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.
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:
This how to tutorial describes a simple way to check for bad sectors on a USB flash drive. The instructions below will also fix any bad sectors, if possible, during the scanning process.
A bad sector on a flash drive is a portion of memory on the flash drive which cannot be accessed, written to, or read from and therefore cannot be used. A bad sector on a flash drive sounds easy enough to diagnose, but it’s important to know there are two types of bad sectors: hard and soft.
Physical damage to a USB flash drive will create a hard bad sector. A hard bad sector cannot be repaired or fixed and is typically induced from physical abuse. A good example: leaving a flash drive in your pocket and it went through the wash, or the device was dropped and hit the ground is such a way, physical damage happened to the memory.
A soft bad sector on a flash drive are memory logic problems. A soft bad sector can occur from a software or data error during the write process. In lower quality flash drives, it is possible the incorrect firmware was written into the USB controller ROM and thus creates instability via soft bad sectors.
Bad sectors cannot be repaired; however soft bad sectors can be repaired.
The soft bad sectors can be fixed by using the CHKDSK utility in the Windows operating system. This same utility will also flag any hard bad sectors not to be used again, and of course not repaired.
Some signs of a bad sector on a flash drive include:
- Cannot read a file on the flash drive
- A file location is no longer available
- Unable to format the USB flash drive
- A disk read error occurs during operation
In our opinion, run the check disk one time to see if your issue is resolved, but if subsequent scans are required, we recommend discarding the flash drive to avoid further issues.
Running the chkdsk scan is really easy:
Insert flash drive to computer
Using Windows Explorer navigate to the drive letter
In the Explorer window type cmd and press enter
Once inside the command line utility type chkdsk d: /f /r /x and click Enter. NOTE: *The letter d represents the drive letter of the flash drive.
- The /f parameter tells CHKDSK to fix any errors it finds.
- The /r parameter tells Windows to repair/restore bad sectors (if possible).
- The /x parameter unmounts any “handles” to the drive or said another way, this step will not allow any other resource to access the flash drive during the scan.
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)
In File Explorer type: cmd
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
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:
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 is truly designed for one thing:
Hold USB Flash Drive In DVD Case
This is a brilliant solution which after viewing the video you will say: “this should have come out years ago!”
This is the least expensive, yet most secure way to hold a USB flash drive in a DVD case.
The era of CD and DVD is coming to a close with USB flash drives taking its place. Yet many CD and DVD duplication facilities have shelves and shelves of DVD jewel cases which they need to put to good use. This DVD-to-USB-Insert card is the quick, easy and cheap solution. The insert allows users to keep their DVD case and related jewel case artwork to remain the same, but now secure a USB flash drive inside the DVD case, rather than an optical disc.
So many businesses enjoy the DVD case because the DVD case is a great storage box. The case is a good size with a thick spin to print what the contents in the DVD case are.
Continue this same “library” methodology with the DVD-to-USB-Insert card.
In case you can’t see, or didn’t see, the video posted above the solution will hold two USB flash drives in a DVD case. The DVD-to-USB-Insert is a thick 0.65mm clear plastic which is the same diameter as a DVD. However, the clear plastic has two rectangles which are inverted to hold just about any sized USB flash drive. This solution will fit two USB flash drives into a single DVD case. The two rectangles are the same size and as said, will fit darn nearly all USB sticks with a size that is 3″ long by 3/4″ wide and a depth of 3/8″ ( for you metric folks, that is 76mm long, 21mm wide and 9.5mm deep).
The clear plastic has a hole in the center the same size as a DVD disc and will snap into the “holder” of the DVD case. Using any DVD case on the market you can easily hold a USB flash drive inside a DVD case. The video shows how secure the USB flash drive is when inside the DVD case. The flash drive will not fall out during shipping or transit.
To be clear, the DVD-to-USB-Insert is only the clear plastic that holds the USB flash drive using the nipple snap that holds the DVD. The DVD case itself is not sold with this solution because the assumption is you (the user) already have stock or inventory of the DVD case itself.
This solution to hold a USB flash drive in a DVD case does not infringe on any patents from other manufacturers who use alternate solutions to secure a flash drive inside a DVD type case.
Please contact USB Copier for more details. This is a USB duplication service company.
Did you know Windows 10 has a speed test feature you can easily run from the CMD prompt?
This feature is what many USB flash drive speed test applications call upon during their operation. Rather than download some software utility off the internet, which only god knows what virus could be lurking inside, just use the Windows tool.
In addition to avoiding the possibility of a virus from a internet download, this tool is a standardized feature everyone has. In the event you are having performance issues you are trying to report to a flash drive manufacturer, this tool gives you both the same code to perform USB flash drive speed tests without having different applications giving varied results.
Every flash drive manufacturer claims a particular read and write speed of their flash drive and this is a great tool to verify what you purchased is what you received. It’s been said manufacturers will manipulate their computer environment to optimize the performance and use those optimized results as their marketing material. This could be true when a manufacturer is trying to determine the maximum performance, so let’s take a look now at benchmarking a standard environment.
