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VirtualBox is one of the most popular solutions used to manage and run virtual machines. Just like a real computer, it needs a source to boot from. The most straightforward way to run a guest operating system in a virtualized environment is to download a bootable ISO image and then mount it in a virtual CD/DVD drive.

Sometimes, though, you may prefer an alternative. For example, you can boot directly from a USB stick. Since it’s easy to install a Linux distribution on a USB drive, this method allows you to keep an operating system in your pocket and run it anywhere you have access to a virtual machine.

Find the Disk Number Associated with Your USB Drive

Modern editions of Windows associate a number to each disk they can access. This number is needed to use in a subsequent command.

In this dialog type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.

Make note of the disk number associated with your USB drive. For example, in the previous picture the disk number is “1.”

Create a Virtual Raw Disk Associated with Your USB Drive

VirtualBox gives you the option to create a new virtual disk when you launch a new virtual machine. The information you store on this disk gets mapped to a file somewhere on your real storage device. Unfortunately, the graphical user interface doesn’t let you map a virtual disk directly to a real storage device or partition. However, there is a command-line utility, included with the application, that lets you do that.

Change directory to the path where you have installed VirtualBox. By default, this is “C:Program FilesOracleVirtualBox.” If you installed to another path, you may have to modify the next command:






Remember the disk number associated with your USB drive, and change the last digit in the following command, if necessary:

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk






rawdisk \.PhysicalDrive1

For example, if you have an SSD drive in your system and a hard-drive, then the number of your USB disk might be “2” instead of “1,” so the command should become:

A file named “usbdrive.vmdk” is now saved on your desktop. You will use this in the next step.

Add Your USB Drive to the Virtual Machine

In the following picture you can see a Windows installation kit booting directly from an USB drive in a virtual machine.

Potential Problems and Solutions

Keep in mind that every time you want to boot from your USB drive, you have to run VirtualBox with administrator privileges.

On some motherboards, virtualization features are disabled by default. Depending on your CPU, you will have to enable either VT-x on Intel processors or AMD-V on AMD processors. You will find these options in your BIOS or UEFI settings. If VirtualBox only shows you 32-bit versions of operating systems it can host, it’s a sign that these features are inactive. If your CPU supports VT-d or AMD IOMMU equivalent, enable that too, as it may help with performance when booting from a USB device.

Alexandru Andrei

Fell in love with computers when he was four years old. 27 years later, the passion is still burning, fueling constant learning. Spends most of his time in terminal windows and SSH sessions, managing Linux desktops and servers.

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Create An Os X Mavericks Installer Drive In 4 Simple Steps

OS X Mavericks is now available to everyone as a free download, and while you can update as many Macs as you want by downloading the installer repeatedly from the Mac App Store, a better option for many is to create a simple bootable USB install drive. We covered this some time ago using a fairly technical process, but Apple must have realized that method was overly complex for many users and has included a much simpler method to create OS X Mavericks install media. Users will still need to turn to the Terminal to finish the job, but this time around only a single command needs to be executed, making it much easier and faster than the manual approach. We will show you exactly how to create a Mavericks boot installer in four simple steps, even if you have no experience with the command line you’ll be able to do it.

Requirements for this are basic, you will need the free OS X Mavericks installer on a Mac, and an 8GB external drive or greater that you don’t mind being formatted. External hard drives work, as do USB flash drive volumes, and Thunderbolt disks.

1: Download OS X Mavericks for Free

for this are basic, you will need the free OS X Mavericks installer on a Mac, and an 8GB external drive or greater that you don’t mind being formatted. External hard drives work, as do USB flash drive volumes, and Thunderbolt disks.

Yes, OS X Mavericks is a free update for all Mac users. Here is the direct link to the Mac App Store if you haven’t downloaded it yet.

Yes, you can easily re-download Mavericks even if you have already installed it. If you’re using this guide for a re-downloaded version of Mavericks simply jump straight to step #3.

