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How To: Create a Website Shortcut on a USB Drive

This article will show you how to create a website shortcut that works from a flash drive. The article includes the instructions, a video on the instructions and a template file one can download and tweak for their own use.

The reason for this topic of creating a website shortcut on a flash drive is because dragging and dropping your desktop shortcut to a flash drive doesn’t work.

The shortcut on a desktop is a relative path of the computer to the website. Which means the shortcut doesn’t transfer well to a flash drive for others to use. Rather than a working shortcut, the shortcut either errors off or takes you to a generic page within the browser.

Creating a shortcut that works on a USB flash drive is very easy. Like, crazy easy.

  • Open Notepad (type notepad in search and click Enter)
  • Type: [InternetShortcut]
  • Type website landing page: URL=https://www.getusb.info
  • Now Save As the file to your USB flash drive with .URL extension.

You have now successfully made a website shortcut on your USB flash drive.

This link can be used on any flash drive or hard drive or desktop location. The shortcut is truly a universal file that will work from any location.

Here is the text file which you can use as a template if the above instructions are too complicated or you simply don’t want to perform the steps.

Here is the video: How To: Create a Website Shortcut on a USB Drive

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Why do I have to Eject my USB Flash Drive?

Why do I have to Eject my USB Flash Drive

Do I have to eject my USB flash drive?

The short answer: No.

The technical answer: Yes.

If the technical answer is yes, the why do I have to Eject my USB Flash Drive?

The difference boils down to the type of file system being used. If the USB is FAT, FAT32 or exFAT you do NOT need to eject the USB flash drive before pulling it out of a computer.

If the USB drive is NTFS, then yes, eject the flash drive before pulling it out of the computer.

So why eject when the USB flash drive is formatted as NTFS?

The NTFS (New Technology File System) is a journaling file system system.

A journaling file system is one that keeps track of changes which have not yet been committed to the main part of the file system by recording the goal of such changes in a data structure known as a “journal,” which is typically a circular log. In the event of a system crash or power outage, such file systems can be restored more quickly and with a lower risk of corruption.

Depending on how it is implemented, a journaling file system may only keep track of stored metadata, resulting in improved performance at the expense of increased data corruption risk. A journaling file system, on the other hand, may track both stored data and related metadata, with some implementations allowing for user-selectable behavior in this regard.

With an NTFS formatted flash drive it is very possible there are journal entries going on in the background which the user is not away of, so if the drive is unexpectedly pulled out of the computer that physical action could corrupt the data on the drive.

Why do people format flash drives as NTFS?

Two common reasons people (wrongfully) format a flash drive as NTFS include:

  1. The user would like to take advantage of security settings which NTFS does offer
  2. The user has large single files and isn’t aware exFAT solves the same problem

NTFS allows an Administrator to assign privileges’ to files and folders and those security settings will remain for said files on the NTFS formatted flash drive. This is probably the ONLY legitimate reason a flash drive should be formatted as NTFS.

FAT and FAT32 have a single file limit of 4GBs so any single file larger than 4GBs will not be copied to a FAT or FAT32 flash drive. To get around this problem, Users will format the drive as NTFS. They select NTFS because it’s the same file system as their host computer… and since it works there… might as well format the flash drive the same way. However, what the users don’t understand is exFAT solves the same problem while at the same time providing a more stable file system – one that isn’t a journaling file system – so a flash drive can be pulled out without ejecting.

Good News – Free USB Eject Software Tool

GetUSB.info reported on this earlier; Eject USB Flash Drive safely, Free Download. The software is free to download, free to distribute and free to embed into other programs.

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What replaces write protect switch on USB flash drive?

physical write protect switch, USB

The concept of a write protect switch on a USB flash drive is to make it read only (locked). When the device is locked content on the drive cannot be changed, altered, manipulated, formatted or deleted off the drive. What GetUSB.info never understood is the value of a physical write protect switch.

Sure a USB write protect switch helps the honest people stay honest, but that approach isn’t very secure and certainly doesn’t apply for all situations.

So what replaces a write protect switch for a USB flash drive?

