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USB Not Working – Try This

Do you have USB ports on your computer but for some reason the devices connected are not working? Or maybe your USB ports stop working after a long period of time? Don’t worry, the USB not working is [most likely] related to your computer configuration, not the ports malfunctioning. If our hunch is right, the fix is easy.  This is what we recommend checking if USB devices are not working on your computer. Lets check to see if the USB hubs and ports are set to power save when idle.  What this setting controls is the ability for a USB port to sleep if not used.  The sleep mode of the port is an effort to help your computer save energy going to connected devices that are not in use. To check the USB power setting lets do the following: Go to > START > CONTROL PANEL > SYSTEM. From here go to the Hardware Tab and click the Device Manager. Next, scroll down to the section labeled Universal Serial Bus controllers and expand it out.  Right click on the USB Hub listing and select properties.

USB not working

In the properties box, go to the power setting tab and look for the following.

USB not working

Once you’ve configured this correctly [uncheck] there is a good chance your USB devices will begin working [consistently] again. Continue Reading

How To: Format USB as NTFS File System

Format USB Stick as NTFS File System

Flash drives are getting very large in size these days, the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 sticks are getting over 256GB capacity.  With these larger sticks, the option to format the device as a NTFS file system is available, but what about the smaller USB sticks? By default, any USB stick under 4GBs in capacity will not have the Format USB as NTFS file system option, but we can fix that. Here is the How To: Format USB sticks as NTFS: Click Start > My Computer > Right click on the drive letter for the USB stick and select Properties.

format USB NTFS

Now, click the Hardware tab of the Properties pop-up window and select the drive letter of which you’d like to change.  In this case, it’s drive letter F shown as “Simple Flash Disk 2.0 USB Device“  From here click the Properties button.

format USB stick NTFS

The next step is click the Policies tab and Continue Reading

USB Hot Plate From Old CPU

Here is a simple and incredibly fun USB hack where you turn an old CPU into a hot plate for your coffee, tea or some liquid fragrance [in a dish].

USB hot plate

This very useful USB hack can be done in 4 steps.
  • Step 1) Tools and Materials
1. A dead CPU. (Ofcourse you can use a working one but it won’t be feasible.) 2. A USB cable 3. A Fan grill with screws. 4. Any box (I used a wooden tie box cover) 5. A rotary Tool (the best tool ever invented) 6. Epoxy 7. A creative artistic mind…[continute]
  • Step 2) The Idea
A CPU will still have some working electronic circuits even if it stopped functioning probably. And this project will use the heat generated by running some Volts in the CPU through a USB cable.  First things first. Be Very Careful. Connecting a malfunctioning CPU to your computer may and will damage your computer’s ports or even worse. If you don’t have enough…[continue]
  • Step 3) The Steps
First, prepare the base. You have to find a thin box or a box cover to use as the base of the plate. I used a tie box cover made of wood because it has the same thickness as my laptop. Now put the CPU over the base you picked and mark a square to drill with your rotary device. The square must be a little bit bigger than the CPU. The reason behind the bigger hole…[continue]
  • Step 4) Preparing the hot plate
locate the ground pins in your CPU and that can be done by reviewing the CPU data sheet or simply by the devastating trial and error. Cut the USB wire and pass it through the hole you made previously in the base. Strip the USB cable and locate the black and red weirs (black wire = ground, Red wire = +5V). You can cut out the white and green data weirs for more space…[continue] Clearly this tutorial is from Instructables…Thanks Eric! Continue Reading

Old Tech For New Gadgets — USB Fan

MSN did a nice article today about 9 new tech gadgets you can make with the stash of old stuff you probably have laying around.  One which fits into the USB category, is this USB fan. Retro and cool looking, you can put together a nice desk fan with just an old tower or power supply fan along with solder and USB connector.

USB fan

Other new tech gear from old gadgets include a stone age cell phone tricked into a portable safe.  Scanner table where you can display items under the glass cover of the scanner and a USB mouse turned up-side-down and carved out for a plant holder. Not the most impressive conversion, but a fun article to read on your break or lunch hour. MSN 9 Uses for Dead Tech GearContinue Reading

USB Recycle Bin For Flash Drives

iBin is a portable application designed for USB stick so users can restore files which have been accidentally deleted.  Since Windows does not redirect a deleted file off the OS into the Recycle Bin, once a user clicks delete, it’s gone forever [well unless you use restore tools to get it back], but iBin resolves that problem.

iBin recycle bin

iBin puts your deleted files in a container on the USB drive itself and sits quietly until your custom flash drive gets to capacity, then you’ll need to do a bit of house cleaning. iBin includes a collection of management features to set the preferences of the iBin.  Items such as confirmation of where to put the “deleted” file, iBin size, how to erase and when to dump the iBin data.

ibin usb delete

All in all, this is an excellent application for users to add one additional layer of safety for the delete button. This is a Windows based product and runs on all OS’ from Microsoft, including Windows 7. Continue Reading

How To: Turn Off USB Auto Play in Windows 7

How To: Turn off USB Autoplay in Windows 7

Windows 7 is much like XP in accessing the feature to turn off the USB auto play function.  We don’t have a Window’s 7 machine, but I did find a great tutorial from DemoGeek.  Here is the info you need to turn off USB Auto Play in Windows 7. Go to:  START > SEARCH > type “group policy” From there Windows 7 will narrow down your options, select the “Edit group policy” option.  Should be the first one listed.

autoplay windows 7

From here, it’s virtually the same as Windows XP. Go to: > COMPUTER CONFIGURATION > ADMINISTRATIVE TEMPLATES > WINDOWS COMPONENTS > AUTOPLAY POLICIES With having “AutoPlay Policies” highlighted, you will see on the right side of the dialogue box, “Turn off Autoplay” option.  Click That!

turn off autoplay usb

On the dialogue box which pops up, select the “Disable” radial button to Continue Reading

How To: Turn Off Autoplay XP Home For USB Sticks

How to turn off autoplay XP home edition for USB flash drives.

