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Rich Gates

Administator for GetUSB.info GetUSB.info started in 2004 with the concept of providing USB information for everything USB related. At the time, USB was gaining momentum and every day new products, articles and news became published. Today, the site is focused on bringing technical information, tricks and hacks to USB related products. The site does publish off topic information as well, to keep the variety up. Please visit the footer area of any page if you or your company is interested in article or product placement via purchased advertising.

Flash Drive Label – For Professionals and Businesses

Sticky labels are not a professional solution to label flash drives. Today we look at an alternative for labeling a flash drive which suits the demands of a business and/or professional.

There is a clear difference between labeling your flash drive because of personal use and the need to label a flash drive which is sold, shipped or mailed to a paying customer.

A common method to label a flash drive is with a sticky label applied to the outside of the flash drive, or a paper merchandise tag with some notes about the contents hanging from the lanyard loop. Albeit a good method for a personal flash drive, not the most professional or durable flash drive label tag when sold as a commercial product.

It is a common requirement from a company to include more information about the contents of a flash drive than what the space of a sticky label or tag will allow. In addition, the durability of said label should withstand environmental conditions which surpass the limits of a merchandise tag. Examples include:

  • Detailed instructions for how the flash drive should be used
  • Software or firmware version information (longer than sticky label space)
  • Medical compliance information about the contents
  • Audit tracking of ownership / possession (longer than sticky label space)

From the examples above, the question becomes:

What flash drive label can be used which is professional looking while having the durability and space needed to print the information required?

The best flash drive label we have found is the plastic credit card sized label offered by Nexcopy.

The CC USB Label is a white PVC plastic product which is 85mm wide by 54mm tall and 0.75mm thick with a total weight of 4 grams. The CC USB Label is printable on both sides and includes a lanyard for connecting to a USB flash drive.

The CC USB Label accepts full color print and with a white background, each color is vibrant and great contrast for users to easily read the printed information. Using an eco-solvent printer, the ink is permanent and water proof. The information printed will last in various weather conditions and environmental conditions.

Nexcopy offers their eco-solvent LOGO-EZ printer for in-house production. Nexcopy also offers print services for those not wanting to invest in a flatbed eco-solvent printer.

The credit card size and the light weight of the card make it a perfect complement as a flash drive label. With double sided print capability, a company has a great deal of space to print the information required for their product.

From the image below, one can see the flash drive label is ideal for printed bar codes for scanning during product fulfillment, shipping and receiving. Printing a more precise image like a QR code could improve user experience, such as streamlining a product registration process or direct landing page for a how-to video for product instruction.

flash drive label

The plastic PVC material is ideal for printing color logos and highlighting specific information. Having the flexibility for color print lends itself to emphasizing certain bits of information the manufacturer wants the end-user to notice.

In addition, the CC USB Label allows custom branding to match the requirements from the marketing department to ensure branding compliance is matched – getting stuck with black only printed sticky labels or merchandise tags decrease the overall perceived value of the product and could fall out of compliance of a company’s marketing guidelines.

Although some of this information sounds overkill for a flash drive label, keep in mind this solution is designed for a business or professional who might be required to provide very detailed labels for the product in which the flash drive is associated with.

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Fix: Computer Will Not Boot With USB Device Plugged In

There is nothing worse than a blank screen after pushing the power button on your computer. The heart stops, the shoulders sink and this feeling of utter despair and anxiety quickly overtake the body.

Why? Why is this happening right now! I have emails to check, orders to process, papers to submit.

It is inevitable a computer problem starts whenever you most need the computer.

A quick examination of the computer shows a flash drive sticking out of a USB port. Could this be the problem? Let me pull the USB out and restart my computer.

A few moments later you discover removing the flash drive did the trick, the computer boots up and starts, as expected. So what happened? Why will my computer not boot with a USB device plugged in?

In this scenario the explanation is very simple. When the USB is connected the operating system thinks it should boot from the flash drive, not the computer hard drive.

At one time in this USB’s life, the drive was made to be bootable and book-strap code was flashed to the device. Because the computer BIOS sees the drive and the boot code, the BIOS will instruct the computer hardware to reference the USB stick for the operating system.

This doesn’t mean any flash drive connected will force your computer to boot from a USB stick, only if the USB stick was made bootable at some point. Most flash drives are not bootable by default and have the boot-strap code to overtake the machine.

