USB Sticks

USB Sticks

I will show you how to speed up your slow USB and recover any lost data and fix ‘device not recognised’ error message

Bootable USB Stick Failing to Boot

You have just made yourself a bootable USB stick but Windows ignores it? You will most probably just need to edit the boot order in your BIOS settings. If your computer is running Windows XP, Vista or 7 you will want to tap the F2 or Delete key as soon as you turn on your computer or laptop. Once you have the BIOS screen up you will need to use your arrow keys to navigate the BIOS screen: you will want to look for something like ‘Boot Order’ or ‘Boot Device Priority’ and you will need to make sure the USB Stick is higher than your Hard drive.

If your bootable USB stick won't boot, you need to change boot priority

If your bootable USB stick won’t boot, you need to change boot priority

If you are running Windows 8 or 8.1 you can access the ‘UEFI BIOS’ by pressing the Win + C keys then click on settings followed by ‘Change PC Settings’. If you are running Windows 10 you will want to click  Start then Settings. Now you need to click ‘Update and Recovery’ then ‘Recovery’, then ‘Restart Now’ under the ‘Advanced Startup’. Finally, you will want to click ‘Troubleshoot’, then ‘Advanced Options’ and the UEFI Firmware Settings, then Restart.

USB Running Much Slower Than Normal

If your USB stick is starting to run slow or become unresponsive, you could have attached it to an older USB port. Most modern PC or Laptops should have at least one USB 3.0 port which can be recognised by having a blue insert; but many still have the older USB 2.0 slot as well. If you PC or Laptop is really old it might still be using USB 1.1 so try the USB Stick in a different Port, ideally one with the blue plastic insert so you get the fastest speed possible.

USB 2.0 & 3.0

If your USB stick is running slow make sure you have plunged it in to blue USB port

Files Won’t Save or Become Corrupted

This could be bad news as your USB stick could be faulty or a fake. A fake USB stick will appear to work normally until it reaches its real capacity this is when you will start to get problems and there is no fixing this.

Even if you USB stick is not a fake most faults are almost impossible to fix, but you might still be able to recover lost files. To do this you can download the free recover tool called Recuva, you will want to select your USB stick and click scan, Tick the files you want to recover and then click the Recover button.

USB Stick Does Not Appear in Explorer

If you ever get the message ‘USB Device Not Recognized’ you should 1st try plugging it in to a different USB port. If you are still getting the same message you will need to launch the ‘Disk Management’ to do this press Win + R, and typing diskmgmt.msc and press Enter. You will want to look for the drive labelled ‘Removable’ and matches your USB Sticks capacity. If you see it is saying ‘Healthy’ and has a ‘Primary’ partition, then Windows might not have assigned a drive letter. To do so you will need to Right-click on the partition and choose ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’. Now click add and choose a drive letter. If that still does not work press Win + R and type devmgmt.msc and press Enter. You will want to double click on both Disk Drives and ‘Universal Serial Bus Controllers’ and see if anything has a yellow triangle. If you find any you will want to right click on it and choose Properties. You will want to make a note of any error messages you find in the ‘Device Status’ and you can then search Google to see how to fix it or what the problem could be.

Your USB Stick Does Not Work In Your TV

Most modern TV’s now come with a USB port on them and will play video files straight from the USB, but the USB has to be formatted in the correct way. Window preferred file system is NTFS, but this does not always work on all TV’s so you might have to format the USB stick to FAT32 but will be restricted to the file size you can put on it. Press Win + E to launch Windows Explorer, you will then want to right click your drive and choose Format followed by FAT32 in the ‘File System’ menu and the click ‘Start’

Your USB Stick is Write Protected

If you are finding you can’t write files to your USB stick, have a look and see if you can see a physical switch, as some devices can have a small toggle that you can flip to lock and unlock. If not it could be a Registry key has become stuck with the wrong value. Before you begin you will want to back up your PC/Laptop, then press Win + R and type in regedit and hit Enter. You will then want to Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL-MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentContolSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies and look for or create a key called StorageDevicePolicies in the right-hand panel look for or create a new ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’ and call it WriteProtect. If you need to create key or value, right -click in the relevant pane, point to New then choose the relevant option. You will then want to double click WirteProtect and set its value to ‘0’

Disable Write-Protection

Change this Registry key to allow you to write and copy files to your USB Stick

Share Button

Fix Your PC With a USB Stick

Fix Your PC With a USB Stick

PC Help

Do your family and friends always turn to you when their computers go wrong? Below I will tell you how you can fix a PC with a few good portable programs on a USB Stick.

