GetUSB.info Logo

Posts Tagged ‘flash drive’

Does Erasing Flash Memory Shorten It’s Life?

Yes. Performing an Erase or “full format” shortens the life of the device. The erase function is also very slow.

Here are some additional questions based on the answer above which we will address in today’s post:

Is “erase” and “format” the same thing?

Erasing flash memory (a.k.a. Setting all bits to 0, also called a “full format” by Windows) does more damage. Flash memory has a limited number of times that it can be written, and the more you write to it, the more it degrades. With an erase function, you’re writing to the entire device.

With a format, all that’s happening is changing a few bits at the front of the device to say the rest of the memory space on the flash drive is available to be overwritten. This saves the life of the flash memory because the old data is not being overwritten, just flagged to do it at a later time.

Why would you need to erase a drive?

Since a format is changing just a few bits at the front of the device, it means all the data is still on the drive. The few bits we are talking about which are changed, is related to the file allocation table. The changed bits in the file allocation table, mean there are no longer instructions about the location of the digital files. Recovery software can scan the memory space and retrieve those files even though the file allocation table isn’t giving instructions on where they are located.

Think of the file allocation table as the table of contents of a book. If you tear out the table of contents of a book, but all the pages of the story are still there, it’s the same concept as formatting a device. Sure you can scan the pages to find chapter 12 with the part about Paul getting a bucket of water, it’s just hard. Same thing with formatting a drive, you can use recovery scanning software to find the files, but it’s hard. Coming back to the original question, why would someone want to erase a USB flash drive? One possible reason could be a security risk of some kind and the operator wants to insure no data is on the drive. For example, you are donating a flash drive and you had financial or medical records on the drive. By performing an erase, that data cannot be recovered.

Why does an erase take longer?

Continue Reading

USB Flash Drive Doesn’t Get Assigned a Drive Letter: Solution

You’ve connected a USB flash drive, heard the familiar Windows sound of connection, yet no drive letter shows up. You then go into Disk Management for Windows and you can see the device and memory, but no drive letter.

What should you do?

USB key in computer

Most times this process is automatic and Windows will asign a drive letter to any storage device connected to your PC, whether it be a USB stick or a USB hard drive, or any other mass storage device.

However; in the event a drive letter isn’t assigned there is a very quick way to get your computer back to working the way it should.

  1. Open Command Prompt as Administrator (search for CMD and right click to open as Admin)
  2. Type ‘diskpart’ and hit Enter.
  3. Once in the DISKPART type automount enable and click Enter.

USB key diskpart

If the above doesn’t do the trick, another issue may be at hand. Maybe some conflicting registry entries from past USB devices connected to the PC and for this reason the automount was disable, or no longer working properly.

Nexcopy has a registry cleaning tool specifically design for USB devices connected to your computer. This utility is an exe file that does not require installation and does not have spyware, malware or anything else. It’s from a company you may

Continue Reading

Erase USB or Clean USB or Format USB?

We’ve seen these terms floating around in forums and How To’s for years when someone is explaining what to do with USB flash drives. I think most people glaze over the definitions of Clean, Erase and Format simply because they believe the terms are interchangeable, or they aren’t planning on doing the task mentioned in the post.

I hope the following information will clear up some terms and definitions so we can all better understand what people are talking about when passing along information about flash drives and the Clean, Erase and Format function.

All of these functions can be performed in your Windows 10 computer, or higher. I will start with the least complicated definition and task, and move along from there.

Format

This function is what 98% of Windows computer operators will use. This is the graphical interface inside Windows when you right click a drive letter and ask the operating system to format the drive. What is this function really doing?

Format is the least complicated of the tasks, and this function is removing the File Allocation Table of the USB and creating a new one. Said a simpler way… this function takes away the list of files sitting on the drive so it then appears blank with no data.

It’s important to note, the files are still on the drive, just not listed in an easy, organized manor which you can see through windows explorer (clicking on the drive letter to see the list of files).

Using the most basic file recovery software tools, like the one we wrote about several months back, you can recover all the files sitting on the drive.

