specification was released in 2019.

USB speeds shown in MB per second is shown below as a picture graph. The graph below shows the MB/second in relationship to the USB version. In addition, the USB connector type is highlighted for the versions which are available.

USB Speeds Shown in MBs - Picture Graph

The adoption rate of USB specifications to enter the market typically has a 2 year delay from the time of specification release to products becoming available. The duration for those technologies to become fully saturated in the market takes even longer. For example, the USB 4.0 specification may take another four years before the majority of products available will support those transfer speeds.

The data transfer speeds of USB 4.2 will be welcome as moving 10,000 MB/s will easily satisfy the human expectation of “is it done yet!”

Two things to consider however when it comes to our expectations and reality.

  1. The transfer speeds from these specifications (or any specification like PCI or SCSI) are always the theoretical speeds. Actual, real life speeds will be less.
  2. Although USB 4.2 sounds incredible fast, the possibility of files increasing in size is about as exponential as Moore’s Law anyway. Meaning our MP4 video file of today that is 100MB in size… will be higher resolution and better sound a year or two down the road and will balloon in size to 500MB or more.

The device market for all USB technologies in the year 2021 was valued at an estimated $35.3 Billion US Dollars.

The growing use of consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptop computers in developed and developing countries is primarily due to rising disposable income, population growth, and increased Internet penetration. Significant technological advancements have resulted in an increase in the penetration of these devices across several economies. According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), smartphone sales in the United States will total 152 million units in 2020.

USB devices have emerged as a dominant interface for meeting the growing demand for fast data transfer between end devices such as laptops, smartphones, PCs, and digital cameras. As a result of the increasing demand for consumer electronics and data transmission products, global USB device market players are focusing on launching new products in order to achieve sustainable growth and differentiate themselves from competitors, thereby contributing to market growth.

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Digital Storage Capacity in 1956, Now in 2022 and Future 2087

Digital Storage Capacity in 1956, Now in 2022 and Future 2087

IBM introduced the world’s first commercial storage system, the 305 RAMAC. in 1956. A magnetic disk was used to store data and was intended for a secondary storage system. RAMAC stands for Random Access Method of Accounting and Control and was designed for real-world needs of accounting in business. The first customers was the US Navy.

This physical size of the 305 was 6′ wide by 5′ deep (feet). Total storage capacity was 4.4MBs (megabytes). The weight for this storage system was just over one ton (source).

Today, (2022) we can see a 1TB (terabyte) of storage in a microSD card (TF Card) at the small size of 15mm x 11mm and the weight is under one gram.

The big selling point from IBM in 1956 was the ability for the 305 to store the equivalent of 64,000 punch cards on its magnetic disks. Punch cars are stiff pieces of paper which contain digital data represented by the presence [or absence] of holes in predefined positions on the card.

The IBM 350 disk system could store 5 million alphanumeric characters as six data bits, one parity bit, and one space bit, for a total of eight bits per character. It had fifty disks with a diameter of 24 inches. Under servo control, two independent access arms moved up and down to select a disk and in and out to select a recording track.

In comparison, today’s 1TB microSD card will hold about 6.5 million documents and said another way, 6.5 million documents bit in about 1,300 filing cabinets. The seek time to find a single file is about

In 1957, IBM would lease the RAMAC 305 for about $3,200 per month (roughly $33,000 in 2022 dollars). Over one thousand 305 systems were manufactured before production ceased in 1961.

Digital Storage in the Future

If we consider Moore’s Law which is storage capacity and technology in general will double every 18 months, we can calculate 43 cycles of Moore’s Law between today and 65 years into the future. Doing some advanced math, we figure the storage capacity of a microSD card, if still available, in 2087 will be 18,446,744,073,709,600,000,000,000 TBs of data.

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TeamViewer Alternative – And it’s Free – Quick Assist from Microsoft

TeamViewer is one of the most popular applications to share computer screens with other people. However TeamViewer is very expensive. Is there a TeamViewer alternative? Yes there is… and it’s 100% free.

We found a TeamViewer alternative one day because, as a business, we had to provide technical support to a remote Windows computer. TeamViewer is very clear about their software being used in a business should have a business license.

