Using the “Imagine with Meta AI tool, we have not found the correct prompts to generate a realistic looking USB flash drive. This is the best we’ve come up with. If someone is having success creating an AI version of a USB flash drive, please let us know! (gmo [at] getusb [dot] info)
Encrypting a USB flash drive is quick and easy in Windows 10. The PRO version of Windows 10 will allow anyone to activate Microsoft’s built in bitlocker technology to encrypt an entire flash drive, or part of a USB flash drive.
Microsoft BitLocker is a disk encryption technology designed to enhance data security by encrypting entire disk volumes on Windows operating systems. Introduced with Windows Vista and included in subsequent versions, BitLocker provides a robust defense against unauthorized access and data breaches.
The primary purpose of BitLocker is to protect sensitive data in case a device is lost, stolen, or accessed by an unauthorized user. It uses full-disk encryption to secure the entire contents of a disk, including the operating system, system files, and user data. Even if someone physically removes the hard drive and attempts to access it on another system, the data remains inaccessible without the proper authentication credentials.
BitLocker employs various encryption methods, with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) being a commonly used algorithm.
The encryption process is transparent to the user once configured, and access is granted through authentication methods like PINs and passwords.
Below are nine screen shots and simply follow along in your Windows 10 Pro computer and do what you see below. The process is very easy to do. The longest part of this entire setup is the encryption of the USB stick itself. The time required to encrypt the drive will depend on a couple of factors, such as the GB capacity of the USB drive and the processing power of your computer. In the example below, using a USB 2.0 device with a 16GB capacity the encryption time took only 4 minutes.
Is it worth buying a USB 3.1 USB flash drive?
The tech industry, tech nerds and tech blogs will definitely say that buying a USB 3.1 flash drive is worth it. After all, these blogs need something new to write about and new links to generate for affiliate advertising, but are these blogs reporting back valuable information before someone spends their hard earned cash?
Let us compare the write speed difference between a USB 3.1 flash drive and a USB 3.0 flash drive to see what information we can uncover.
Universal Serial Bus (USB) has different transfer speeds based on the version of technology, we did a write about that earlier. The USB 3.1 specification has a transfer rate which taps out at 1,250 MB/second (Megabytes per second). The USB 3.0 specification has a transfer rate which taps out at 625MB/second. Of course this is the theoretical maximum transfer speed. When anyone says “theoretical transfer speed” they are implicating all conditions are ideal. For example, the host computer has the horsepower and bandwidth to push that much data and the receiving device (in this case, flash drive) has equal throughput to receive that data. But is that the real world – is it worth buying a USB 3.1 USB flash drive?
Below are some images and here is the general order of what you will be reading:
- Screen shots of the USB device type (USB 3.0 and USB 3.1)
- Screen shots of benchmark software testing both USB technologies
- Screen shots of a real-world copy jobs using a Windows computer
From the screen shots below you can see a USB 3.0 flash drive and USB 3.1 flash drive. Both flash drives use an SMI controller for the USB 3.0 and 3.1 technology. These are the same high quality and higher performance controllers seen in iPhones and NAND memory used from Micron Technology. The NAND memory type is MLC (multi-layer cell memory) is slower than SLC NAND memory (single layer cell). Note: USB flash drives do not use SLC memory because the NAND memory price is too expensive and the SLC supply is very small. Flash drives are produced at mass scale and meant to be a low cost data transfer and storage tools – speed is not the #1 priority, despit all the marketing we read online.
Here are benchmark speed tests for both USB devices in discussion today.
The program has two test settings for benchmarking a speed test. One test setting is for the theoretical maximum speed of the device and writes data directly to memory without accounting for operating system and device overhead for were the data is stored. Think of this as a random write test to any available sector on the flash drive.
The second test setting is a write sequence which includes the operating system and device overhead cache for placing files in the file allocation table. This means extra time is spend during the data transfer to log where each sector is written along with the calculation required to write the next bit of data. This second test setting is more like a real-world experience.
