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USB Hack: Turn a USB Stick Into a Hard Drive or Local Disk

USB Tutorial:  Turn a USB stick into a Hard Drive or Local Disk

usb hack

This is a very valuable tutorial, especially if you are looking to partition a USB stick.  Another application for turning a removable drive into a local disk, is that now many software programs can be loaded directly to a USB drive.  The first program which comes to mind is iTunes.  I know you need My Documents and a Local Disk to install it, so after this tutorial, I’ll try installing iTunes and share the results.

The process of turning a USB stick into a hard drive is fairly easy.  However, there are limitations.  For example, this works best with Windows XP operating systems.  You also need to update the drivers for the device for any computer you are going to use.  Typically, this isn’t a big deal as you can easily do this for your work and home computers.  However, this isn’t a great solution if you are trying to create a partitions USB stick for distribution to many possible users [say trade show give-away].

Couple of items you’ll need:

  • USB_LocalDisk.zip files [download here]
  • Windows XP
  • USB stick

What we will do, is connected the USB stick, find the driver code, update the driver code and re-connect the device.  Simple.

Here are the details:

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Never Leave Your UFD Behind With Flash Drive Reminder Utility

It’ is very possible many of you have left a USB stick in a work computer or friends computer simply because you forgot to pull it out upon leaving.  To help in those moments of lapsed memory, there is a utility that take care of your temporary Alzheimers.  The Flash Drive Reminder utility is a Windows based application and simply reminds you the USB stick is still plugged in when you log off or shut down.

flash drive reminder

The tiny app takes up very little space, autoruns from your USB stick and displays a pop up window upon connection.  This is where the application confirms the device is connected and you have the option to turn off the reminder or hide it until logging off or shutting down.  At which time, the software will throw up another pop-up windows telling you to grab your USB stick. There is a “quiet” version which eliminates the original pop-up window [nice] but will definitely display when you go to power down. The Flash Drive Reminder utility is free for the taking.  Continue Reading

DIY: Create USB Dongle to Run USB Over CAT5 Cable

Icron is the leader in professional extensions for USB technology where a company or corporation is looking to run data via USB over an extended amount of length.  Generally USB is goof for about 12 feet or so, but with Icron you can run over 300 feet of USB.  Yet, there is a middle ground for those who need more than 12 feet and less than 40 feet for USB data transmittal applications.  A good example is a small business or home business who’s looking to run a USB webcam at the front door for security.

diy usb extension

Albeit you can get some WiFi webcams you may want to build something yourself for only pennies.  Today, we have a nice tutorial for you to build a USB dongle for a CAT5 cable to run USB data transfers.  The CAT5 DIY project will double your USB cable length and get you to about 30 or 35 feet of distance.This project is best suited for video and audio transfers for extended S-Video applications or webcam applications.  I found this tutorial on Instructables. Enjoy. Continue Reading

How To Format Any Size USB Drive as NTFS

If you take a typical USB stick and select the Windows format option, you only get the FAT and FAT32 option for anything under 4GBs.  However, there are times you might want to format as NTFS.  For example, you want to set specific file and folder privileges to the content and you feel NTFS is the best way. Well, there is an easy solution and it’s just a matter of setting the options correctly in Windows for your device. This is how you do it: Start > My Computer > Right click on the drive letter for the USB stick and select Properties.

ntfs for usb

Next click the Hardware tab of the Properties dialogue box and select the device 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 you can double-click the device or highlight in blue and click the Properties button. Continue Reading

Floppy Drive Looks Old, Acts Young

The floppy diskette was an icon of portable storage.  For years, this was the de facto standard for moving information from one location to another.  Heck, an entire industry was made for duplicating floppy diskettes.  Today things are a bit different.  We still have the specialized duplicator equipment, but the media has changed.  Now, the de facto standard are USB flash drives. Well, this commercialized floppy has the look and feel of the old days, but all the flare and space of modern USB sticks.  Check out this USB floppy drive.

usb floppy drive

Granted, the size is a bit much for today’s UberGeek, but clearly a great conversation piece. If this has your wheels spinning then check out our USB tutorial on modifying a true floppy diskette into a USB drive. Source:  UberGizmo. Continue Reading