The other important point to consider,

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Port Hub for MacBook Connects via USB from Satechi

Port Hub, MacBook

Port Hub Provides Six Connection Options via USB

The Satechi Port Hub adapter extends the functionality of your M1 MacBook Pro laptop. It has all of the necessary ports, including a USB4 port, Gigabit Ethernet, a USB-C data port, two USB-A data ports, and an audio jack port. The Pro Hub Mini is the only adapter you need, with a plethora of options for fast data transfer and a modern aluminum design.

Designed to complement your MacBook ports, it includes two USB-A 3.0 data ports, one USB-C data port capable of up to 5 Gbps, Gigabit Ethernet, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The port hub features Next-Gen USB4 technology and can charge your devices at a whopping 100W. You can also benefit from data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps and video output resolutions of up to 5K/60Hz.

By connecting the hub to the Thunderbolt ports of your MacBook Pro 14 & 16 inch, 2021, you will have access to all ports. The MagSafe 3 port is still usable and recommended for fast charging. We’ve also included an audio jack port clip that will fit perfectly into your MacBook Pro 14 & 16-inch, 2021 to keep it in place.

Having designed multiple technology products this product does ask the question about the relationship between the physical connection between the port hub and the Mac computer. From the image, as I have not tested this product, it appears the physical connection of the audio jack and two USB-C connectors will make for a durable mating.

However, people do stupid things and if the collective unit gets dropped on the floor (say slips of table’s edge) and falling on the port hub, I wonder what kind of damage that fall would have on the audio jack and USB ports.

My logic is thinking it being expensive to fix the internal USB ports of the laptop, given that would be required since it’s the only digital external connection this computer has. Food for thought.

Port Hub, USB-C

Consider buying this MacBook port hub from Amazon if this article provided any bit of useful information in the buying process

Important

  • To achieve 5K video output, you’ll need a computer, a thunderbolt cable, and a 5K monitor
  • The MacBook Pro (16 inch, M1 Pro/Max, 2021)’s MagSafe 3 port can charge up to 140W
  • The USB4 port can only charge up to 100W
  • Use the MagSafe 3 port directly on the computer for faster charging
  • Charging and CD drives are not supported by USB-A ports
  • The Audio Jack Port clip is only compatible with the new MacBook Pro 14 and 16 inch models released in 2021
  • The Hub can be used with older MacBooks with USB-C, but the Audio Jack Clip will not work

Original equipment manufacturer’s product webpage can be found here which is directly from the Satechi website.

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Free USB Flash Drives For Students

USB Flash Drives are indispensable for the students.

They are a fantastic tool to store and use documents and other important data. Moreover, talk to any student and they will let you know how they carry a USB flash drive—attached to key rings, customized with colors, shapes, objects, and much more!

With a USB flash drive, you can use your computers or laptops efficiently whether you’re at home or university, or school. There may be times when you want to continue work even after school hours; therefore, carrying a USB flash drive is very handy.

With all that being said, USB flash drives can cost students a lot; especially if you’ve lost one and have to buy another. Therefore, here are a few ways you can get USB flash drives for free.

Free USBs With A Purchase

There are many computer stores, and stores for cameras, cell phones, and other tech-related things that give flash drives for free with purchases.

Itpstyli

Itpstyli is a company that makes over 1000 styli for CMM, gear measurement equipment, and machine centers. To get a flash drive for free, you have to add it to the cart and save the cart as a shopping list.

If you require help with homework or need assistance in technical disciplines, feel free to get in touch with cwassignments.com to get assignment help online from experts.

MyBioSource.com

The company sells biological reagents. If you’re in the field of biology, and need products in bulk, you can get a free USB flash drive, or even more, based on the items of your purchase. Your free flash drive will get you 8GB of storage.

You must also keep an eye on Best Buy, Tiger Direct, and NewEgg, as these tech retailers often give away tech items, including USB flash drives. They may also give away products when you refer people, share their promotional posts, subscribe to their newsletters, be a loyal online presence, or buy products from them.

Flash Drive Retailers

As you must have realized by now, there are very few stores that sell just USB flash drives. However, they do exist; and the chances of you getting a free USB flash drive from them becomes quite high. You can accomplish this through online contests, giveaways, store promos, affiliate programs, and more.

USBholic

USBholic is a Texas-based retailer that sells flash drives. You can pick a cute design from their store and choose the 4GB one. When you do so, you’ll see the price to be $0.01 per flash drive. Even though it’s not completely free, it’s close. USBholic ships flash drives to Europe, the US, Asia, and Oceania. However, please check the shipping costs to your place to see if it’s worth getting it shipped.