2: Stop When You See This Screen

When Mavericks is done downloading you will see the screen below to begin the installation – stop – and do not continue yet if you want to make a USB install drive.

3: Connect the External Drive

Now is the time to connect the external drive or USB flash disk to the Mac that you want to convert into the installer, so plug it in. Remember, this external drive will be formatted to turn into the Mavericks bootable installation volume, so don’t use an external drive that has important data or documents on it.

NOTE: You may wish to format the external drive with a bootable GUID partition table beforehand to insure that it can boot. This is not always necessary depending on how the drive was originally formatted, but if you find the drive is not bootable then this is probably why.

Open Disk Utility, and select the newly attached external drive

Choose “Apply”

This may or may not be optional, depending on if the external drive was formatted with a GUID partition beforehand or not. If you have any doubts, do it anyway.

4: Launch Terminal to Make the Mavericks Install Media

The Terminal app is found within /Applications/Utilities/ or you can launch it from Spotlight. Once at the command line, you will need to enter the following command exactly:

sudo /Applications/Install OS X chúng tôi --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X chúng tôi --nointeraction

Be sure the entire command string is on a single line. You will need to replace “Untitled” in the volume path with the name of your external drive that you want to turn into the installer disk, this should match the name of the external USB flash drive exactly. The Terminal will wrap text so it may look something like this, be sure there are no extra spaces added and no extra line breaks in the text or the command will fail:

If the command fails, check your command syntax. It must be precisely entered with no additional characters, spaces, or breaks to function as intended. Do not modify the command beyond specifying the volume name.

Because the command uses sudo you will need to enter the Macs administrator password to continue the process, note that when typing admin passwords into the command line using sudo or su the password text will not display and it will appear as if nothing is being typed, that is a security feature, just type the password as usual and hit return.

Once executed you will see a progress indicator in the Terminal that looks like the following, the entire creation process is automated but can take some time so it’s best to leave alone for a while until you see the final “Done” text.


Exit out of Terminal and return to the Finder if you want to confirm the OS X Mavericks installation drive was created. You will see it in the Finder (or desktop) labeled as “Install OS X Mavericks” and the volume contains a single installer app.

You can now choose to install Mavericks with the original installer that you stopped at in the first step, or use the installation volume you just created.

For what it’s worth, the original USB creation method continues to work, but this new approach is much faster and generally more user friendly, making it the preferred choice for just about everyone.

This drive is a standard OS X installer but it’s also bootable, meaning it can be used for upgrading from prior versions of Mac OS X (Mavericks 10.9 supports direct upgrades from Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, Lion 10.7, or Mountain Lion 10.8), or to perform entirely fresh installations. Regardless of the Mac being installed on, it’s a good idea to prepare the Mac for the 10.9 upgrade by cleaning it up a bit and backing up the data.

Booting from the Mavericks Install Drive

Booting a Mac from the freshly created Mavericks install drive is easy:

Connect the Mavericks installer drive and reboot the Mac

Hold down the Option key during boot to bring up the startup disk menu

Select the Install OS X Mavericks media to boot from the installer volume, if it’s a USB drive it will have an orange icon

This will boot directly into the Mavericks installer where you can upgrade or reinstall OS X. The install is almost entirely automated once you select the volume, and the total installation time is usually about 35 minutes to 1 hour, though it may take longer depending on the Mac model.


How To Make A Macos Mojave Beta Bootable Install Usb Drive

A bootable macOS Mojave installer has several benefits, including the ability to format a target disk, easily perform clean installs, the ability to install the beta on multiple Macs without having to re-download the installer, and of course since it’s bootable it can be used as a troubleshooting device for macOS Mojave beta Macs as well.

The tutorial here will walk through how to make a bootable USB install drive for the macOS Mojave 10.14 beta. Note the commands for creating a bootable installer are different for macOS Mojave public beta and macOS Mojave developer beta.