Speed benchmark software is designed to provide a relatively quick summary of the device capability. So the first test setting is designed to show the theoretical maximum write speed or “burst” write speed. The second test setting is designed to show a more “sustained” write speed. Any benchmark software is designed to provide a quick and easy snap-shot of what the device can do – but can the device do it?
Readers can download the USB Scrub software for speed benchmarking their flash drives. The software is 100% free, no installation or sign-ups, and includes other cool features like registry cleaning and making image files of flash drives. USB Scrub download link
IronKey is the bell-weather for encrypted flash drives. The company, owned by Kingston Digital, a Southern California based private company, uses hardware encryption chips with their USB flash drives which provide the highest level of security known to mass storage devices.
GetUSB.info came across an amazing story by Wired Magazine about how one of the authors at Wired sent an IronKey to a hacking company called Unciphered in Seattle Washington to see if they could access the drive. The did.
This is not an easy task to accomplish. IronKey uses encryption to safeguard important data with FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified, FIPS 197 certified and XTS-AES 256-bit encryption. The solution allows for 10 tries before the USB controller wipes the device clean of any data. So there is a big risk-reward for using the device and losing the password to the device.
However, Unciphered developed a method to allow more attempts than just 10. It is not entirely clear how many attempts Unciphered is able to apply, but it’s more than 10.
Why is this significant, other than the fact IronKey may now have a security issue on their hands? It is well known in early 2021, a report of just over 7,000 Bitcoin were stranded in an IronKey flash drive due to a forgotten password. The owner, Programmer Stefan Thomas, did not utilize the Enterprise Management Service for password recovery. The 7000 bitcoin is currently (as of Oct 2023) worth over $235 million dollars.
To give Wired Magazine their due credit, read the full story by Andy Greenberg.
Users can turn disable USB flash drive pop up messages in Windows 10 by performing a very simple step in Settings. While it may seem counterproductive to turn off USB notifications in Windows 10, once you’ve been using Windows for a while you will likely want to reduce the number of pop-up messages.
There are two ways to disable USB flash drive messages in Windows. Performing a RegEdit or modifing a Settings feature in the Windows GUI
Disable the USB flash drive pop up message via Windows Registry Edit
- Open RegEdit by typing “regedit” in the Search bar
- Navigate to: HOKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Miscrosoft\Shell\USB
- Click the USB folder on the left of the screen to highlight the registry entries for \USB\
- On the right side of screen select “NotifyOnUsbErrors” by clicking on it
- Right click and select “Modify”
- Set the value to “0” (zero). Zero is off, One is on
NOTE: Most users will receive a message saying they do not have privileges to modify the registry value. That is meant by design, and please see the comments at the end of this article for why.
Disable the USB flash drive pop up message via Settings
- Type “settings” in the Seach bar of Windows
- Select “Devices”
- Select the USB tab near/at the bottom on left
- Uncheck “Notify me if there are issues connecting USB devices
The second method via Settings is the preferred method because changing registry entries is not recommended unless the user is very experienced with computers. Windows 10 does a good job of not allowing users make registry changes that would crash their computer or brick the operating system, but the risk is still there.
If you received some sort of permissions message when attempting our regedit method, I would stay away from trying to resolve that security message. The reason Miscrosoft locks downt he registry in certain areas is to provide a more secure computer system for the user and reduce potential risk of malware or hackers getting control of your computer.
Over the years, numerous reports have come out about how hackers will expose certain USB protocols to insert malware or take control of a system. The registry is the main point of focus for hackers.
If you are persistent about changing the registry entries the first thing you can try is running RegEdit as Administrator. If that doesn’t resolve your issue then you may Google search for your specific error message and see if another website offers up a solution.
Microsoft has not made an official announcement on why the option to format FAT32 is no longer available for devices 64GB in capacity and above.
In both Windows 10 and Windows 11 the format option given by Windows is either NTFS (New Technology File System) or exFAT (Extended File System). The option to format FAT32 is no long available in Windows.