Maybe a picture will help. Looking at the image below you can see the “data” is light grey. Meaning the data is still there, just not easily accessible. This data is what recovery software will look for, find, and list back on your drive. Also notice the boot code of the USB (if you want to load an operating system on your USB stick) isn’t touched either.

format usb flash drive

You might have questions if a USB flash drive should be formatted as FAT, FAT32, exFAT or NTFS and we did a great post about that a bit earlier as well.

Clean

The Clean function is a bit more in-depth than the format function. This function applies directly to the Master Boot Record (MBR) or boot code mentioned just above.

The Clean function will clear out boot code and will remove any partition on the flash drive. The partition of a flash drive is the information which tells a host computer how big the drive is, and if the partition should be bootable in the event you are trying to start the computer from a flash drive.

The Clean function is not accessible through the GUI of Windows, for example you cannot right click on a drive letter and find the Clean function. The Clean function is only accessible through the Windows utility called DiskPart.

Continue Reading

Flash Drive Prices Are Going Up – Cause: Japan & S. Korea Trade War

Japan has been a long time supplier for three key elements used in the manufacturing of NAND memory and semiconductors. Because of recent trade war issues between Japan and South Korea, these elements are getting very hard to obtain.

Japan produces about 90% of the world’s supply of flurinated polyimide and resists, and about 70% of the world’s supply for hydrogen fluoride. This puts everyone at risk if Japan will not supply those demanding it.

Those chemicals are used by Korean manufacturers to produce semiconductors, and are crucial for making components — including memory chips, microprocessors and integrated circuits.

We have seen the direct impact already. For the first time in over eight months, the price of NAND memory for flash drives have gone up. For each GB capacity the percentage increase is different, but most notably are the 32GB and 64GB wafers. They have jumped nearly 25% from the previous week ( this article was posted on July 25th).

Japan has sited inadequate management of those chemicals by purchasing countries. Said another way, these chemicals can also be used to manufacturer military weapons and Japan is claiming those supplies have been diverted to do just that. Japan’s response; restrictions on the chemicals.

Who will lose from this trade war? None other than any person who uses technology. Cell phones, processors, flash memory, circuit boards, the list goes on.

For a more dry version of this report, and our source visit: here

To learn more about the polyimide chemicals a quick read on this wiki page is fairly interesting. Continue Reading

QuadCore Raspberry Pi 4

Update:

From this article, the Raspberry Pi 4’s USB-C power port was designed outside of official USB-IF specifications, making it incompatible with many USB-C chargers and/or power supplies. You can read more about from the link above and the information gathered to come to such a conclusion was done by a well known Google engineer, Benson Leung.

The raspberry Pi is a collection of small computer boards put together in a simplistic way to create the foundation of a computer system. The Raspberry Pi (also known as RPi) was released back in Feb of 2012 in the United Kingdom. The original intent of the RPi was to develop a low cost and simplistic computer which students could learn and develop.

The original model became far more popular than anticipated, and started selling outside its target market for uses such as robotics. It does not include peripherals (such as keyboards and mice) or even come inside a case. Literally a bare-bones product.

To give you an idea of the popularity, the RPi products have sold over 19 million units between its release in 2012 to the end of fiscal year 2018. This makes the RPi one of the best-selling computers in the world, although a computer with limited resources. Until now.

This week the Raspberry Pi Foundation has released the Pi 4. This is one hell of a great product. Check out these specifications:

  • A 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU (~3× performance)
  • 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet
  • Dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports
  • Dual monitor support, at resolutions up to 4K
  • VideoCore VI graphics, supporting OpenGL ES 3.x
  • 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video
  • Complete compatibility with earlier Raspberry Pi products

In addition to the hardware improvements, the Raspberry Pi Foundation says

Continue Reading

How To: Delete and Keep “System Volume Information” Folder Off Flash Drives

If you have found this post, chances are you are trying to delete and keep the “System Volume Information” folder off your flash drive.

