How To Clean a Flash Drive Completely With Windows

A flash drive can be formatted, but there is some information that is retained in the process.  This information can be various things; it could be an unwanted Master Boot Record; it could be an unwanted partitioning of the disk causing it to appear smaller than it actually is.  If a format won’t fix a problem then “cleaning” the disk will most likely fix the problem.  This information is also applicable to external hard drives and SD cards.

Step 1

Connect the flash drive to the computer and open Explorer to “Computer” (Windows Vista and 7) or “This PC” (Windows 8 and 8.1).  Look at the drive letter and name (“JOEL (H:)” in my example).  Remember this so you don’t accidentally erase a different disk!

1-1

Step 2

Open the Start Screen (Windows 8 and 8.1) or the Start Menu (Windows Vista and 7).  Type “diskpart.exe” and push enter.  If the User Account Control asks you if you want to do this then select “Yes”.

2-1

Step 3

Type “list volume”.

3

Step 4

In the list find the Volume that matches the drive name and letter that you found in Step 1.  Type “select volume #”, but replace # with the volume number of your disk.  In my example I typed “select volume 6” because the drive with the label of “JOEL” is Volume 6.

4

Step 5

Type “list disk”.  Verify that the Size of the disk marked with the asterisk matches your flash drive!  My flash drive is 2 GB (approximately 2,000 MB) which is close enough to 1,959 MB.  The size measurement will rarely match exactly to what the disk says it’s capacity is.  I also have a 2 GB SD card connected.  If I was not sure I had the correct disk I would have removed the SD card and started at Step 1 so I don’t accidentally erase data from the SD card.

5

Step 6

WARNING: This will “erase” all data from the selected disk!  If you selected the wrong disk in Step 4 then you might erase data that you want to keep.

Type “clean”.

6

Step 7

Type “create partition primary”.  This will create an unformatted partition to fill the disk.

7

Step 8

Type “assign”.  This will give the give the drive a letter so it will appear in Explorer.  At this point you may see the dialog box shown in Step 9.

7.5

Step 9

You can close DiskPart.  If you do not see the dialog box saying you need for format the disk, then go back to Explorer and try to navigate to the flash drive.  It will ask you if you want to format the disk.  Click “Format disk”.

8-1

Step 10

You can leave the settings at their defaults, if you would like, or change them if you know what the settings are.  The Volume label is the “name” of your flash drive.  Click “Start”.  On the warning that appears, click OK.

9

Conclusion

If you didn’t encounter any error messages then congratulations, your drive has been cleaned!

My Painful Encounter With Depression

When I was about 15 years old I had depression.  It was literally the hardest time in my life.  I didn’t keep track of how long I had it; it felt like forever, but my estimation is somewhere between one and two years. 

So what happened in my life to cause depression?  Nothing.  I was eating healthy; I had a family that loved me; my life was easy.  I may have obtained the disorder because I was homeschooled and got lonely sometimes, but more likely I was just at an age where hormones were messing with my mind and body.

What Does Depression Do To the Mind?

It’s a disorder.  It basically messes with a person’s mind so they no longer think or experience things as they should.  In my case whenever I tried to think about the future of my life I would just see a brick wall in the distance in my mental view of the future.  With all the logic thought I had, it was impossible for my brain to see around the wall.

I love spaghetti!  But when I was depressed I would shovel it into my mouth because I knew I needed to eat, not because it was enjoyable at all.  I even wondered how I would survive as an adult if I was not able to enjoy any food.

The same lack of enjoyment applies to interests.  I didn’t really have a hobby at the time, but there were things I knew I used to enjoy, but no longer did.  Video games just got frustrating and boring.  Family events were somewhat fun, but afterward I’d just feed as terrible as before.

Maybe If My Family Loved Me More?

That’s not possible, because they loved me as much as possible.  They had no idea that I had depression.  It’s quite easy to hide from people who are not looking for the signs of it.  I very often searched the internet for self-help and information.  There was nothing there to fix it.  After what I estimate was about a year of suffering, I confessed to my parents.  This was their only mistake: they went into denial.  They told me I was just sad.  (Severely sad for a whole year with nothing to trigger it?  I don’t think so.)  That was pretty much the first and last time I mentioned it to them.  They still loved me, but didn’t want to believe that something was wrong with me.

Isn’t Depression Just a Severe Sadness?

NO!  Sadness is triggered by an event, depression isn’t always.  Sadness can be considered a symptom of depression, but depression itself is the mind not thinking how it should.

Is There Any Hope?

Yes!  If you are a teenager then it’s possibly just a phase, a very long one.  But don’t give up hope.  I know from personal experience that it feels like you are going to depressed forever, but I am living proof that’s not always the case.

If you are an adult, know your depression in permanent, or suicidal then talk to a councilor.  That is one step that I personally did not take.  If your parents refuse to pay to get help for you then find help elsewhere.  Call the suicide hotline if you need to (1-800-273-8255).

 

If you have any questions about depression then please ask in the comments.  I will do my best to answer questions from my experience.

