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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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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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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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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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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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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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How To: Copy Protect Digital Photo on USB Flash Drive

I want to copy protect a digital photo on a USB flash drive. The answer wasn’t as obvious as I had hoped, but I did find it.

Below is the process I used to get what I needed.

The first thing I want to emphasize is that I want to protect a digital copy of a photo rather than a physical copy of a photo.

So, how to prevent a digital photo from being copied from a USB flash drive is a difficult question to answer. My first thought is about the medium I intend to use to send a digital photo to someone.

  • Do I offer a download link?
  • Do I send them a digital copy on a storage device like a portable hard drive or USB flash drive?
  • Do I provide them a weblink to view the file from a hosted server?

The more I considered a delivery method, the more questions I had.

My first thought was to host the photo on a private webpage. Only users with access to the page could view the photo.

This isn’t going to work. I realized that once the viewer is on the page and viewing the photo, they can save it or screen capture it. After that, they could share the digital photo with whoever they wanted. There isn’t much protection here.

My next thought was to put the digital photo in a password-protected zip file. That is a good idea. The photo can only be viewed by someone who knows the password.

Oh wait, that doesn’t work either. I end up with the same problem as the hosted webpage. Once the file is accessed, the user can do anything they want.

So it occurs to me… I keep returning to an encryption solution rather than a copy protection solution. Encryption is useful because only those with the correct password can access the photo; however, it is not the same as my ultimate goal, which is to copy protect a digital photo and prevent it from being copied.

I guess you can say encryption is a way of keeping the honest people… well, honest.

I need a way to protect my photo regardless of the recipient’s intent. I realized I needed a solution in which everyone can see the photo but no one can do anything with it. Is it even possible to find such a solution?

When I was talking with a neighbor who is an IT guy, he mentioned a concept that I’d heard of before but didn’t apply to my thinking. Rather than a digital method of sending the photo, he proposed a type of physical dongle that held the photo. He explained that without the physical device, viewing the photo is impossible.

The lightbulb went on!

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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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How Long Does A USB Flash Drive Last?

  1. Can you freeze a USB flash drive?
  2. Will a USB flash drive survive the washing machine?
  3. Can a USB flash drive survive getting wet?
  4. How long does a USB flash drive last?
  5. Why is a USB flash drive so durable?

How long does a USB flash drive last?

#1 – Can you freeze a USB flash drive?

Yes, if a USB drive is frozen it will work and will work immediately without need of defrosting it. Nerdy details below.

#2 – Will a USB flash drive survive the washing machine?

Yes, a USB flash drive will survive a washing machine; however, it is recommended to let the flash drive dry for 24 hours before trying to use it. Nerd details below.

#3 – Can a USB flash drive survive getting wet?

Yes, a USB flash drive will survive getting wet; however, it is recommended to let the flash drive dry for 24 hours before trying to use it. Nerd details below.

#4 – How long does a USB flash drive last?

Data on a USB flash drive could last forever if setup correctly and stored correctly. However the real-world answer depends on a couple things: What type of NAND flash memory? SLC, MLC or TLC and also how the device is stored between now and eternity. The nerd details are below but if you want a USB flash drive to last a realy long time you need to setup the device correct A) write protect it and you can’t leave it out in the elements B) don’t expose it to extreme tempuratures.

#5 – Why is a USB flash drive so durable?

A USB flash drive, or thumb drive, is made up of NAND memory. The unique thing about NAND memory is the ability for it to store data without elelecticty being required to flow through it.

The technical (nerdy) details about the above questions.

A quick recap about traditional storage memory. In very simply terms your computer uses a hard drive and uses RAM. The hard drive (at least the old’en days) uses a magnetic disk to store data. The magnetic platter(s) inside the hard drive hold positive and negative charges. The + and – equal the binary zero and ones – because of the charge state the hard drive could “remember” data without needing power.

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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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How To: Add USB Flash Drive to Roku TV Getting Pause and Rewind Features

It is not difficult to get some premium functionality from Roku TV like pause and rewind by simply adding a USB flash drive to your setup

You will need to configure the Roku TV and the flash drive to work together, but it’s not hard to do.

To get close to 90 minutes of pause or rewind time you will want to use a 16GB or larger flash drive. So using something small like a 2GB or 4GB USB drive, probably isn’t worth the effort.

The other caveat is that the pause function is only available on the live TV input, limiting you to whatever’s coming over your antenna or cable connection.

So if the above sounds like something worth trying, let us show you the way:

What you’ll need:

  • Roku Smart TV (not the dongle or box). Said another way, a Smart TV with the Roku app.
  • Live TV input (usually either antenna or cable)
  • Roku TV remote control (standard with Roku purchase)
  • A 16GB or larger flash drive. Can be either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0

Once you’ve selected your flash drive be sure nothing is on the USB stick. This process will format the drive and remove any files you have on the drive.

Getting Started

Locate a USB port on your Smart TV. Any port will work. These will be found on the back side of your Smart TV. Connect the flash drive to a USB port.

Going to your Roku home screen and move the cursor until you are highlighting the LIVE TV option. This will be a tile on the home screen.

Don’t click LIVE TV, but rather get into the Options menu of Roku. You can either click the Gear button on the Roku remote, or you can press the Home button on the remote five times.

roku tv remote with gear, setting, button

In the Options menu select the “Set up Live TV Pause” and follow the on-screen instructions. Part of those instructions will include formatting a USB flash drive so Roku can sync with the flash memory for pause and rewind features.

Roku software will ask you to confirm the formatting process via a pin. This is only to make sure you think before you format because once you format the drive, any old data on the USB stick will be gone!

roku tv format usb flash drive

Done

Once live TV pause is enabled, you will be able to pause live television using the play/pause button on the Roku remote. You can also rewind up to (about) 90 minutes of live TV. This gives you plenty of time to have a nice family dinner while the Roku is on pause… then come back to finish the show.

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This USB Stick Can Backup Your Phone Pics

There are two popular methods to get large videos off your iPhone.

The most common problem is having a large video on your iPhone which you need on your computer. Email programs usually limit a file size at 20MBs, so if the file is larger, what can you do?

There are two popular options which come to mind: Use QuickTime or Use a USB flash drive.

Option #1

Use QuickTime. Macs already have QuickTime built into the OS, but Windows users must install it. Before deciding this as your best route to get large videos off your iPhone here is a list of things to consider:

  • You must backup your iPhone on QuickTime before you access the video
  • You need your computer (an authoized computer) to perform the backup
  • Windows user smust download and install QT
  • QuickTime is an invasive program which most Windows users will not like
  • Not a “portable” way to get the videos off your iPhone
  • However, this is a free solution!

Option #2

Use a flash drive.

Yes, you need to buy a specific flash drive, but after this investment it’s infinitely easier to get videos off your iPhone. Some advantages worth considering:

  • Get large videos off your phone without a PC
  • Share the videos immediately to another user’s PC
  • External storage device for backups of those videos

Point number one is really the value in all this {wink}.

Yes, you need to make a purchase of a product so you won’t be able to make the transfer ‘right now’ but will be able to once you have the USB device.

Specific USB drives have software which work with the iOS allowing the download of files from the phone to the drive. The one tested is the SanDisk iXpand flash drive at 128GB capacity and will cost about $40ish dollars.

The process is very straight forward.

  • Download the iXpand app from the Apple app store
  • Connect the flash drive to your iPhone
  • Select what file you want to transfer, that’s it
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