UPDATE: Thank you to a reader sending in additional information, we now have a solution that is universal to all PCs. You will never get the “There’s a problem with this drive. Scan the drive now to fix it” message. To get this universal fix, scroll to the bottom of this message and look for “Updated Solution.”

I will venture to say, there are probably five reasons why you are trying to remove this directory (probably more):

  • You have a SmartTV or stereo in your car and the device is showing this folder, and often times, is the default start location to resume play, so you want to remove it.
  • A binary verification utility is failing and it shows this folder as the source of inconsistency.
  • The “Disk needs to be scanned and repaired message” keeps popping up when you remove a drive without using the Eject function from Windows.  You are now going crazy and want to stop that message forever.
  • A virus software utility is indicating this folder has a potential problem  (smart hackers could stick their code in here)
  • You are performing some kind of USB duplication process and this folder continues to be a problem, therefore you want to remove it.

Go ahead and skim down this article if you want to get right to the instructions.  For now, I’m going to take some time to explain what this folder is.  Knowledge is power, and maybe the reason for why it’s there, will deter you from wanting to delete it.

For any disk or storage device connected to Windows will have the “System Volume Information” folder.  This is a hidden system file, so if you don’t see it, that is the reason why.  You can see this file when you turn on “See Hidden Files” in your view properties settings.

The System Volume Information folder contains two files.  The two files are meant for setting restore points and indexing for what is on the drive.  Windows is trying to help you if and when you need to search the device for data.

The two files are the IndexerVolumeGuid and WPSettings.dat file.  The indexer file assigns a unique identifier (GUID, Global Unique ID) to the drive.  The indexing service examines the files so when you connect the drive to the computer in the future, Windows checks the identifier and knows which search database to associate with the drive.

WPSettings.dat file is used for Windows Phone’s Storage settings.  If you are dealing with a hard drive, this could be a good thing, if dealing with a flash drive, you don’t need it.  I haven’t met a person yet who backed up their phone data to a USB stick.

If you are still on the fence about whether you should remove this folder or not, think about this:  If you are dealing with a hard drive with an operating system, don’t delete it.  If you are dealing with mass storage drives, like a USB flash drive, you can remove it with little fear something bad will happen.

So how do you remove this folder?

How do you keep from this folder coming back?

The solution is a two-step process.  The first step will be disabling the indexing and thus, ask Windows not to put the folder on the drive.

Continue Reading

EaseUS Data Recovery Software – Free

It’s been a hard day because your USB stick or SD card with important content doesn’t have the file you are looking for. Somehow, maybe your kid, formatted the device and what you are looking for is no longer there.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get some recovery software to find that file?

Better yet, wouldn’t it be nice to have a free download to show you what files can be seen… and then you can decide to buy the software? I mean, your day has already been bad enough, why spend money for a shot in the dark?

EaseUS Data Recovery software is just what you need. Today is a review of this software. Our first and last impression, it’s good stuff!

Here is the “Readers Digest” version of the data recovery software review. Oh, and if you’re a millennial who doesn’t know what “Readers Digest” is, it was a small magazine that would provide short stories and reviews and jokes. Nothing long, everything quick and to the point.

The EaseUS Data Recovery software is free for download with upgrade options.

The fee download gives you the ability to recover up-to one GB of data. The types of situations the free software is best used for is when the file was deleted or the file was formatted off the drive.

Continue Reading

Harmonization Code for USB Flash Drives

HS Code for USB Flash Drives

When importing or exporting USB flash drives in the United States you will want to use this Harmonization Code to help with customs paperwork.

The Harmonization Code is tariff nomenclature for internationally trade which defines names and numbers assigned to traded products. The HS Code System came into effect in 1988 and has since been developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO), based in Brussels, Belgium. There are over 200 countries which participate in this program.

The HS Code for a USB flash drive is: 8523.51.0000

In the event your freight forwarder or delivery service tells you that an ECCN is needed to ship USB flash drives and is required to complete the Automated Export System (AES) or other documentation then please give them the above information and it should all work out.

ECCN stands for Export Control Classification Number. An ECCN is an alpha-numeric classification used in the Commerce Control List to identify items for export control purposes.