4 Reasons to Send Back Junk Mail

You probably receive those “preapproved credit offers” in the mail like everybody else who has not opted-out.  So what can you do about those?  You can do the obvious: opt-out; or you can do like me and have a little fun.  All of those scams offers come with an envelope that says “Postage will be paid by addressee.”  That means sticking that envelope in the mailbox is going to cost the company sending the junk.  But is that rude or unethical?  Here are a few reasons why I consider it a good thing to do.

Why I Like Reading (Kindle Paperwhite Review)

How I Started Reading Regularly

Let me preface this product review with the history of my attitude toward books in general.  The only time I would read books was when I was forced to for school.  Because of that I could not understand how people enjoyed reading.  A while back I decided to try reading recreationally.  I started with a book of a movie that I recently watched, The Hunger Games.  Someone I know borrowed it from the library and let me read the book.  I wasn’t going to make a trip to the library to start this journey because I thought it would turn out boring and I wouldn’t enjoy reading.  I was wrong.  I enjoyed the book and ended up reading the rest of the series.
My reading journey continued with some classics that I have heard quoted many times.  I learned why the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42 in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  I met HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Now that I found that I did enjoy reading I was looking for the easiest and cheapest way to do it.  My first, and most obvious option, was to visit the library.  In the modern world of technology, that is time consuming and expensive.  After a little research I found that my local library subscribes to an ebook library called Overdrive.  This was great because I already owned an Android tablet so it would be similar to reading a book rather than sitting at a computer.

My Review of DomainTools

First, I would like to clarify that this review is not of the content or service that DomainTools provides, but rather a review of their business practices.
I have enjoyed some of the limited free services that they provide.  They provide free Whois, DNS, and a few other lookup tools.  The types of lookups that use their database rather than just making an on-the-spot query cost money as expected.
A few days ago I did a Whois lookup and wanted to see what other domains were registered in that person’s name.  This is a paid report of an estimated $100.  I saw the link for a free trial of the paid account.  I signed up because they are a popular website and I expected I could delete my account when I was done.  As you may expect they require payment information so after the free trial they can bill me.  I entered a credit card expecting I could delete it later.

Adobe Acrobat Student & Teacher + the Environment

Adobe has a great deal for students and teachers.  I happen to be the former.  After hunting around for the best deal I found Amazon had the best price ($69.99 on sale).  I thought “Great, I will have a product key to activate the expired trial tonight if it doesn’t take long to verify that I’m a student.”  I found the PC Download, but it was “Currently Unavailable”.  I settled for getting the box product with free shipping.  I like the warm fuzzy feelings of having an official-looking product key sticker.

Acquiring your serial numberWhen it arrived I was excited to find the product key and activate the trial.  I opened the box and found a piece of paper that had instructions for “Acquiring your serial number” with a product code.  It was Friday night when I submitted my proof eligibility so I had to wait until Monday before getting my product key.

What annoys me the most about this is that they suggest to use the 30-day trial while waiting.  I had already used up the trial so I had no access to Acrobat for about 6 days.

Why am I annoyed about the need to ship a product and verify my eligibility?  That is because the box that they shipped contained only ONE useful piece of information, the product code (not the product key to activate the product, but the code that I give to a 3rd party along with eligibility proof so they can give me a product key).  I believe it’s Adobe’s fault, not Amazon’s, fault that the PC Download is not “currently available”.  Thus to get the good deal I was forced to use the same amount of money to buy the boxed product that required a CD to be burnt, a box to be created and printed, the shipping courier to deliver the box to my house, the bubble envelope that went in the trash, and a few more things that the download version would not require.

 

But on the other side of things, I do not need to worry about burning my own CD or keeping track of the file.  I enjoy getting a physical product with my purchases because that’s what purchasing something felt like when I was a kid.

The Best OS Ever

I was a Windows "fanboy" for a very long time. Whenever I would use a Mac I was disgusted and annoyed, but some recent changes have happened. I got a "job" that required me to use Linux, specifically Ubuntu Linux. I did mess with Ubuntu a little before, but I was never able to make it my primary OS because of the lack on Windows programs. When I was required to use Ubuntu a lot for my "job" then I used Wine to run a few Windows apps, but I mostly learned how to use the native apps. Eventually I mainly used webapps and an IM client native to the OS. At that time I didn't really have any dependence on platform-specific software. I was able to learn the internals of Linux much better so I felt a lot more "at home".

A while after I was OS independent I wanted to do some video editing. I did have some experience with Final Cut Express so I didn't want to learn a Windows video editor on a project that I already had very little time to do. I obtained OS X and Final Cut Express and found it easy to go a few days without using Windows or Linux, but I did hate almost every minute of it. On Windows and Linux the keyboard shortcuts make sense, but on OS X they are much slower to use than on other OSes. It's not because I wasn't used to them, it's because they are illogical. To take a screenshot you don't push Print Screen; it's like Command+Shift+3. That's just one example, but there are many others just as painful.

But after all this experience I have found that when I do not have a specific goal I use Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu is a bit faster than Windows. Compiz Fusion is the main reason I like Ubuntu; I have no complaint of pretty graphics (and even a lot of useful features). Also I really like that it's a free OS; I don't need to pay $200 or $30 every few years. My only complaint is a lot of software works like it's free with quite a few bugs.