Requirements to Make a macOS Mojave 10.14 Beta USB Install Drive

Before getting stated, you’ll need to meet a few simple requirements to be able to properly create a functioning macOS Mojave beta installer boot drive:

A blank USB flash drive (16GB or larger is recommended), this will be erased to become the boot installer drive for macOS Mojave beta

A Mac with internet access, and the Mac App Store

The macOS Mojave 10.14 beta installer application downloaded in full from the Mac App Store and residing in the /Applications/ folder (direct link)

A Mac that is compatible with macOS Mojave

Patience and some technical knowledge, with experience using the command line

Building a USB install drive for macOS Mojave beta requires using the command line, where exact syntax must be used in order to avoid erroneously erasing the wrong volume. Be sure to backup the Mac before beginning this process.

How to Make a Bootable macOS Mojave 10.14 Beta USB Installer Drive

First, connect the USB flash drive to the Mac (if the USB flash drive is not yet formatted as MacOS Journaled Extended, do that first with Disk Utility)

Download the macOS Mojave developer beta installer application from the Mac App Store

When the macOS Mojave 10.14 beta installer has finished downloading it will automatically launch, quit out of the Mojave beta installer app, be sure to leave the “Install macOS 10.14” or “Install macOS Mojave” within the /Applications/ folder on the Mac

Now open the “Terminal” application, found in /Applications/Utilities/ directory

Enter the following command at the Terminal command line, replace “UNTITLED” with the USB drive name if necessary for your situation, and use the command line relevant to your version of the macOS Mojave beta:

MacOS Mojave Final Version

sudo /Applications/Install macOS chúng tôi --volume /Volumes/UNTITLED && echo Mojave Drive Created

MacOS Mojave Public Beta

sudo /Applications/Install macOS Mojave chúng tôi --volume /Volumes/UNTITLED && echo Mojave Drive Created

MacOS Mojave 10.14 Developer Beta

sudo /Applications/Install macOS 10.14 chúng tôi --volume /Volumes/UNTITLED && echo Mojave Drive Created

Confirm the syntax is correct and hit the Return key and enter the administrator password as required by sudo

The MacOS Mojave 10.14 beta installer drive will begin immediately, it can take a while to finish

After the macOS Mojave 10.14 beta USB installer drive has finished being created, you can use it just like you would any other bootable Mac OS install drive. You can immediately run the installer, or eject the drive and use it on another Mac, or reboot the computer with it attached so that you can boot from the Mojave beta installer to install the update, perform a clean install, or partition the Mac to install Mojave beta onto that partition instead. There are many options available for how to use the macOS Mojave beta install drive.

* If you are getting a “command not found” error, it’s likely that the syntax entered is incorrect, or the Install macOS 10.14 beta app installer is not downloaded and located within the /Applications directory.

Note this applies to the current macOS Mojave developer beta, we will update with instructions for the macOS Mojave public beta when it becomes available.

How to Boot from the macOS Mojave Beta USB Install Drive

Connect the macOS Mojave 10.14 beta install drive to a Mac via USB if you have not done so already

Reboot the Mac and hold down the OPTION key

At the boot menu choose the macOS Mojave 10.14 beta installer volume to boot from

After you have booted from the macOS Mojave 10.14 beta USB drive, you can perform an installation of macOS Mojave beta, run Disk Utility to format or partition a drive, work with Time Machine, use the Terminal, or perform other common tasks from the bootable volume.

Once booted from the USB drive you can proceed with installing macOS High Sierra, using the Disk Utility tools to format or erase a volume, work with Time Machine, and other similar tasks. If you are aiming to install macOS Mojave beta onto a Mac, be sure the target Mac meets the macOS Mojave system requirements for compatibility.


How To Clean A Usb

Though you can protect the USB-C ports on many devices with the right case, a plug, or even just a piece of tape, you’ll inevitably have to clean a port out at some point. It’s easy for debris to get trapped in such a small space, especially when it’s part of a phone in a lint-filled pocket. Here’s how to clean any USB-C port in a minute or two — and what to avoid in the process.


Blow air into the port to clear out loose debris. You’ll probably want to use a can of compressed air.

