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HDDs OMG

Plugable Tech Tips: How to Partition and Format a New Hard Drive (or SSD)

HDDs OMG

As we all progress further into the digital age, our need for additional storage space keeps growing. Digital photos, music, and movies take up large amounts of space, and adding an external hard drive to store additional media or for backup purposes is an ever-popular PC upgrade. While some tout the benefits of cloud-based storage, adding local storage capacity has many benefits including substantially better speeds as well as being vastly more secure. This introductory installment of Plugable Tech Tips will guide you through the necessary steps of setting up your new drive for use.

This guide outlines the process in Windows 8/8.1, though the steps are nearly identical for Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Each step covers a bit of explanation and context. If the “why” aspect of the process is not of interest, look for the bold text in the post which covers just the basic necessary steps.

This article also proceeds with the assumption that you’re using one of our Plugable hard drive docks (good choice!) such as the U3 or the UASP1. However, the instructions are the same if you’re using a non-Plugable dock.

Why do I need to do this? Don’t hard drives already come formatted for me?

Before a new hard drive can be used, it must be initialized, partitioned, and formatted. Pre-assembled external drives and enclosures from Western Digital, Seagate, and others generally come pre-formatted for Windows or Mac. These solutions are not without their drawbacks, however. Aside from often being more expensive than a DIY external drive, the hard drives inside these enclosures are also often accessed in a proprietary way. This means that if the enclosure itself ever fails, the data on the drive inside it may not be accessible without expensive data recovery services.

When you purchase a “bare” (also known as an “OEM”) hard drive, it does not come pre-formatted. The reason for this is that there are various operating systems in use, and they all have their own types of formatting which are often times incompatible with the formatting used in other operating systems.

Are there any precautions to take before proceeding?

Before covering the steps necessary to initialize and format the drive, a brief word of caution. Initializing and formatting a hard drive will erase *all* information on that drive. In the case of a new drive, that’s not a matter for concern – it doesn’t have anything on it to worry about. However, if there are already existing drives in use on the system, it’s absolutely critical to make sure that close attention is paid so that the wrong drive isn’t erased. If you have multiple external hard drives connected, we recommend disconnecting them prior to initializing your new drive, just as a precaution.

Okay, let’s get started!

  1. Insert the hard drive into the USB enclosure. Connect the power cable to your enclosure, and attach the USB cable between your enclosure and your PC. Use the power button or rocker switch to turn on the dock.
  2. Now we’ll want to head to Disk Management. In Windows 8.1, the most straightforward way to get there is to right-click on the “Start” button (aka the Windows logo where the Start button used to be) and select “Disk Management”. (For Windows XP, Vista, and 7, Disk Management can be accessed by right-clicking on “Computer”, selecting “Manage”, then opening Disk Management in the left side of the Computer Management window that opens.)

  3. 1

  4. When you open Disk Management, it should automatically detect a new, non-initialized drive and display a pop-up window asking if you’d like to initialize the drive. Again, please be sure that the drive in question contains no existing data before proceeding!There will be two options for how to initialize the drive, MBR or GPT. MBR is the older legacy method of initializing drives, and is only necessary if the drive will need to be accessed on a Windows XP system (XP is incompatible with GPT). GPT *must* be selected for drives over 2TB in size. If MBR is selected on a drive larger than 2TB, you will only be able to access the first 2TB of the drive, regardless of what the drive’s capacity is. GPT disks should be accessible on Windows systems running Vista and later.

  5. 2_Disk_Init

    (If you’re interested in much, much more information about MBR vs. GPT, Microsoft has a very thorough post here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/dn640535%28v=vs.85%29.aspx )

  6. Once you’ve made your selection and clicked on “OK” to initialize the drive, it’s time to partition and format. If desired, multiple partitions can be created, but this guide assumes that, like most people, you want the entire drive to be accessed through a single drive letter/partition.Each Disk that Windows recognizes is given a number and has a horizontal bar representing the space of the disk any any partitions that exist. Since we’re working with a drive that contains no data, it should be listed as “Unallocated” space. It’s also a good idea to check that the drive size is what you’d expect it to be. In the following example, we’re working with a 1TB drive, which Windows reports as 931.39 GB.

    3_Unallocated_1

    Right-click the unallocated space, and select “New Simple Volume”.

    4_SimpleVol

    You will be guided through a series of steps. For the vast majority of users, just accepting the defaults and clicking “Next” will be fine. The two items that you may wish to change are the “Assign the following drive letter” if you’d like your drive to have a specific letter assigned, and the “Volume label”, which will be the name you see associated with the drive letter in Windows File Explorer.

    steps

After these few quick steps, you’re all done and your new drive should be ready for use!