From the screen shot below, you can see a single license is $34.90 per month. What TeamViewer doesn’t tell you… until half way through the purchase process… is a yearly subscription is your only option. Ugh. This now puts your TeamViewer cost at $418.80 for a single year. More licenses require a bigger financial commitment.

teamviewer is expensive, free alternative

We immediately went into TeamViewer alternative mode.

As an alternative, we found Quick Assist from Microsoft.

Quick Assist is 100% free and offered by Microsoft which allows users to share their computer screen and give free and total control to the other. There is no time limit for a sharing session and there is no limit to the number of times you can use the tool, or no limit for whom you use the tool with.

You need to download the free utility from the Microsoft App store, and that process is extremely easy. Type “quick assist” into the search bar and Windows will provide a link to download.

Quick Assist is TeamViewer alternative, download screenshot

After download the Quick Assist app is ready for use.

By launching the app you can either input a code from an Assistant who is helping you remotely, or you can select the option to assist someone else. See the image below.

To assist another person you will need a Microsoft account and if you don’t have one, Quick Assist will put you through the process in a couple steps.

If you are receiving help from someone, a Microsoft account is not required.

Below are a couple screen shots for getting connected between an “assistant” and the one receiving the help.

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Kingston – To Pay $7.5 mil In Compensatory Damages

Kingston USB flash drive, stock photo

Friday, June 3, 2022 Kingston Technology Company LLC was held accountable for willfully infringing on US Patent No 6,926,544 held by Pavo Solutions LLC.

The patent abstract:

A flash memory apparatus with a single body type rotary cover, where the cover is not completely separated from the main body to prevent cover loss. The flash memory apparatus consists of the following components: a flash memory main body with a rectangular shaped case in which a memory element is mounted. A USB terminal piece is electrically connected to the memory element and installed at a front end of the case to protrude therefrom, as well as a hinge protuberance formed on at least one side of the case. A cover is provided that is defined by a pair of parallel plate members facing each other with an interval corresponding to the thickness of the case. The cover has an open front and a closed back. The cover’s lateral ends are both open. The parallel plate members are joined to the hinge protuberance by a pair of hinge holes, allowing the cover to rotate with respect to the flash memory main body, allowing the USB terminal piece to be received in an inner space of the cover or rotated for exposure to the outside of the cover.

We are not a legal website so for more detail on the proceedings, please visit IP Watch Dog.

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Why Does TLC Memory Write Slower Than MLC Memory

TLC memory writes slower than MLC memory because it stores three bits of data per cell, rather than the one bit stored by SLC and the two bits stored by MLC. Writing three bits of data to a single cell requires more complex programming than writing a single or two bits of data, resulting in slower write speeds and shorter endurance levels. Additionally, the number of program and erase cycles that TLC memory can endure is significantly lower than SLC and MLC memory, further reducing its overall write performance.

More complex programming is required because eash cell can hold three bits of data (with TLC memory) and because of this trait, when new data is added to the cell, the original data must be erased, remembered, and then re-written back to the same cell, in addition to the new bit of data being added to the three layer cell. The speed at which a memory block gets erased depends on the type of memory being used. Generally, Single Level Cell (SLC) memory gets erased the quickest, while Multi Level Cell (MLC) and Triple Level Cell (TLC) memory take longer due to their increased layers. As a side note, the size of the memory block, as well as the type of controller being used, can also affect the speed of erase operations.

The five steps when writing to memory space in TLC memory are as follows:

  • Erase – The existing data in the memory cell must be erased before new data can be written.
  • Program – The new data is programmed into the memory cell.
  • Verify – The new data is verified to ensure it was written correctly.
  • Refresh – The memory cell is refreshed to prevent data corruption due to charge leakage.
  • Read – The data is read from the memory cell to ensure it was written correctly.

If additional data is to be written to another bit of the same cell in a TLC memory, the existing bit must be erased first and then added back in. The overhead in processing slows down the overall speed of the device and directly affects the performance.

Why Does TLC Memory Write Slower Than MLC Memory

To get a bit more information about SLC memory, please visit our original post about this back from 2006.