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Greyed Out USB Flash Drive (help)

If you have a greyed out USB flash drive this article should be able to help you resolve the issue.

The most common reason is the USB flash drive has a different file system and you simply need to format the drive. For example, Ext3, Ext4 or HFS are file systems for Linux and Mac. By formatting the USB drive it could restore the drive and it’s no longer greyed out.

please insert disk into USB drive

If this didn’t do the trick, then try the next suggestion ↓

It is possible the greyed out USB flash drive has a bad device driver. We can uninstall the drive and try re-installing the USB stick (reconnecting).

Do the following:

In the Search area type “Device Manager” and good chance Windows will auto-suggest before you are even done typing. Select Device Manager.

device manager, windows to find greyed out USB flash drive

Alternatively you can click the Windows key along with “X” and from the list select Device Manager

Win Key + X, windows to find greyed out USB flash drive

Device Manager lists things alphabetically so scroll towards the button and expand the carrot > for Universal Serial Bus controllers.

In the sub-listing you will see the Mass Storage Device and then right click that device and select Uninstall device

uninstall USB driver, greyed out USB stick

Now the device drive has been removed, please reconnect the device and see if the greyed out USB flash drive is still greyed out.

If this didn’t do the trick we have one last suggestion for you before declaring the USB stick most likely dead ↓

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Encrypt USB Flash Drive For Both Mac and Windows

Encrypt USB Flash Drive For Both Mac and Windows

This article explains how to encrypt data which can be decrypted on both a Mac and Windows computer.

Microsoft Windows accounts for almost 80% of the desktop computers with Apple OS coming in second place at about 18% market share (as of Q3, 2021) and with that in mind, it is very common for users to want encrypted data to be shared on both Mac and Windows computers. For example, the work place uses Microsoft Windows and the employee uses a Mac computer at home. To share encrypted data between these two operating systems is not straight forward. There is no installed solution from either Microsoft or Apple which provides a cross-platform encryption and decryption solution.

Two solutions are available for those who want to decrypt files for both a Microsoft Windows computer and an Apple Mac computer.

One solution is the individual user purchasing software which encrypts and decrypts software for both Mac and Windows computers.

The other solution is buying a physical drive which supports decryption on either operating system.

The second solution is more well suited for a business. This is true because the burden of purchasing software is not put on the employee or individual.

This article explains how to encrypt data which can be decrypted on both a Mac and Windows computer by using a specific USB flash drive.

The only known solution that has the following three characteristics in a product by Nexcopy. This is a company which provides feature rich USB duplicator solutions, but also provides advanced functions to flash drive, such as cross-platform encryption.

This is how the Nexcopy USB flash drive encryption solution works:

  • PC based software is used to encrypt the data
  • Included with the encrypted data are two software utilities loaded onto the flash drive
  • The utilities run from the flash drive and decrypt the data when the correct password is entered
  • The applications do not require installation, they run directly from the flash drive
  • The PCViewer.exe is the Windows based utility – no admin rights required
  • The MacViewer.app is the mac based utility – no admin rights required
  • By launching the correct utility and entering correct password the files will be decrypted and displayed on the associated operating system

Please keep in mind there is a difference between the term “encryption” and the term “copy protection.” There is a difference.

Encryption is the process of encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, for example plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. The ciphertext can only be reorganized and pieced back together from the authorized party who knows how the decipher the ciphertext back into plaintext. The important point to understand is that once the decipher has taken place, the user can do anything they want with the plaintext. The user can copy, duplicate, share, stream and screen capture that content.

Copy protection includes the process of encoding; however, has an additional layer of security whereby the user cannot do anything in addition to the content, such as copy, duplicate, share, stream and screen capture. Said another way, the files can only be viewed, but nothing else.

Encryption is a valuable technology where the content owner trusts the person with the password; however, needs security in case the USB flash drive was dropped, stolen or misplaced. Using encryption to protect the content means unauthorized users cannot access the information.

Copy protection is a valuable technology to protect the content, yet at the same time, allow many users to see the content. For example, a teacher might have valuable lessons they want all the students to see; however, they don’t want lessons to be saved or shared with other classes. This would be a good application for copy protection.