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Mac OS X iPad Charging Error with iPads on BC 1.2 Charging Hubs

With the addition of new BC 1.2 (USB-IF Battery Charging Standard) compatible charging hubs to our product line we wanted to shed some light on a bug we have discovered for Mac users. When using any of the following products an OS X pop-up error message may occur that claims the users iPad is not charging through the hub:

macos_bc12_charging_error

Click to enlarge.

When checking charging status on the iPad itself, it shows that it is indeed charging and can also be confirmed in iTunes. To be completely sure, we test charging rates using a multimeter and confirmed the iPad was charging at the standard 1.5 amp BC 1.2 CDP (Charging Downstream Port) charge rate.

While this error message can be a nuisance, fortunately there is no cause for alarm as the iPad will be charging properly. For users who wish to disable this error message please see the steps below:

To turn off iPad notifications:
  1. Open the Terminal application (found in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder), then type the following:

    sudo defaults write com.apple.usbd NoiPadNotifications -bool YES

  2. Then press enter (you may need to enter your password)
  3. Now type:

    sudo killall usbd

  4. Press enter
  5. Reboot computer
To turn them back on:
  1. Open the Terminal and type:

    sudo defaults delete com.apple.usbd NoiPadNotifications

  2. Press enter
  3. Type:

    sudo killall usbd 

  4. Press enter
  5. Reboot computer

If you have any questions, please contact our support for additional assistance, we’re more than happy to help!

Plugable Announces Desk Clamping 6 Outlet Surge Protector with 2 USB Charging Ports

mainAround the office, we’re constantly needing to connect and charge new devices. It’s always a struggle to find a power outlet with enough open spots, and getting many larger plugs to fit, and of course the battle in the dark to actually find an outlet while you’re crawling on the floor under your desk. Plugable’s new desk clamping surge protector helps avoid all of these frustrations thanks to the unique desk clamping design, the 2 oversized “wall-wart” capable outlets, and the 2-port 10.5W (2.1A shared) USB charger built in to eliminate the need for separate USB chargers.

No longer will you need to climb under your desk, searching in the dark to find an open outlet. Instead, just plug it in at arms height!

2-On desk

With up to 2100 joule protection, the PS6-USB2DC offers better surge suppression than many other bargain surge protectors. Joules are a measure of how large a surge is, so a higher joule rating means a protector is able to suppress a larger surge — so the higher the joule rating, the better protection a suppressor offers.

USB Charging
Battery charging over USB has become a standard practice but the actual charging behavior of different devices is often unpredictable and sometimes disappointing. The devices themselves decide how much current to draw and manufacturers haven’t settled on a single standard. We’ve been working to test our products with as many different devices as possible and publish the results so it’s easy to determine the charging behavior to expect from your device on each of our USB products. These are the results for the devices we’ve tested on this device so far.

text color update
The "MAX of mA with Host On" is a bit confusing at first glance. The easiest way to understand this is that these values are the maximum reported charging rate (mA) when connected to a computer (host) that is powered on. The "Max of mA with Host Off" is simply the opposite, it is the charging rate (mA) when there is no connected computer (host) or if the computer is turned off.

Some entries in the charging sheet contain blank spaces for the syncing capabilities, that is because we have not had a chance to test that device yet for syncing.

Note that some devices, may charge only at slow "trickle charge" rates, and not indicate they are charging. These are shown as a 0 charge rate.

Don't see your device? We also have a list of customer supplied reports on other devices here: plugable.com/support/charging

Still don't see your device? We'd love to hear your experience. Enter your charging results into our charging form and we'll include it in our results data.

Not satisfied with how your devices charge?
Take a look at the USB-MC1 charging adapter. This charging adapter let's you turn any USB port on a powered USB hub or computer into a 1A charging port. The only limitations is that the AC adapter of the powered USB hub needs to be rated for at least 1A for each USB charging adapter. For instance, you won't be able to turn your 10 Port USB 2.0 Hub into a 10 port charging station as the USB hub comes with a 2.5A AC adapter. This means that you can charge at most 2 devices using the USB Charging Adapters, because each adapter will consume 1A leaving .5A for any other devices on the hub.

Let us know if you have any questions at all about our new product. And thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

Plugable 6 Outlet Power Surge Protector Clamping Desk Mountable with Built-In 10.5W 2-Port USB Charger for Android, ... Product Details
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