USB Help and Flash Drive Tools Category

Mount exFAT USB from Linux

mount exFat

How to mount, access and use an exFAT formatted USB drive from within Linux. Most newer Linux distributions already ship with exFAT FAT64 filesystem support via the FUSE library and related utilities. However, many older Ubuntu based distributions did not. The following solution covers the simple process of enabling exFAT detection from older Ubuntu based distributions.

exFAT (Extended Fat), a proprietary filesystem created by Microsoft, was introduced to remove the 4GB file size limitation. Making it a suitable replacement for the older Fat32 filesystem. Most modern USB flash drives arrive exFAT formatted from the factory. So it is nice to be able to use them out of the box across multiple operating systems without the need to reformat.

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The Fastest USB Flash Drives are Solid State

Extreme-Pro SSD

The Fastest and most reliable USB Flash Drives are Solid State. Assuming your Computer is USB 3.0 capable, Fast Flash Drives that are Solid State (SSD) are much more pleasant to work with than NAND based drives. This is due to their greatly increased read and write speeds (often up to ten times faster). They also tend to last longer as they are not affected by the reduced write limitations imposed on NAND cells. So theoretically, it is possible to run an uncompressed full Operating System from SSD memory, without the fear of premature failure.

Over the past decade I have tested hundreds of external USB devices; also commonly referred to as UFD, pen drives, thumb drives and memory sticks.  Having come to the conclusion that some work great, while others don’t. As a result, this page lists only my top pick of high quality Fast Solid State Flash Drives. Also included are recommended multiport USB hubs.
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Casper-RW Creator – Make a persistent file – Windows

Pen Drive Linux Casper-RW Creator

How to Create a casper-rw persistent or writable persistence file from Windows: Written for convenience, here is a simple Casper-RW Creator tool. This software should enable its user to quickly and easily create a casper persistent image from within Windows. By simply appending the “persistent” boot parameter, the file created by this tool can be used to save or store changes. You can then restore those changes on subsequent boots.

Also known as an overlay image, this file works as a companion to your Ubuntu Live Bootable USB. Allowing the Live system to act similar to a full installation.

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Convert Fat32 to NTFS without losing Data

Convert Fat32 to NTFS

How to Convert Fat32 to NTFS without encountering data loss. It is possible to Convert from a Fat32 filesystem to NTFS without losing data or reformatting. Due to the 4GB file size limitation imposed upon Fat32 formatted partitions. It is very likely that you will find yourself in this situation at some point in time.

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How to Make Deleted Files Unrecoverable

How to easily make deleted files unrecoverable. When you delete a file from your USB flash drive and then proceed to empty your trash or recycle bin, the file is not completely erased. Until the space it once occupied is overwritten with new information, the file is still recoverable. Making it possible for you or anyone to potentially recover files you thought you permanently deleted.

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Restore Your USB Key to its original state

DiskPart - Restore USB Flash Drive

After having tooled around with a USB Linux version using your dd raw image overwritten or multi partitioned flash pen drive, you might find it necessary to revert it back to a single fat, fat32, exFAT or NTFS partition. Essentially recovering or restoring the USB flash pen drive back to its original state. This allows the storage device to be readable again, and usable by all computers.

You’ll find this particularly necessary after working with tools such as Etcher to burn an ISO or Win32 Disk Imager to write an image. Depending on the file used, these tools can make your USB device appear corrupted or unreadable. This is because these tools use raw-write style dd tasks to put an .img or .iso file on a USB flash drive. As a result, the existing boot record, partition table data, and filesystem is overwritten with that of the raw image file.

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Testing your system for USB boot compatibility

The following tutorial will enable a user to check if a computer system can boot from a USB device and ultimately help determine if the computer can boot a Linux version from USB. In most cases if the test is successful, you should have no problem running Linux portably via syslinux. In addition to testing your PC for USB Linux boot capability, the “Memtest86+” system memory diagnostics program that is included, allows the user to scan their system memory for errors by simply booting memtest from a USB device or flash drive.

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Install a new MBR to your USB Flash Drive

Do you need to Install a new (MBR) Master Boot Record? Some USB flash drives are notorious for having problems with corrupted Master Boot Records. If your system suddenly refuses to boot from the flash drive, the MBR may be at fault. To fix this, you can use the Linux mbr package included with most Debian and Ubuntu based distributions to install a new master boot record. Credit goes to BHSPitMonkey for pointing out this fix. The troubled drive he encountered was a Kingston Data Traveler.

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Booting Linux using USB-ZIP on older systems

If you have an older computer system, your BIOS might not support USB-HDD boot. In this case, it may still be possible to boot Linux from USB if your BIOS does list USB-ZIP as a boot option. In order for this to happen, we need to trick the BIOS into thinking that the USB flash drive is a zip drive.

We can trick the BIOS by modifying the number of heads and sectors being displayed from the USB flash device to match that of a zip drive. Then we partition the drive using partition 4 (the partition that zip drives typically use). For this tutorial we will use the mkdiskimage application that comes with syslinux.

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Error: Could not find kernel image: Linux

The Could not find kernel image: linux error typically occurs on USB flash drive Linux installations if syslinux could not find the configuration file syslinux.cfg. This configuration file is used to tell syslinux where your kernel image and initrd files are located. In the following section we will cover some of the basic things to look for if you are encountering this boot error.

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U3 Uninstaller for USB Flash Drive

How to easily Remove the U3 smart software from your USB Flash Pen Drive. “The U3 uninstaller application is available directly from U3”.

Most avid users of USB storage media have recently begun to realize that a vast majority of USB flash pen drives manufactured today are packaged with the U3 software. While this software has some neat features and package includes, a seasoned computer user may not need or desire to use the U3 smart software.

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