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Solved: (Video) Windows Cannot Delete the System Volume on This Disk

Sometimes Windows cannot delete the system volume on the disk because the partition table is corrupt. The solution is very easy and all the tools required to solve this problem are pre-installed and ready to use on any Windows 10 (+) computer.

Windows Cannot Delete the System Volume on This Disk

In short, the Disk Management utility cannot delete the volume because there is corrupt data in the partition table of the device. This issue we are talking about is most likely associated with a USB flash drive and sometimes USB hard drives.

One of the reasons a user will get a corrupt partition table is from formatting the USB device over and over again. Sometimes computers just don’t do what they are supposed to do! Surprise!

A common reason a user would like to delete the volume of a flash drive is to start “clean” with a fresh device. The reason to start “clean” is because some other function or task is not working as expected. For example, a user trying to create an digital image file (.img) from a physical USB flash drive continues to create corrupt image files. Well, when you start with a corrupt partition table, you’ll end up with a corrupt image file.

Another reason could be a user is trying to make a two partition flash drive using Disk Management. However, you cannot make a two partition flash drive if you cannot delete the volume in the first place!

We did a great write up about “How to partition a USB flash drive in Windows” a while back. A good read if you have the time.

The below steps will show you exactly how to fix this problem. There is a video at the bottom of this post showing the steps.

  • Connect your flash drive
  • In the search field in Windows (bottom left white box that says “Type here to search”) type “Disk Management” and click ENTER on the keyboard. Disk Management should pop up.
  • In the search field in Windows type “diskpart” and click ENTER on the keyboard. DiskPart will either pop open, or a dialogue box will ask if you want to open it, click YES
  • In DiskPart type “list disk
  • From the list provided determine which disk number represents your USB flash drive or hard drive
  • In the screen shot below, our disk is #1
  • Type “select disk x*In this example we typed “select disk 1”
  • Type “clean
  • When that is complete, toggle over to the Disk Management utility
  • Right click the box which represents the USB flash drive and select “New Simple Volume
  • Follow the prompts in the wizard to complete the process

After completing the above steps the flash drive is now ready for use. In addition, if it is required to go back and delete the volume, say to make a two partition flash drive, you can now do this without the error message “This Request Is Not Supported”

Here is a video for the above process:

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Micron Commits $15 Billion for New Boise Idaho NAND Factory

Micron Memory, a leader in worldwide supply of semiconductors, committed 15 billion dollars for the new construction of a manufacturing plant in Boise Idaho.

This new plant will be the first built in over 20 years inside the United States. In addition, it will become the only operational manufacturing facility within the United States. The 15 billion dollar investment by Micron will span the next ten years with investments inside of Boise and in other states as well.

This is the first of several planned US investments by Micron following the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act. This is the largest private investment ever made in Idaho. The new manufacturing fabrication facility will be a co-location with Micron’s Research and Development (R&D) center. Being this close to the company’s headquarters will improve operational efficiency, accelerate technology deployment, and shorten time to market.

The CHIPS and Science Act is a federal law in the United States that was passed by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 9, 2022. The act includes billions of dollars in new funding to boost domestic semiconductor research and manufacturing in the United States. The law is divided into three sections, each with its own short title:

  • Division A is the CHIPS Act of 2022
  • Division B is the Research and Development, Competition, and Innovation Act
  • Division C is the Supreme Court Security Funding Act of 2022.

This endeavor will generate an estimated 17,000 new American jobs in which 2,000 will be Micron direct hires. To support Micron’s growing employee population, the company plans to open a world-class childcare facility operated by our local partners at the Treasure Valley Family YMCA across from Micron’s corporate headquarters. The center will provide STEM-based programming and easy access for parents to interact with their children during the day, as well as ease the transition for those, particularly mothers, returning to the workforce.

Boise State University, which is located less than ten minutes from Micron’s headquarters, is ranked 131 in Engineering. The press release from Micron did not mention investments or support to improve the engineering school’s rank over course of the 15 billion dollar investment. The #1 engineering school in the United States continues to be MIT (Massachusetts Institute in Technology).

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What is USB Restricted Mode in macOS Ventura

USB Restricted Mode in macOS Ventura

Beginning with macOS Ventura, a new layer of protection offers some reassurance to enterprise IT against USB device-borne attacks.

