Rhythm & Binary

USB Drives

I’ve been working with USB Drives or “Flash Drives” most of my professional career.  When I was in high school (and even some in college), I remember CDs and Floppy Disks etc.  Since the 2000s, the USB standard and the use of Flash or Solid State Storage has replaced most of the storage mediums of times past.  Why am I talking about it?  Because I realized that we take this for granted.  A lot of times, kids now don’t even think about this because everything is streaming or instantly available etc.  That being said the USB standard is still going strong and present throughout the world of computers.

There’s a good history of USB drives that I saw here: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/08/a-brief-history-of-usb-what-it-replaced-and-what-has-failed-to-replace-it/

The wiki page on USB drives seems to have some issues, so didn’t link it there.

It amazes me how much data we can store on these little drives.  Since the 2000s, the process of creating storage has become much cheaper as well.  As a result, it’s common place to have a USB Drive that has 16GB or even 64GB.  I still remember when 1GB was expensive, so I guess I’m getting old. Alas, greater than that, it’s amazing to me how much we use these devices everyday and take them for granted.  So next time you use one, think about how powerful that little piece of plastic and metal is that you can hold in your hand.

Additionally, for the programmer reading this I wanted to provide some cool things I use professionally to work with USB Drives or Flash media in general.

If you’re using Linux:

If you’re using Windows:

  • Windows Explorer provides the basic “format” option
  • If you’re needing to swap a disk that works with a Linux or Unix FS to a Windows FS you have to pull out diskpart To use that, do the following:
    1. Open command promp
    2. Type the following and press enter after each line
      1. diskpart
      2. list disk
      3. select disk x (where x is the number of your non-working drive – use the capacity to work out which one it is)
      4. attributes disk clear readonly
      5. clean
      6. create partition primary

If you’re using a Mac:

If you’re using a Chromebook:

  • There are several forums that pop up if you google this.  Its fairly intuitive if you just select the drive once you’ve plugged it in and click format etc.