How about a programmatic way to add or remove the write protection to a flash drive?

Better yet, how about assigning a password to the programmatic way of adding or removing the write protection?

We can relax because the Lock License drives address both of these issues.

The Lock License drive is a hardware based ( at the chip level ) write protection solution and through a specific vendor software command the write protection can be removed to make the USB stick writable.

The write protection is configured on the USB controller of the flash drive. This means the write protection is done at the device level and will follow the USB stick. The result is a Lock License drive which is truly read-only when connected to anything… such as a Windows computer, Mac computer, Linux box, Smart TV, car stereo, anything!

The Lock License drive comes with a software method to unlock the drive and make it writable. This special software requires a password to be assigned to the unlocking. The password is required because the manufacturer, Nexcopy, didn’t want a universal way to unlock the drive.

Kanguru manufactures a USB flash drive with a physical write protect switch. The write protection itself is as secure as the Lock License solution, the difference is a Lock License drive adds one additional layer of security. The additional layer of security, the password requirement, is an important step for ensuring the device is as secure as possible.

Another interesting fact about the Lock License drive is the default state of the USB stick being read-only, or write protected. This means it is impossible for a user to accidently leave the Lock License drive unlocked.

The “locking” or write protection is done when power is cut from the device. Even if a user forgets to lock the drive, the locking happens automatically when the USB is disconnected from the computer.

It is worth noting there is no universal way to write protect any flash drive, this is why you cannot buy some software solution to do the feature. Write protection is a hardware based solution, not software.

The Lock License drive is manufactured by Nexcopy Inc who is based out of Southern California. The product is available in both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 technology and ranging in GB capacities from 2GB through 128GB.

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Free USB Flash Drives For Students

USB Flash Drives are indispensable for the students.

They are a fantastic tool to store and use documents and other important data. Moreover, talk to any student and they will let you know how they carry a USB flash drive—attached to key rings, customized with colors, shapes, objects, and much more!

With a USB flash drive, you can use your computers or laptops efficiently whether you’re at home or university, or school. There may be times when you want to continue work even after school hours; therefore, carrying a USB flash drive is very handy.

With all that being said, USB flash drives can cost students a lot; especially if you’ve lost one and have to buy another. Therefore, here are a few ways you can get USB flash drives for free.

Free USBs With A Purchase

There are many computer stores, and stores for cameras, cell phones, and other tech-related things that give flash drives for free with purchases.

Itpstyli

Itpstyli is a company that makes over 1000 styli for CMM, gear measurement equipment, and machine centers. To get a flash drive for free, you have to add it to the cart and save the cart as a shopping list.

If you require help with homework or need assistance in technical disciplines, feel free to get in touch with cwassignments.com to get assignment help online from experts.

MyBioSource.com

The company sells biological reagents. If you’re in the field of biology, and need products in bulk, you can get a free USB flash drive, or even more, based on the items of your purchase. Your free flash drive will get you 8GB of storage.

You must also keep an eye on Best Buy, Tiger Direct, and NewEgg, as these tech retailers often give away tech items, including USB flash drives. They may also give away products when you refer people, share their promotional posts, subscribe to their newsletters, be a loyal online presence, or buy products from them.

Flash Drive Retailers

As you must have realized by now, there are very few stores that sell just USB flash drives. However, they do exist; and the chances of you getting a free USB flash drive from them becomes quite high. You can accomplish this through online contests, giveaways, store promos, affiliate programs, and more.

USBholic

USBholic is a Texas-based retailer that sells flash drives. You can pick a cute design from their store and choose the 4GB one. When you do so, you’ll see the price to be $0.01 per flash drive. Even though it’s not completely free, it’s close. USBholic ships flash drives to Europe, the US, Asia, and Oceania. However, please check the shipping costs to your place to see if it’s worth getting it shipped.

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USB Flash Drive With Activity Light

A USB flash drive with activity light gives the user visual feedback the device is working.