The read and write speed of a flash drive will depend on the USB port one is using during the test. You will see a performance difference between a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 device that is connected to a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 socket on your computer. So take note about what you are doing!
After you’ve connected the USB drive to your USB port, take note of which technology they are, and be sure no data is on your drive. Although this Windows utility did not remove our data during testing, one can never be too sure.
In Windows type CMD into the search field.
Please be sure to use the Ctrl + Shift keys when you click the Enter key. This will run the command prompt at the Administrator level. You want to run this at the Admin level because if you don’t, a separate window will pop up during the testing process and immediately disappear with the process is done… taking the speed test results with it!
Once you’ve opened the command prompt at the Admin level, type the following:
winsat disk -drive d (where d is drive letter)
Windows will perform it’s task and should take about one minute to complete. The results will be printed out in the console window once everything is complete. Take note from our example below. This is a 64GB drive which we connected to both a USB 2.0 socket and a USB 3.0 socket. You can see the performance difference.
The information you want are:
- > Disk Sequential 64.0 Read
- > Disk Sequential 64.0 Write
Nice feature, right? Free and immediately available.
For those who don’t want to go this far, you could always take a large file, say 100MBs or larger and drag-and-drop this to your USB flash drive for speed testing. Just look at the copy process window and you’ll get a fairly good idea of device speed.
It’s important to remember flash drive media does not copy at sustained transfer speeds. The speed process does move around during the copy process; however, the read process is more stable and should happen at a more sustained transfer speed. We’ve seen drives drop down to 1MB/second for a short bit, before jumping back up to 30+MB/second write speed.
It seems the Microsoft updates are endless for Windows 10. Most users don’t bother with reading the notes about what has changed or been updated, myself included.
Today we noticed the eject feature in the Windows toolbar for quickly unmounting USB flash drives.
This isn’t breaking news. Simply a post about a feature you might not have noticed.
How to quickly eject a USB flash drive in Windows:
Click the access arrow in your tool bar
Hover over the USB icon and click
Your list of connected devices will show up. Hover over the USB flash drive device you want to Eject and click it.
That’s it. Your USB flash drive is now ejected.
Turning off Windows Updates permanently isn’t difficult. All you do is this:
In the search box of Windows type: services.msc
From the list shown, select: Windows Update
After you double click to open the Windows Update settings, use the drop down menu and select: Disable
Click Apply and then OK and you are done!
If you like pictures more… here they are:
Roll Play Scenario:
- Windows: Sound of connected a USB flash drive to Windows…
- User: Ah yes… let’s get to work!
- Windows: The Windows sound of a disconnected USB device…
- User: Oh no, what’s happening?
A quick Google search and here we are… let’s take a look:
Here are five legitimate reasons your USB drive might be disconnecting from your Windows computer.
1. Running on Battery
Windows OS is set at default to power down USB ports when running from a battery. The power down process usually doesn’t happen until 10-15 into a stalled USB port, but maybe your setting is different. So worth checking… but first… plug in your laptop and see if the problem is resolved.
To check your USB power setting do this:
Search for Control Panel and click Enter
In the Control Panel click the Hardware and Sound link
From here (might be slightly different for everyone) click the Change battery settings and further click Change plan settings and then you’ll see an Change advanced power settings option. Click the Change advanced power settings you can scroll around to find the USB devices and adjust your power there.
2. Faulty USB Port
The number one reason for why a USB device doesn’t work is the physical USB port on the host computer. A laptop generally has only 3 or 4 ports and those ports get a lot of action. With a tower PC, the front USB ports on the bezel also get most the action. Question: When you insert the USB device can you wiggle it around? Was there very little tension or pressure when connecting the USB device? If the device wiggles, or extremely easy to insert… you might have a physically bad USB socket.
This article will help you view Linux files on a flash drive when connected to a Windows 10 computer. This is a more common problem than you might think. In 2020, the percentage of computer users who use Linux is just above 25% of all computer users? This implies you will eventually receive a USB flash drive which was formatted and used in Linux to save files. If you are a Windows user and currently in this situation, here is your help.
Linux may use FAT32 or exFAT to format a flash drive, but the default would be either ext2, ext3 or ext4.
In Windows, when a USB is formatted as the ext type, Windows will ask to format the drive. Do not do this if there is data on the drive you are trying to access. (Previous article on best way to format USB drives)
The solution to resolve the Windows request to format the drive, and see the Linux files on the drive is do the following:
This first tip might not be “required” but it is highly recommended.
In the Search field of Windows type Control Panel and click Enter
This will take you to the Control Panel.
Click Programs and then click Turn Windows features on and off
In the dialog box which pops up, you’ll need to scroll down most of the way when locking for
This topic is brought up today because we hear some Users have issues understanding this point. The partition size inside an image file does matter. The question we will answer today is why it matters.
Let us start off with two simplified overviews. First, all storage devices use a partition to define it’s characteristics. A storage device has a file system, like FAT32 or exFAT or NTFS and that file system has a defined size or digital capacity. These characteristics, and some others, are laid out in the partition.