The manufacturer provides USB duplicator solutions for mass production of USB encrypted flash drives. Nexcopy also provides large scale USB duplicator solutions for copy protected flash drives. So depending on the specific needs of the individual or company, there is a solution for those who need encryption for both Windows and Mac computers.

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Eject USB Flash Drive From Windows Command Prompt Any Version

Eject USB Flash Drive safely, Free Download

Microsoft does not provide ways to eject USB flash drives with a single click, or automatically. Universal Serial Bus (USB) is the #1 method for expanding storage in Windows, yet Microsoft makes ejecting a storage device such a manual process! Frustrating to many, like you, because you are here. {wink}

Today we cover how to eject a USB flash drive in Windows using the command prompt. In addition, this article also provides a software way to eject a USB flash drive with the single click of a button. Yes, that is right, a single click!

Let us start by covering how to eject a USB drive using the command prompt.

Like mentioned above, Microsoft does not make this easy. The user must get into DiskPart, List the volumes (drives) connected, select the specific volume (drive) then eject by typing “release.”

The above commands may be performed via the command prompt, but honestly it’s a pain in the a$$ because all the typing involved and manually selecting the device. This process needs to be automated. {hint}

If you are reading this article you want to make things quick to remove USB, easy and simple.

Nexcopy solved this problem with a free utility that doesn’t require installation, doesn’t require Admin rights, and doesn’t require you to select the drive. The tool is ultra-quick and ultra-easy. In addition, anyone can bundle the free exe file into their own software to automate the process.

The free software tool is called USB Eject Button

Here is the free download link to eject USB flash drives from Windows command prompt

Below is the command prompt using a single word to eject a USB flash drive. The command is “release”

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How To Check USB Flash Drive Power Output

How to check a USB flash drive power output is fairly simple: the drive doesn’t output any power. That is the short answer.

What is really happening is the flash drive gives the host (the computer) instructions on the maximum power which should be sent to the flash drive.

So now that we understand a USB flash drive doesn’t put out power, but rather receives it, the next question becomes… how much power does the flash drive instruct it can receive?

When a USB flash drive is connected to a host computer there is something call a “device descriptor” which gives the host a long list of configuration settings. One of those device descriptors is the maximum power setting the device should receive. Now… it is 100% up to the host computer to respect that request, or not.

If you are having USB power disconnection issues it can be one of two things:

  1. The USB flash drive has too low of a power configuration setting
  2. The host is not respecting the device descriptor of the flash drive setting

99.9% of the time the host is respecting the device descriptor because the USB stock (code) to run the USB flash drives is typically well developed i.e. the USB driver is from Microsoft.

The more likely problem is the power setting of the device is set to low. If the power setting is set to low this means the host computer will monitor the power and since the USB is asking for more power than what is set in the descriptor the host computer disconnects the drive.

Below is a screen shot for the mass production tool used to make USB flash drives. As you can see the power settings available to configure the drive range from 100mA (milliaps) to 500mA. The maximum power limit for USB 2.0 is 500mA and thus should be the setting to make a USB flash drive. However, if the USB manufacturer messed up with an incorrect selection then a very good chance a 200mA flash drive is being disconnected all the time… and by no fault of the host computer!

usb flash drive power output, configure

So how do you find the power output of a flash drive? Or more accurately, what is the power consumption definition of the flash drive?

In short, there is no easy way to find this information in Windows. The easiest solution is download a 3rd party application and run the tool to see. The tool (USBDeview) is very small and runs directly as an exe file, no installation required.

Below are two screen shots.

The first screen shot is a USB flash drive set at 200mA. Clearly this device will run into disconnection issues

usb flash drive power output, to low

The second screen shot is a USB flash drive set at 500mA. This is the correct configuration of a USB flash drive for power output.

usb flash drive power output, correct

The above information is the easiest way to for USB flash drive power output for a thumb drive.

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Solved: Can’t Mount IMG File in Windows 10

The first thing to understand is that image files are a messy business. There is plenty of cross-over information and functionality between image file extension types – it is easy to get confused!

Don’t be surprised if you can’t mount an .img file in Windows 10 with their default utility – it’s a common problem and this article will help.

Windows image mount utility

Windows, disc image file is corrupt

It is important to understand not all image files are the same. Heck, not all .img files are the same. Some basics: For the term “image files” you typically see .img files and .iso file extensions and they have similar functionality and conceptually accomplish the same goal. The goal is for an image file to hold digital content, in a single file, of a file system and a its set of data. If that sentence is confusing, then maybe think of an image file this way: a zip file (but without compression).