Click here to buy a USB flash drive with activity light. While on this site, consider some other advanced functions you might need, but didn’t think of. Advanced functions such as:

  • Maybe you want the USB flash drive to be read-only (write protected)
  • Maybe you want the USB to act like a CD-ROM drive
  • Maybe you need to copy protect files on the drive – meaning people can view the files but they cannot print them, save them, screen capture, share, etc. The files can only be viewed.

These USB flash drives use an activity light and also provide the other cool functions mentioned above. The landing website offers six different body styles and an unlimited number of body colors along with free printing / branding if required.

Many small and portable flash drives do not have an activity light and we don’t like those types of drives. They don’t give the visual feedback we want to see.

USB flash drive no activity light

The people who write for this blog prefer a USB flash drive with an activity light. The USB manufacturers have different settings for the LED activity light. Here is a screen shot of the mass production software tool used when making a flash drive.

There are two main settings for a USB activity light:

  • On or Off setting for the LED on when device is ready
  • Blink or not when flash memory is being accessed (this is for either read or write)

USB flash drive with activity light, settings

In our experience any USB flash drive with an activity light will have both of the above settings to On. Meaning the LED will be a solid color when connected and ready, and will blink as the device is being accessed for either a read or write request.

USB flash drive with activity light, on

The most common LED color of a flash drive is red. However, we have seen green and blue LED lights on occasion. Most flash drives can be customized with specific LED colors if required. Lead times and pricing might fluctuate depending on what is required.

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Greyed Out USB Flash Drive (help)

If you have a greyed out USB flash drive this article should be able to help you resolve the issue.

The most common reason is the USB flash drive has a different file system and you simply need to format the drive. For example, Ext3, Ext4 or HFS are file systems for Linux and Mac. By formatting the USB drive it could restore the drive and it’s no longer greyed out.

please insert disk into USB drive

If this didn’t do the trick, then try the next suggestion ↓

It is possible the greyed out USB flash drive has a bad device driver. We can uninstall the drive and try re-installing the USB stick (reconnecting).

Do the following:

In the Search area type “Device Manager” and good chance Windows will auto-suggest before you are even done typing. Select Device Manager.

device manager, windows to find greyed out USB flash drive

Alternatively you can click the Windows key along with “X” and from the list select Device Manager

Win Key + X, windows to find greyed out USB flash drive

Device Manager lists things alphabetically so scroll towards the button and expand the carrot > for Universal Serial Bus controllers.

In the sub-listing you will see the Mass Storage Device and then right click that device and select Uninstall device

uninstall USB driver, greyed out USB stick

Now the device drive has been removed, please reconnect the device and see if the greyed out USB flash drive is still greyed out.

If this didn’t do the trick we have one last suggestion for you before declaring the USB stick most likely dead ↓

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How To Check USB Flash Drive Power Output

How to check a USB flash drive power output is fairly simple: the drive doesn’t output any power. That is the short answer.

What is really happening is the flash drive gives the host (the computer) instructions on the maximum power which should be sent to the flash drive.

So now that we understand a USB flash drive doesn’t put out power, but rather receives it, the next question becomes… how much power does the flash drive instruct it can receive?

When a USB flash drive is connected to a host computer there is something call a “device descriptor” which gives the host a long list of configuration settings. One of those device descriptors is the maximum power setting the device should receive. Now… it is 100% up to the host computer to respect that request, or not.

If you are having USB power disconnection issues it can be one of two things:

  1. The USB flash drive has too low of a power configuration setting
  2. The host is not respecting the device descriptor of the flash drive setting

99.9% of the time the host is respecting the device descriptor because the USB stock (code) to run the USB flash drives is typically well developed i.e. the USB driver is from Microsoft.

The more likely problem is the power setting of the device is set to low. If the power setting is set to low this means the host computer will monitor the power and since the USB is asking for more power than what is set in the descriptor the host computer disconnects the drive.

Below is a screen shot for the mass production tool used to make USB flash drives. As you can see the power settings available to configure the drive range from 100mA (milliaps) to 500mA. The maximum power limit for USB 2.0 is 500mA and thus should be the setting to make a USB flash drive. However, if the USB manufacturer messed up with an incorrect selection then a very good chance a 200mA flash drive is being disconnected all the time… and by no fault of the host computer!

usb flash drive power output, configure

So how do you find the power output of a flash drive? Or more accurately, what is the power consumption definition of the flash drive?