Mac computers using the new Apple silicon will require USB and Thunderbolt accessories to be approved by the user before the accessory can communicate with macOS.

When a new USB or Thunderbolt device is connected to a Mac, the user will be prompted to approve the connection. The end user must unlock a locked Mac before the computer will recognize the accessory. This makes use of the allowUSBRestrictedMode restriction, which is new to the Mac. When your Mac is locked for more than an hour, the protection kicks in.

It does not apply to power adapters, displays, or connections to an approved hub, according to Apple, and devices will continue to charge even if you select Do Not Allow Use of a Connected Accessory. Energy flows, but data does not, according to the theory.

Where does USB Restricted Mode operate?

  • On Apple Silicon Macs, the protection is enabled by default.
  • The enabled protection is to Request New Accessories; other options include:
  • — Every time, inquire.
  • — When unlocked, this happens automatically.
  • — Always.
  • Requesting new accessories is the bare minimum of security, though highly secure enterprises will want to request permission each time.
  • You can disable / enable the setting by going to: System Settings>Security & Privacy>Security
  • Setting up an accessibility Switch Control configures the policy to allow accessory use at all times.
  • For up to three days, approved devices can connect to a locked Mac.

This is a new security setting and configuration Apple is planning to introduce from Ventura forward. More articles related to USB and Mac computers.

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Make USB Flash Drive Bootable in Anything

USB flash drive, bootable, in anything

Doing some research for why some HP computers do not boot from a USB flash drive, I came across Ventoy.

Ventoy is a software tool to create a USB flash drive bootable in anything and supports the most common image files.

We tried Ventoy to make a USB flash drive bootable, and it works like a champ. In fact, the software is so easy to use, it is worth commenting about a previous post we did. A while back we talked about how to check if your USB flash drive is bootable, and to be honest, rather than putting in the time and work to read the article and do the steps, your time is better used flashing your drive with Ventoy. The result is a bootable USB flash drive for any device.

Ventoy is an open source tool for creating bootable flash drives when using image files like ISO, IMG, WIM, VHD and EFI files. The project team tested over 900 image files which tested successfully on over 90% of the distro packages.

What we like about this solution is no need to flash the drive with boot code using the source CD-ROM like so many tutorials out there (for Windows at least) because the Ventoy tool creates a second partition which all the boot code and the Ventoy utility flashes that partition with the boot code needed. You can see from the Disk Management screen shot below there are now two partitions on the tested flash drive.

usb flash drive, bootable, disk management, ventoy

You can tell there have been plenty of Ventoy updates and what is (also) very nice about their software tool is the display of Ventoy version on your device. Nice feature to cross reference if your device is current or needs an update. The update process is just as quick as the original creation of the bootable device.

usb bootable in anything, ventoy software screen

Considering the above, it goes without saying it is easier than ever to make a USB flash drive bootable in anything without having to re-do the work. This software eliminates the need to re-create a bootable image to USB and flash it over and over. Simply update the image file content, not the boot strap code.

The only thing even slightly annoying, which is easy enough to correct is the Volume name for the primary partition defaults to “Ventoy” Would be nice if an edit feature was in the software to customize this without the additional step of renaming the volume after-the-fact.

USB volume name, ventoy, for bootable flash drive

Here are a list of feature copied from the website. The project is open source and we suggest making a donation if you do in-fact use the code. It’s only fair, right!

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How To: Hide Files on a USB Flash Drive

close up picture of flash drive

There are two methods to hide a file on a flash drive. Both methods are free and one is better than the other.

The first method is very straight forward and easy for anyone to use and probably common to most computer users. That said, this first method is also easy to detect the file on the USB.

The second method is more obfuscated and harder to detect. Using the second method it is harder to find the hidden file unless you are specifically looking for it.

Both methods work well for hiding a file on a flash drive and free to use with a Windows computer; however, anyone with a bit of IT knowledge and experience can find the files – so this isn’t a bullet proof method for hiding a file from absolutely everyone.

If you are looking for a truly secure method to hid a file on a USB flash drive then a paid-for-product will be your better solution, you might want to check out some Secure Flash Drives by this company.

But in the meantime, if you need a quick solution, or you don’t want to spend money on a product, today’s article will work fine.

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