If you are having problems with your computer you will properly turn to a trusted suite of programs, like CCleaner or CPU-Z ,and your antivirus software. But what do you do if the problem is on a friends PC or a laptop with precious little RAM? Easy, Just run your trusted suite of programs from a USB stick. CCleaner is a well-established Desktop program that can also be run from a storage device like a USB stick. Simply plug in your USB stick in to any computer and double-click on the program’s EXE (.exe) file to run the program.
That way there is nothing to install, and now junk will be left behind. Skype, LibreOffice and Firefox all have a portable version, but it’s the PC-fixing tools I am most excited about. While running Skype from a USB can be handy, running CCleaner from a USB could bring a friends PC back to life.

Find and kill viruses

The first step in troubleshooting a computer is to check for viruses and malware. McAfee Stinger is a free portable (standalone) antivirus from the same people that make McAfee Internet Security. Stinger’s tabbed window contains as many tools as you would find on any dedicated antivirus suite. You can scan a specific file or folder like the Registry or even the USB stick it’s located on. If Stinger does find any dubious files, you can kill them or quarantine them just like the full version of McAfee.

Panda Cloud Cleaner Portable (click the second blue Download button) will also let you specify directories to scan and clean. It’s not as powerful as Stinger but it will verifie the results in the clould to help avoid false positives. Trend Micro’s Portable bug identifier HijackThis will look for any unauthorized settings or modifications, as they can be evidence of malware, and log them in a report. It can also scan for data, like metadata that is embedded in files, and not visible in Windows Explorer, this can often get missed by other malware scanners.

Just keep in mind that sometimes-portable programs can be flagged as malware by some antivirus suites. The irony is that portable programs are often more secure as you can run them with out having to connect to the Internet or installing files hackers could exploit.

Diagnose the problem

cpu-z-01-557x535After you have ruled out viruses or malware, you can use CPU-Z portable to get real-time information about any computer its run on, like temperature to the status of any drivers (click Tools, then “Check for Driver Updates’), you can save the report as a text file (simply click ‘Save Report as .TXT from the tools menu) or print it if you need to go shopping for new parts. You could even give a copy to the owners of the PC for their own reference.

When you are on the CPU-Z download page, make sure you only click on the purple “Download Now!’ button as everything else is an advert. Once downloaded, extract the Zip then double click on the 32but or 64bit EXE (depending on the system you are running it on) to run the program.
The portable version of Speccy will generate a less comprehensive but easier to follow report then CPU-Z, and the latest version will now let you see the computers MAC Address.

The new USB auto-installer version of Memtest86+ is a tiny program that can check PC’s RAM. It’s extremely easy to run but it’s a little more complicated to set up than Speccy or CPU-Z. The EXE file is actually the installer, and it will only install the program on a USB stick. You will want to make sure you have a USB stick plugged in before you double-click on the EXE file, when the installer runs you will want to ‘Select your USB Flash Drive’, then click on Create to install Memtest on the USB stick.

Remove hidden junk

CCleanerA hard drive clogged with software is one of the most common causes of PC performance problems. So you will want to completely remove stubborn programs and make sure there are no left overs and the prortable version of CCleaner will help. When you first run CCleaner it will offer to scan ‘intelligtly’ for cookies that you want to keep (this is a good thing if you want to clear out the cashes and other browser related junk but keep your logins.)

If you find you ever accidently delete any important files when clearing out junk or accidently deleted a load of family photos the Recuva is the program you need. Its especially useful for recovering files from a computer that won’t let you install software on its hard drive.

Share Button