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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General question/information

The flash drive / Portable HDD is not accepting my PIN code

There are 2 reasons why the iStorage products would not accept the PIN code:
1. The PIN is incorrect, and it is not being accepted by the USB Flash and/or Hard drive;

2. The PIN is being entered too quickly.
The later one is a common problem. As the user grown more comfortable with our products, they enter the PIN at a fast pace. iStorage suggest entering the PIN slower to allow the products to register each key press.

BadUSB issue explained

An exploit that allows attackers to turn a normal USB device into a malicious one.
BadUSB is a theoretical exploit that was presented by SR Labs at the Black Hat conference in August of 2014.
It appears to demonstrate that as long as there is computer access to a USB device such as a USB flash drive, a malicious code can be programmed to exploit the USB controller of the USB device via firmware programming tools and so various malicious functions can be applied to the compromised USB device.
For more details please see here.

What kind of flash memory do we use in our datAshur’s and what’s its life expectancy?

The datAshur drives are primarily designed for everyday use as a portable storage drive to move files from one computer to another.
The question of the full write and erase of data and their durability is a very difficult to answer. The NAND flash components have a lifespan that is limited to around 10,000 or 100,000 program/erase cycles depending on the memory technology used.

MLC vs. SLC (Multi-Level Cell vs. Single-Level Cell)

MLC flash can store several bits of data per cell, but due to this, are not as durable as SLC NAND flash. MLC flash usually has a lifespan of 10,000 cycles.
SLC stands for Single-Level-Cell. SLC flash only stores 1 bit of data per cell, but this allows the cell to last much longer than MLC flash. SLC flash is usually faster than MLC, but because it does not store as much data, it is more expensive to create a drive of equivalent capacity to an MLC drive. SLC flash usually has a lifespan of 50,000 to 100,000 cycles.
As is common place amongst the more other brands, iStorage datAshur drives use MLC NAND Flash chips and show very good reliability and will give you good service throughout their lifetime.
It’s also worth noting that datAshur MTBF is around 750,000 hours based on ideal environmental conditions and barring any physical issues the datAshur should last around 20 years of reasonable use.
It’s always prudent to keep backups of your data and would recommend that you do so.
Useful information – NAND flash memory
http://www.supertalent.com/datasheets/SLC_vs_MLC%20whitepaper.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_flash_drive
http://www.ehow.com/about_5393136_life-expectancy-usb-flash-drive.html
http://www.storage-switzerland.com/Articles/Entries/2012/3/6_Why_Flash_Wears_Out_and_How_to_Make_it_Last_Longer.html

What are SSD’s?

SSD’s are hard drives made from memory chips which are controlled by a controller. Traditional hard drives use magnetic disks that rotate whilst the heads read and write to and from it, this can take time for the hard drive to spin up and seek to the correct part of the disk, this is also known as seek time. Seek times on SSD’s are incredibly low due to there are no moving parts data is transmitted from memory chips to the controller then to the PC.

Lifespan of SSD’s

The lifespan of an SSD is determined by the number of cycles per block of memory and how much you use it. Reading from an SSD does not use up cycles, but writing does. All MLC drives should last at least 5 years of constant OS usage, with SLC drives lasting much longer. However, other factors, such as wear levelling and write amplification can have an impact on lifespan, and it is possible for a high-quality MLC drive to last longer than a low quality SLC SSD.

For example, Intel’s X25-M SSD’s are MLC, and they are rated to last for 100GB of writes every day, for 5 years. No home user would write 100GB to an SSD every day, so an Intel SSD is likely to last 10-15+ years, by which time, technology will have advanced anyway.

A bonus with SSD’s, is that when they do fail, you will still be able to read from them, so you can still recover data, unlike a traditional HDD. (However, circumstances can vary for this situation to occur.)

Durability of SSD’s

SSD’s are incredibly durable, because they contain no moving parts, unlike an HDD. Also, because SSD’s do not store data using magnetism, they are less likely to be affected by magnets, meaning the only way to break an SSD is to physically break it. SSD’s are rated at up to 1500G shock before damage, which means they are also very secure from drops, which would make them ideal for portable drives, when costs come down.

Power SSD’s

It is thought that SSD’s use less power than HDD’s, and this is true, for the most part, as an SSD in use will draw less power than an HDD in use. However, at idle, it is possible for an HDD to be more efficient than an SSD because the HDD shuts down completely.
This means an SSD is not guaranteed to draw less power overall or increase laptop battery life.