Second, an image file is the above partition with all its detail, the file system, defined capacity along with all the actual files and folders on that partition and put into a single file or .img file.
For a non-technical person, let me use a puzzle as an example.
- The puzzle box is equivalent to the physical device.
- The plastic bag inside the puzzle box, holding all the pieces, is the image file.
- Print on the puzzle box indicating the number of pieces, is the partition.
- The puzzle pieces inside the box are equivalent to the data.
Okay, so at this point we know the image file (.img) is the bag which holds all the puzzle pieces and the data are all the bits inside the bag. So let’s address the question of this post, “Why does the partition size matter inside an image file?”
Back to the puzzle box. As with any puzzle, the outside of the box lists the number of pieces. In this example, we can use the number of pieces printed on the outside of the box as the partition table size. If the physical box size is, let us say, 8″ x 11″ then it’s totally logical that a 1,000 piece puzzle would fit inside. In fact, it is logical to say even a 20 piece puzzle will fit inside the box. But, could a 5,000 piece puzzle fit inside this box?
From the three scenarios above, one doesn’t work, right? The scenario where the box says there are 5,000 puzzle pieces in a box that is physically to small.
Partitions are the same.
The situation which doesn’t work, is when the print on the outside of the puzzle is telling you the number of pieces inside the box are clearly more than what the physical box can handle.
Said another way, you cannot use a partition table size of 4GBs and try to have the image file fit on a USB stick that has only 1GB of storage space. Even if the image file itself is only 1GB large of actual data. Just like the puzzle, no matter what is printed on the outside of the box, if the number of pieces are larger than what can fit inside the box… it just doesn’t work.
Here is a real-world example: You can download this IMG file which is only 40MB large. The IMG itself has a 4GB partition inside it. As long as you write out the IMG file to a flash drive that is 4GBs or larger, everything will work. If you try and write out the IMG file to something smaller, like a 2GB stick, it won’t work.
Windows is very smart. All versions of Windows (from 7 and higher) will take a look at the total available memory and compare that to the partition table size. If Windows sees the partition table is larger than the available memory of the device, she won’t let you do anything with the device… other than format it. Once the drive is formatted, Windows will automatically rewrite the partition table to fit the amount of available memory. In this example, Windows would format the drive to become a 2GB stick… not a 4GB stick.
Why does Windows do this?
They want to eliminate fraud. Windows 7 was introduced in 2009 and before that, the only OS was WindowsXP. Well, Windows XP didn’t have the capability to compare partition tables to available memory. The result was fraud. Many would sell some larger GB capacity drive… like at the time 32GB, but only 4GB of real, usable, memory was there. The user would run out of memory space long before the “printed capacity” of the drive was reached.
If you found this article; maybe there is a situation where an image file is not working when written out to a USB flash drive? If this is the case, be sure to check your partition table compared to the amount of physical memory available. The easiest way to check, would be mounting the IMG file on your computer and check Properties for the partition size. Keep in mind, the default “Mount” command in Windows doesn’t work. You need something like this.
When trying to format a flash drive in Windows (7 or 10) you will see the file system options best suited for the device. The proper file systems for a flash drive would be: FAT, FAT32 or exFAT. Windows will also list NTFS for a flash drive, but not the best for a USB stick, as mentioned before. The file system types listed by the Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) will depend on the GB capacity of the flash drive connected.
So why no UDF file system on the list?
First, let me say it IS possible for Windows to format a flash drive as UDF (Universal Disk Format). Microsoft just doesn’t want you to do it; and there are good reasons why.
Before the reasons given for not using UDF as a format on flash drives, let’s clear one thing up: If you think formatting a flash drive as UDF will make the thumb drive appear as an optical drive in the computer – you are mistaken!
From the Wikipedia page about Universal Disk Format, UDF, the specification is governed by the Optical Storage Technology Association and because of that, many believe a UDF anything will work like a disc. It, UDF, is most widely used for DVDs and newer optical disc formats, can be used on flash drives, but does make it operate like one.
If we take out the hope of formatting a USB with a UDF file system, some may feel the Universal Disk Format means the flash drive will work in anything, such as from Windows, to Mac, to Linux, Symbian and/or to proprietary system. The truth here is exFAT will do just the same. Please keep that in mind.
So why not format a USB as UDF in Windows? Here is a list:
- The lack of fully-functional filesystem check tools.
- 64GB limit with Windows & Linux, a bug, not a limit of UDF
- SD and USB mass storage devices are exposed to quick wear-leveling failure
- UDF is read-only for Windows XP
Without bogging down this post with ultra-technical information, from the above list, the most important to consider is the first, lack of filesystem check tools.
This means if the USB is pulled out while in operation and a bit is affected by the action, there are no tools to check the file system for errors. You are flying the dark as to why the USB no longer works and there are no tools available to help you figure it out. Given the flash drive was specifically designed to be portable and quick access, the above action is most certainly going to happen sooner or later, which makes UDF a high risk file system.
How to format a flash drive as UDF:
Connect the USB to your computer and note the assigned drive letter