Friday, January 2, 2015

USB Flash Drives suitable for End User Install

As you may or may not know both NetScanTools Pro and the Managed Switch Port Mapping Tool can run from a USB flash drive. We can supply the software on a suitable drive or, as the title implies, you can install the software on your own USB flash drive.

In order to install on your own flash drive, we have two basic requirements.

Your USB Flash Drive must be a 'removable' flash drive.

We are talking here about the tradition of the drives showing up as ‘removable’ on a Windows computer. Windows 8 changed all that.

Windows 8 certified USB Flash Drives appear as type ‘Local Drive’ (fixed disk/hard disk) as opposed to the traditional type ‘Removable Disk’. The effect of this is that any software that expects to be running from a removable disk (USB Flash Drive) will not work properly if the USB drive appears as a fixed disk. That includes both NetScanTools Pro USB Version and the Managed Switch Port Mapping Tool.

The difference is apparently the state of a bit or bits in the USB flash drive controller. Some manufacturers have a utility to flip this bit and others just put out Windows 8 certified drives in addition to their standard design flash drives.

The USB’s we use are Windows 8 Compatible which means it appears as a removable flash drive – and they are also USB v3 in addition to USB v2 compatible. Look carefully at the packaging Windows 8 logo or the online description and check the wording when they talk about Windows 8. 
You can tell the state of your USB Flash Drive by opening File Explorer and right clicking on the flash drive and selecting Properties. Look for Type: Removable Disk on the General tab. That’s what you want if you are using our software on a USB flash drive.

Your USB Flash Drive must be serialized with a hardware serial number.

This is usually not an issue but we have run into one end user's drive that was not serialized. If you want to confirm that it is serialized, there is a utility from Microsoft called UVCViewx86.exe that will show all connected USB devices including the serial number. It is older and works on everything from Windows XP through 8.1 - there is a newer one called USBView that works only on newer operating systems. Your flash drive must be serialized.

Those are the only two requirements we have for putting the USB versions of our software on your flash drive.

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