A very quick summary explaining the difference of .img and .iso image files. An optical disc holding data is configured differently than hard drive storage space. The optical disc has data written in a linear configuration and is a digital binary copy of the ISO 9660 standard or derivative UDF standard. The ISO file extension is a single file which contains all the digital information just described.

An .img file is a digital copy of the contents of a hard drive or flash drive. Technically you can have an .img of a CD or DVD as well, but most should associate the image of a disc as ISO. An .img file is a disk image which begins with a FAT sector which is used to identify the file system and files contained inside the image file. The image file of a disc (ISO) begins with a descriptor file which describes the layout of the disc.

That last sentence is important:

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How To: Get USB Volume Serial Number and USB Device Serial Number

Using the command prompt (cmd) you can quickly and easily get the USB volume serial number and the USB device serial number. There is no computer experienced needed to perform these functions, simply type a couple letters and you will get the information!

To get the USB Volume Serial Number do the following:

Insert USB flash drive into the computer

Double click the drive letter associated with the USB flash drive (remember the drive letter as you will need this in a moment)

usb drive letter in windows explorer

In File Explorer type: cmd

cmd prompt in usb drive letter

From the command prompt type: vol d: and click Enter ( where “d” is the drive letter of the USB flash drive)

The command prompt window will return the results and look something like this:

The Volume in drive D is named “Nexcopy”

The Volume serial number is 3AAB-AA16

vol command for usb drive letter

After we explain how to get the USB device serial number we will explain the difference between the two.

To get the USB Device Serial Number do the following:

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Industrial Control System USB Flash Drive Designed For ICS Security

Industrial Control System USB Flash Drive Designed For ICS Security

The fourth industrial revolution or “Industry 4.0” is a term used to categorize today’s trend with industrial control systems (ICS) and how these machines interact with each other and humans.

The fourth era of “industry” combines hardware, software and biology and emphasizes the advancements in communication and connectivity. When the term IoT (Internet of Things) is used, this is the type of example that would apply. Industrial Control System USB Flash Drives designed for ICS security are critical to industrial systems and how they are controlled by their owners. The key when a USB flash drive is introduced into a control system, is security. Without security, one could lose control of the industrial system and ultimately introduce risks into a population or region.

Before we look closer at Industry 4.0 and data storage, let us provide a short summary of the first three phases of the industrial revolution.

First Industrial Revolution

The first industrial revolution was marked by a transition from hand production methods to machines through the use of steam power and water power. The integration of these new technologies took a long time, and spans a period between 1760 and 1840 for Europe and the United States. The first phase had the greatest impact on virtual industrial channels such as textile manufacturing, iron production, agriculture and mining (in general).

Second Industrial Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution, also known as the Technological Revolution, is the period between

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Review: Rufus The Big Misconception With ISO Files

If anyone searches for “burn ISO to USB” they will get pages and pages of Rufus links. However, there is a big misconception with Rufus… it doesn’t create USB CD-ROM drives!

The only thing Rufus does is take a bootable ISO file and write the data to a USB stick. Basically Rufus will extra the data on an ISO file and write it to the flash drive. You can do the same thing with WinRAR.

There is nothing magical about Rufus when it comes to “making a CD” because Rufus doesn’t make a “CD.”

If you need to make a USB CD-ROM flash drive the best solution found so far, is the Disc License drive. The Disc License drive is a blank USB CD-ROM flash drive. Using their Drive Wizard software (free), easily write ISO files to USB. The resultant drive will be a USB CD-ROM flash drive.

Before we get into Disc License technology, we do need to clear up some points about WinRAR and Rufus software. WinRAR will extract all the files contained in an ISO file and write them to your USB flash drive; however, if the ISO is bootable, WinRAR won’t write the boot code. This is where Rufus does shine. The Rufus software will write all the files contained in an ISO file along with the boot code to make your device bootable. With that said, there is a clear advantage for using Rufus over WinRAR.

Does Rufus burn any ISO file to USB? NO.

Does Rufus make your USB flash drive read-only, like a CD? NO.

If the ISO file isn’t bootable, there isn’t much [more] Rufus can offer. A non-bootable image will display an error message saying “This image is either non-bootable, or it uses a boot or compression method that is not supported by Rufus.”

rufus does not support iso file

Rufus is truly designed for one thing:

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