Benefits of using SSD’s

The benefits of using an SSD over a conventional HDD are huge; they offer higher read and write speeds, smaller form factor than desktop HDD’s, much faster access times, and the lack of heat and noise production.
Read and writes are higher than an HDD simply due to the fact they use flash NAND memory. An HDD is limited by the speed it can spin at, and the faster they spin, the more noise and heat is produced. SSD’s usually offer between up to 512MB/s read (limited by SATA 2), and 70MB/s to 512MB/s writes (limited by SATA 2), giving them great performance when opening large programs.
Currently, most consumer SSD’s come in the 2.5″ form factor, making them smaller than 3.5″ HDD, allowing several drives to fit in the same slot. OCZ Colossus is a 3.5″ SSD which uses a raid controller within the 3.5″ case to make the SSD around twice as fast for sustained reads and writes.
Access times are virtually nothing, <0.2ms. Compared to a Raptor’s 7.4ms or a regular 3.5″ 7200rpm HDD’s 12ms+, this is exceptional, and makes them brilliant for an operating system. SSD’s produce absolutely no noise, which is a clear advantage over HDD’s, and a godsend in “silent” PC’s. They also produce little to no heat, which means they can operate in PC cases without any airflow. These are ideal for games, levels and maps will load incredibly quickly compared to standard hard drives.

How does this compare the datAshur SSD?

The life time of our datAshur SSD is a complex formula which works on the principle stated above. For a 120GB key, if you wrote 10 GB of data to the drive per day, at a Write Amplification of 3x, you could expect the drive to reach its maximum endurance in about 35 years. (The larger the files, the less amplification, the longer to reach maximum endurance.)
The drive will be expected to outlast the battery, which has a life expectancy of about 15 years.

What do I do if I forget my PIN?

Should you forget your PIN for any of our drives. Please contact your IT administrator or service desk if you were issued the device in a company environment. They may be able to assist with admin PINS if created. If this is a personal device, it may have to be reset.

iStorage DO NOT have any backdoor pins to help retrieve lost data.

Windows to GO

The datAshur SSD drive is a compatible drive to work with Windows to GO (although not certified by Microsoft). It will work perfectly. To use Windows to Go you will need a fully licensed version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise or Windows 10 Enterprise.

Whitelisting iStorage products

iStorage products can be whitelisting on corporate network’s by using the VID/PID of the iStorage drive required.
Device Instance – All iStorage products have a unique device instance. This is shown as a 16-character number after the PID\VID information and is completely unique to each iStorage product. This means if there is Device Control setup on a network or host and an iStorage device needs adding to a `Allowed` device list (or `Whitelist`, `Good list`) then each individual iStorage product can be added and yet if an unknown iStorage product is used i.e. not a corporately issued iStorage product this will be blocked just like any other unauthorised device.
See the examples of device instances below you will see 2 iStorage datAshur’s that are attached to this computer and their unique ID appears under `USB Mass Storage Device` and they are both different.

iStorage Product VID PID
diskAshur 0x0984 0x0317
diskAshur DT 0x0984 0x0316
diskAshur PRO- FIPS 0x0984 0x01403
diskGenie 0x0984 0x0092
datAshur 8GB 0x2009 0x5008
datAshur 16GB 0x2009 0x5016
datAshur 32GB 0x2009 0x5032
datAshur Personal 8GB 0x2009 0x6008
datAshur Personal 16GB 0x2009 0x6016
datAshur Personal 32GB 0x2009 0x6032
datAshur Personal2 8GB 0x2D9B 0x6108
datAshur Personal2 16GB 0x2D9B 0x6116
datAshur Personal2 32GB 0x2D9B 0x6132
datAshur Personal2 64GB 0x2D9B 0x6164
datAshur SSD 0x0984 0x1408
datAshur Pro 4GB 0x2009 0x7004
datAshur Pro 8GB 0x2009 0x7008
datAshur Pro 16GB 0x2009 0x7016
datAshur Pro 32GB 0x2009 0x7032
datAshur Pro 64GB 0x2009 0x7064
datAshur Pro 128GB 0x2009 0x7128
diskAshur2 0x2D9B 0x1000
diskAshur PRO2 0x2D9B 0x2000
diskAshur DT2 0x2D9B 0x3000