Windows XP Home edition requires a different method to turn off the USB autoplay function than XP Professional [which we reported on earlier].

It’s not difficult to turn off the USB autoplay, just a couple easy steps.

Note:  We are going into the Registry so be careful not to do anything other than what we suggest.

Got to>  START > RUN > type “regedit

Navegate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER
+ software
+ Microsoft
+ Windows
+ CurrentVersion
+ Policies
+ Explorer

**The “+” are the registry hives you must expand.

Now click the + Explorer directory just once so it is blue.  On the right side you will see “NoDriveTrypeAutoRun

Right click that and Select “Modify

turn off usb autoplay xp home

Here you most likely have b5 listed in the “Value data” field.  Simply replace that value with 95.

Click OK.

turn off autoplay usb

Close out of the Registry and reboot your machine.  Done!

Continue Reading

Windows 7 Direct Download Gone For Now

Last week we posted an article for Windows 7 users to download a utility to make a bootable USB recovery stick.  Well, looks like that feature is [temporarily] gone. So what gives? It appears Microsoft lifted some GPL code to make their ImageMaster tool for bootable USBs.  Interesting. We posted how you could make your own nt60 USB recovery stick.  Check it out.

nt60 usb recovery stick

From eWeek here is a bit of detail: Continue Reading

How To: Create USB Stick with nt60 Boot Sector

USB Tutorial:  How to create a bootable USB stick with the specific nt60 book sector required for Microsoft Vista.

Before we begin the USB tutorial on nt60 boot sector you’ll need to review the check list of items needed before you start.  Chances are, if you find yourself searching for this tutorial, you already have everything needed to make a USB bootable with nt60 boot sector.

  • 4GB flash drive will do the trick
  • Your Vista installation disk
  • Set BIOS to boot from a USB device

When selecting your flash drive be sure there is nothing you need on the device as this process to create a nt60 boot sector will clean the drive of all data.

  1. Put your Vista disk into the optical drive, if the autorun starts, close it all down and exit without performing any tasks.
  2. Plug in your USB stick which you want to make bootable with nt60.
  3. Open into the Command prompt.  [you will need Admin rights]
  4. Type ‘diskpart‘ and press Enter
    USB nt60
  5. Now type ‘list disk‘ and press Enter  All the storage devices connected to your computer will be displayed, make sure the size of the Disk you plan to select is the USB flash drive you intend to use!
    USB nt60 boot sector
  6. Now type ‘select disk [number here]‘  In this example I typed
Continue Reading

USB Jewelry: USB Millefiori Gift Idea

Here is a great gift idea that includes a splash of tech…give the gift of millefiori glass with a USB stick tucked inside.  Granted, the picture is what caught my eye for this article, but the bottom line is that:  it IS a good gift idea.

USB millefiori

Personally an image like this might work even better…but who am I to judge. usb drive clevageTo create the millefiori USB drive can be done in several simple steps.  If you haven’t heard of millefiori then let me tell you: Millefiori is a glass work technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware.  The term “millefiori” is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers). The millefiori technique has been applied to polymer clays and other materials. Because polymer clay is quite pliable and does not need to be heated and reheated in order to fuse it, it is much easier to produce millefiori patterns than with glass.  And this is what we are going to do today. In seven steps you can produce a nice looking USB necklece.  The detailed how-to is over at Instructables but here is the general idea. Get a small USB flash drive and take it apart.  Get some polymer clay, such as Fimo Soft or Fimo Effect.  Prep the millefiori material into a cane like shape.  Include a core in the cane shape as this is where the USB stick will go.  Cut the cane so you have Continue Reading

How To: Assign Specific Drive Letter to USB Drive

Sometimes you need a USB stick to always use the same drive letter.  Whether it’s backup software needing to point to a specific storage device, or you use a Windows Office application which requires a specific drive letter – sometimes it is just needed. Given that Windows will assign a drive letter as a first-come, first serve basis to removable media it can get frustrating to always try for the same drive letter.  Here is one way to assign a specific drive letter to a USB drive. Before you can assign a drive letter to a USB device, take a look at what drive letters you have available.  This will vary depending on what’s connected, networked drives and mapped drives in your system.  Simply go to START > MY COMPUTER and take a look. Next, plug in your USB drive to your computer and let Windows enumerate it [see it]. Navigate to:  START > CONTROL PANEL > ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS > COMPUTER MANAGEMENT > An alternate way to get to the same spot is START > RUN > “diskmgmt.msc”

assign drive letter to USB

In the left panel expand the Disk Management icon.  On the right side you’ll see all the drives available.  Right click on the Removable drive and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths” Click the Add button and choose a drive letter not already in use from the drop-down list.  Click OK. Now exit or close all the dialogue windows and you’re set.  Now, each time this specific USB stick is plugged in, Windows will assign it the same drive letter. Note:  Windows is associating the serial number of the device to the request you’ve entered above, SO, you’ll need to perform this same process for different flash drives. Spread the word and enjoy. Continue Reading

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