Continue Reading

A Flash Drive, an Ex Marine and Russia

Update:

“I want to tell the world that I am a victim of political kidnap and ransom,” Whelan said during a press conference in May. “This is retaliation for sanctions.”

“…There are abuses and harassment that I am constantly subject to. There is a case for isolation,” he continued, before listing alleged abuses committed by prison staff.

The former Marine said that he was being subjected to “typical POW Chapter 1 isolation” techniques to run him down and described his imprisonment as the “Salem witch trial mentality.”

According to Reuters, Paul made a direct plea to the President of the United States saying; “Mr president [Trump], we cannot keep America great unless we aggressively protect and defend American citizens wherever they are in the world.” And this is very true.

It’s not every day we see “flash drive” in the headlines in association with espionage. However, it appears American citizen, Paul Whelan, was arrested in Russia for the charge of espionage.

Gathering information from the news surrounding this situation, Mr. Whelan is an ex-Marine who visits Russia. He is a world traveler, a security expert for a US based auto parts supplier [BorgWarner], speaks Russian and uses a Russian social media platform called VKontakte, or VK.

From reports, the arrest happened like this: Whelan met up with a Russian associate who gave him a flash drive. Earlier in the visit, Whelan claims he received digital images from his vacation through his computer, but could not view them on his computer. Because of this, he asked the photos be placed on a flash drive.

Moments after the two met and exchanged the flash drive, the Russian policy arrested Paul and found state secrets on the USB drive.

plug flash drive into computer

Whelan claims he knew nothing of the information on the flash drive and was only expecting to see pictures of his vacation. I certainly hope

Continue Reading

ECCN and HS Code for USB Flash Drives

When importing or exporting USB flash drives in the United States you will want to use these ECCN and HS Codes to help with customs paperwork. The ECCN Code for a USB flash drive is:  EAR99 The HS Code for a USB flash drive is:  8523.51.0000 In the event your freight forwarder or delivery service tells you that an ECCN is needed to ship USB flash drives and is required to complete the Automated Export System (AES) or other documentation then please give them the above information and it should all work out. ECCN stands for Export Control Classification Number.  An ECCN is an alpha-numeric classification used in the Commerce Control List to identify items for export control purposes. HS Code is the  “Harmonized System” which is a 6-digit standardized numerical method of classifying traded products developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization.  The Harmonized System system (HS) forms the basis of all countries’ tariff Schedule all over the world.  Or it helps countries asses value to a product in a standardized way and by definitions all countries can agree and interpret. Continue Reading

Mysterious USB Ports Show Up In NYC

A New York artist names Aram Bartholl is trying a very daring, if not crazy, art exhibit by placing USB sticks throughout New York City.  The idea is for others to share their digital life, secrets, information with others to bridge the life of digital information with that of the physical world.  So what exactly do you do?

USB in wall

Aram has placed a small collection of USB ports in public places thinking that others will connect their laptop or computer to the USB port and upload or download data to share.  I bit crazy if you ask me…you know how many viruses and key logging programs one could get?  Even with virus checking software – there are sophisticated attacks you could expose yourself too.  BUT, if you dare, connect! Currently the installation is only a five-stick preview, but Bartholl is planning to expand the operation to more sticks and more cities. Check Bartholl’s blog for coming information including “full documentation, movie, map, and ‘How to make your own dead drop’ manual coming soon!”

USB in New York

Aram – you should use USB Write Protected flash drives and share controlled data so that you’re exhibit doesn’t kill computers!  Maybe provide an upload link where you can control the data, then put the data on flash drives and write protect the stick.  Don’t know how – contact us, we’ll show you. Continue Reading

Copyright © 2006-2019

USB Powered Gadgets and more...

All Rights Reserved

GetUSB Advertising

The opportunities on our website reach at least 1,000 unique visits per day.

For more information
Visit our advertising page.

Nexcopy Provides

USB copy protection with digital rights management for data loaded on USB flash drives.

Contact us learn more