Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) and IEEE 1394 or "Firewire" interfaces allow for quick and easy connection of a wide variety of external devices to your computer. Here you'll find questions and answers relating to the USB and 1394 interfaces as well as the devices that implement and use them.
Connecting a PCMCIA device to a USB port certainly might be possible given what's available on the market today.
Copying a USB drive without a computer is unlikely. Even a USB duplication device will need to be some sort of computer.
Failing flash drives can be compensated for with regular backups. But you can avoid the issue entirely if it's inexpensive and easy to replace.
USB 1.1 and 2.0 cables aren't all that different, and can often be interchangeable. Here's what to look for.
Using USB 3 on a USB 2 computer is absolutely an option! There is a lot of compatibility built into the way USB is designed.
USB connection problems can be due to many things, including bad ports, bad software, or bad devices. I'll discuss the difficulty in telling which is which.
If there is malware on the flash drive, it could very well be in the files from that drive that you are copying to your computer.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 is a significantly faster version of USB 1.1. Determining which you have is not at all obvious. But it is fairly easy.
I'll run through options to fix your USB port if your computer crashes on inserting any USB device. It can be software, but it's probably hardware.
Sometimes fixing a pesky problem with a hardware device is as simple as forcing Windows to re-install its driver. I'll show you how.
Some USB devices simply require you simply plug it in to use them, but reviewing documentation that came with the device before you do is important.
The fact that you're trying to format the device tells me that it's not a file system permissions issue. Formatting should just work.
Older computers may have only the slower USB 1.1 interface. Adding USB 2.0 isn't difficult, but it does require a hardware addition.
USB Thumbdrives or flash drives are a non-obvious but easy way to spread malware. You should be quite careful when dealing with an unknown device.
"Device cannot be stopped" can be a frustrating error if there's no obvious cause. Turning off device power or unplugging anyway isn't really safe.
Automating the steps required to "safely remove hardware" isn't at all obvious, but it is possible.
USB comes in two versions that run at two different speeds. A faster device plugged into a slower interface works, but works more slowly than it could.
If your computer has Firewire, you'll see a 1394 network adapter in your configuration. It can be used for networking, but I don't recommend it.
Windows tries to prevent corruption by disallowing removal of USB devices that are "in use". Unfortunately it's not always obvious what "in use" means.
We go over some quick fixes to make sure your system recognizes USB devices.
Windows XP supports USB keyboards, but before it boots there's a period where your USB keyboard may, or may not, work.
Write protected USB and other devices will prevent certain types of malicious behaviour, but they will not keep you safe at a public computer.