Without an official announcement from Microsoft we can only speculate the reason is do to single file sizes averaging a larger size as of 2023.
The largest single file size supported by the FAT32 file system is 4GB. This is due to the limitations of the file system’s design. FAT32 uses a 32-bit file allocation table, which means it can address up to 4,294,967,295 clusters. Since each cluster in FAT32 is typically 4KB in size, the maximum file size is limited to 4GB (4,294,967,295 clusters multiplied by 4KB per cluster).
If you need to store files larger than 4GB, you will need to use a different file system that supports larger file sizes, such as NTFS (New Technology File System), exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table), or others. NTFS, in particular, is commonly used in modern Windows operating systems and supports much larger file sizes, making it suitable for storing large files and operating system installations.
We speculate, to reduce customer inquiries or complaints to Microsoft they have eliminated the option of FAT32 to any device of 64GBs or larger in capacity. The reason is that a user will receive an error message from the device when an attempt to copy a single file of 4GBs or larger to a FAT32 device. To reduce the frequency of error messages, by formatting the device as exFAT will eliminate this error.
The ExFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) file system supports significantly larger file sizes compared to FAT32. The maximum file size supported by ExFAT is a staggering 16 exabytes (EB), which is equivalent to 16 million terabytes (TB) or 16 billion gigabytes (GB). This vast file size limit allows for storing extremely large files, such as high-resolution videos, large databases, or disk images.
ExFAT was specifically designed to overcome the limitations of FAT32, including the maximum file size restriction. It is commonly used in various devices and operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and some embedded systems, for handling large files and providing interoperability between different platforms.
It’s important to note that while ExFAT supports large file sizes, the actual maximum file size might be limited by the specific implementation or the capabilities of the storage medium itself.
If the above information was helpful, please consider looking at some advanced flash drives offered by Nexcopy. Advanced functions include USB copy protection, USB write protection, USB CD-ROM, and HIPAA compliant flash drives. These functions are done at the hardware level and are universal solutions.
I asked ChatGPT to Write a Thriller with a Flash Drive Holding the Secrets – Here is What Happened Next
Me: ChatGPT – Would you be so kind to write a five paragraph thriller novel about international espionage where a USB flash drive is used to hid secrets from the KBG.
As a renowned international spy, Sasha had faced countless challenges and dangers. But nothing had prepared her for the mission she had been tasked with. She was to retrieve a USB flash drive that held vital information about the KBG’s plans to launch a massive cyberattack on the United States. The stakes were high, and the clock was ticking.
Sasha knew the risks involved in such a mission, and she was willing to go to any lengths to complete it. She flew to Moscow under the guise of a journalist and managed to sneak into the KBG’s headquarters. The flash drive was heavily guarded, and Sasha knew she had to act fast. With her quick reflexes and stealthy moves, she managed to grab the drive and slip away unnoticed.
But the KBG wasn’t going to let go of their secrets so easily. Sasha soon found herself on a secret plane bound for Washington DC, with KBG agents hot on her heels. With time running out, she had to come up with a plan to keep the flash drive out of their hands.
As the plane took off, Sasha felt a sense of relief. She had managed to outsmart the KBG and keep the flash drive safe. But her relief was short-lived when she realized that the flash drive was corrupted, and she couldn’t access the information it held. Someone had tampered with it.
Sasha knew she had to act fast to uncover the truth. She suspected that there was a mole within her agency who had sabotaged the mission. She had to find the mole before it was too late. With the clock ticking and danger lurking around every corner, Sasha set out on a perilous journey to uncover the truth and protect her country from a devastating cyberattack.
As Sasha raced against time, she found herself embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse. With the KBG hot on her heels, she had to stay one step ahead of them to uncover the truth. But with the fate of the country hanging in the balance, Sasha knew she had no choice but to risk everything to protect it.
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)
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.
To get a bit more information about SLC memory, please visit our original post about this back from 2006.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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).