In short, there is no easy way to find this information in Windows. The easiest solution is download a 3rd party application and run the tool to see. The tool (USBDeview) is very small and runs directly as an exe file, no installation required.

Below are two screen shots.

The first screen shot is a USB flash drive set at 200mA. Clearly this device will run into disconnection issues

usb flash drive power output, to low

The second screen shot is a USB flash drive set at 500mA. This is the correct configuration of a USB flash drive for power output.

usb flash drive power output, correct

The above information is the easiest way to for USB flash drive power output for a thumb drive.

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DIY USB Power Hub Station

Using very simple and inexpensive items, create a USB power hub station for all gadgets like headphones, chargers, GPS units, GoPro camera’s and more.

In addition to a very organized solution, the DIY USB power hub station is out of the way, yet easily accessible. No more taking up valuable kitchen counter space with cluttered gadgets and a birds nest of cables.

The solution is ultra-easy. For the DIY USB power hub station all you need is a shoe rack for the closet, a USB hub and your cables.

In less than 10 minutes you can be organized, powered and out of sight. This DIY project was less than $35 dollars.

First, grab a hanging shoe rack from Amazon. I found this 10 slot shoe rack for $13.

Next, grab a USB hub that only runs power (less expensive) and I found a matching 10 socket version for my 10 slot shoe rack for $20.

The only thing left to possibly buy are cables. However, you probably already have the powering USB cables required for your devices. I do think getting cables that have a combo Apple Lightening cable and microUSB cable allow things to be a bit more flexible when connecting various devices.

Here is a set of two cables with three different connectors (Lightening, USB-C and microUSB) for $6.00 (each) $13 total.

Once your items arrive the assembly is literally two minutes. There is a good chance it will take longer to clean out your closet than assemble the DIY USB power hub station.

The best location would be in the closet under your stairs. This is true because the space most likely has a power outlet.

  • Step 1 – Cut a small piece of fabric in the back of each shoe rack slot
  • Step 2 – Place USB powered hub in the bottom shoe rack slot
  • Step 3 – Lay out the shoe rack and thread each power cable from the USB hub to each shoe rack slot
  • Step 4 – Place devices in shoe rack slots and connect
  • Step 5 – Hang USB power hub charging station in your closet
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How To: Check for Bad Sectors on USB Flash Drive

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

access usb flash drive cmd command

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.

chkdsk commands for usb 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.
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How To: Get USB Volume Serial Number and USB Device Serial Number

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)

usb drive letter in windows explorer

In File Explorer type: cmd

cmd prompt in usb drive letter

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

vol command for usb drive letter

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:

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Industrial Control System USB Flash Drive Designed For ICS Security

Industrial Control System USB Flash Drive Designed For ICS Security

The fourth industrial revolution or “Industry 4.0” is a term used to categorize today’s trend with industrial control systems (ICS) and how these machines interact with each other and humans.

The fourth era of “industry” combines hardware, software and biology and emphasizes the advancements in communication and connectivity. When the term IoT (Internet of Things) is used, this is the type of example that would apply. Industrial Control System USB Flash Drives designed for ICS security are critical to industrial systems and how they are controlled by their owners. The key when a USB flash drive is introduced into a control system, is security. Without security, one could lose control of the industrial system and ultimately introduce risks into a population or region.

Before we look closer at Industry 4.0 and data storage, let us provide a short summary of the first three phases of the industrial revolution.

First Industrial Revolution

The first industrial revolution was marked by a transition from hand production methods to machines through the use of steam power and water power. The integration of these new technologies took a long time, and spans a period between 1760 and 1840 for Europe and the United States. The first phase had the greatest impact on virtual industrial channels such as textile manufacturing, iron production, agriculture and mining (in general).

Second Industrial Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution, also known as the Technological Revolution, is the period between

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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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