WD-40 Could Be A USB Stick’s Best Friend

wd-40 usbIn the rare situation your USB stick finds it’s way into the wash, there are a couple of steps you can take to help get the device back on track if it isn’t working. You’ll need a little space, time, [sunlight wouldn’t hurt] and some WD-40.  Ya, WD-40. According to Kevin at JK On The Run, it’s a critical step in the saving of your USB stick. So in the unlucky event your drive went through the wash, don’t throw it in the trash.  Try these steps first.
  • Open up the USB stick plastic case and set everything out for a dry.
  • Sunlight would speed the process, but I would recommend at least 24 hours of dry time.
  • Next, take the PCB board and memory and spray it down with some WD-40.  The idea hear is to avoid any metal contacts to become rusted or corroded, as once you close up the plastic case, it’s a great environment for moisture to do some good damage.  The WD-40 will help prevent moisture damage.
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USB Hub Monster In Time for Halloween

usb hub monster

If you can’t tell from the picture, this is a DIY project on taking a regular USB hub and turning it into the ideal Halloween desk monster. Using stiff wire, USB cables, USB hub and some LED you can build the inner structure of the USB monster.  Then sharpen your sowing skills and make a fabric body.  The fun part about this project is turning those clawed USB feet into working USB connectors. Albeit not the most space conscience hub you could find, but it’s definitely a fun project for the upcoming Halloween season. Source:  SlipperyBrick via Instructables. Continue Reading

USB Tutorial: How to Make a USB Coil Cable

Here is a simple USB tutorial on taking a typical phone cord and splicing it so USB connectors sit on each end.  The concept being a cheap and easy way to make a short cable expand out for long distance connection during use.

usb coil cable

The only fear is that phone cords are not well shielded and that might slow down the data transfers or possible drop packets.  But at the length shown here, we feel you’re alright. If anything, making the USB coil cable would be a nice little project for a DIY starter.  Great to sharp those soldering skills and steady hand.  The full USB tutorial can be found at Instructables. Continue Reading

Error: This USB Device Can Perform Faster if Connected to Hi Speed USB 2.0 Port

Have you seen this error message before from your Windows machine when a USB device is connected: “This USB Device can Perform Faster if Connected to Hi Speed USB 2.0 Port?” Well, I’ve seen it recently and went through a fairly long process to figure out how to correct it. Surprisingly it’s not difficult. usb perform faster error messageFirst, let me say I’ve found little information on WHY this error occurs and how to avoid getting this error message when a USB device is connected to your computer. From the research I’ve done, this USB error message of “device can perform faster when connected to hi-speed USB” stems from a corrupt setting for a device on your computer in relation to how it communicates with the hi-speed USB host controller. So here is the quick and easy fix: Reinstall the drivers for your Enhanced USB controller. Sounds complicated, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s a simple right click and a reboot. That’s it. Here’s how you do it: Step 1: Unplug any USB devices from your computer with the exception of your keyboard and mouse [if they are connected]. Step 2: Navigate to your Device Manager page by doing: Start > Control Panel > System > go to Hardware tab > Device Manager From this window scroll down until you see the + sign for “Universal Serial Bus controllers.” Click the PLUS sign and another list will expand out. Simply identify the item which references a “USB Enhanced” controller and right click. From the options provided from your right click select “uninstall.”

install enhanced usb controller

You will get a warning sign, but don’t worry. Click OK. Your computer will go through the process of uninstalling the USB Enhanced USB controller. Your computer will then immediately go through the installation process as well. After the re-installation you computer might seem all-is-well; however, your error message will not go away until you reboot your machine. Do that now. If you have any questions or comments hit the forum post for follow up. Continue Reading

Flip Your Bit USB Utility To Make Local Drive

BootIt is a Lexar based utility to flip the Removable Media Bit setting of a USB drive.  What this means, is you can take a Lexar drive (and many other brands) and make it appear as a Local Drive on your PC rather than Removable Storage.

This is absolutely necessary if you are looking to partition your USB drive or try some trick hack like run your iTunes from a USB stick.

bootit

The RMB or Removable Media Bit is present on all flash drives, but whether the Lexar utility can flip it is something of trial and error.  Although it goes without saying…and I’ll say it anyway…the utility works with Lexar drives, everything else, use at your own risk.

Flip your bit BootIt is a freeware program.  Download it here.

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WordPress On USB

wordpress logo

Back in July 2007 I made a USB tutorial post about putting WordPress on a stick.  Shortly there after, several visitors emailed me indicating I had too much time on my hands and it really wasn’t worth the effort.  But how do I disagree!

Even in the past year, WordPress has gain momentum in the blogisphere and becoming the #1 blogging platform.  Even Alexa, a fairly decent gauge on web traffic ranks WP as #26 in most popular sites.

Given this information, I’ve seen more and more website – not blogs – use the WP platform to create their static website and webpages.  So for those SEO and web designers out there, putting WordPress on a stick allows them to demo the site to clients, run SQL runtimes for testing and troubleshooting and isolating their web environment during development.

A good example is my RSS Filter website: FilterMyRSS.  Take a look at the source code, you’ll see the script which runs the utility along with supporting pages and blog entries…all based off WordPress.

I do agree the masses wouldn’t care about putting WordPress on a stick, but if the web is your bread-n-butter it would probably be smarter for you to know how – than to not.

Install WordPress on a stick tutorial.

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