If you still suspect there’s debris, find a toothpick or similar object small enough to get into the port that isn’t metal, sharp, or fuzzy.

Insert the cleaning tool from step 2, gently working around the sides. Try to avoid the USB connector prong.

Use another blast of air to force out loosened debris.


How to clean a USB-C port

What you should avoid when cleaning your USB-C port

How to clean a USB-C port

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The main principle here is to be careful. We’ll go into that more in the next section, but if you damage the electronics in a USB-C port, the connection might stop working. You might even short out the device as a whole, though that’s unlikely.

Follow this checklist:

First, blow air into the port to clear out loose debris. If you’re lucky this may be the only step involved, but you will probably want a can of compressed air. Aim the included nozzle straw directly into the port and use one-second bursts. Be sure to hold the can itself perfectly vertical, however, since angling it can potentially spray liquids.

If you still suspect there’s debris in the port, find a toothpick, a disposable dental pick, or a similar object small enough to get into the port that isn’t metal, sharp, or fuzzy. In the case of a wooden toothpick, you may need to file it down for size reasons.

Insert the cleaning tool from step 2, gently working around the sides to scrape out material. Try to avoid the actual USB connector prong at the back.

Use another blast of air to force out any newly-loosened debris.

If there’s still material in the port, repeat steps 2 through 4.

What you should avoid when cleaning your USB-C port

At least some of these points may seem obvious, but keep them in mind.

Avoid jamming anything straight back into the port. That’s where the connector prong is located, and doing so could bend the prong or scratch power/data contacts.

Don’t use a cotton swab/Q-Tip. It’s probably too big for a USB-C port anyway, but the bigger threat is that you’ll leave cotton behind, swapping one kind of debris for another.

Don’t use metal objects. These are more likely to damage electronics, and in a worst-case scenario, could actually cause a short and wreck the entire device.

Likewise, avoid sharp objects.

Avoid getting liquids into the port, whether from a compressed air can or something else. If this does happen, make sure the device is powered down and allowed to dry. You can use cool air to speed things up, but not a hot-air dryer.

How To Select A Startup Disk In Os X

There may be cases in which you need to boot to a secondary hard drive on your Mac, either to recover a drive, install a new OS or restore some software. Either way, the easiest way to do this on Apple computers is to hold down the “Option” key while booting up your system; however, there may be some constraints.

Selecting a Startup Disk on Macs That Use a Bluetooth Keyboard

On portable Macs, you can start up or reboot your Mac, and simply hold the “Option” key once the screen goes black so that when it reboots it will show you the boot menu. However, this process is a little more specific on Macs that use a Bluetooth keyboard.

If you hold down the key before the Bluetooth keyboard and your Mac boots, your system will prevent it from recognizing the key as pressed. Bluetooth keyboards only start up once the boot chimes sound. To ensure that your Mac goes to the boot menu, only press and hold the “Option” key immediately after hearing your Mac boot sound, not before.

When you’ve opened the boot menu properly, a gray screen will display that will show the available boot volumes, similar to the one above.

If your system is running OS X 10.7 Lion or later, you’ll see the default Macintosh HD partition alongside a Recovery HD volume. However, for systems running 10.6 or earlier, you’ll only see the main boot volume. If you want to boot using a different drive, you can simply attach an external hard drive, flash drive, or an optical disk that contains valid operating systems and when recognized they should appear alongside the current boot options.

Booting from Optical Drives

Additionally, if your Mac shipped with an optical drive, you can simply boot to a disk in the drive by holding down the “C” key at startup. This “C” key method works both for Macs with CD drives as well as for Macs with DVD drives included. And if you want to use an external USB DVD drive to insert a boot DVD and run it, simply connect it via USB, and the drive should appear in the standard boot menu for access.

Directly Accessing OS X’s Recovery Disk

If your system runs OS X 10.7 or later, you can also boot directly to the recovery drive by holding “Command + R” on startup. Also, most systems shipped after 2010 support Internet Recovery. This can be invoked by holding “Option + Command + R”. The Internet Recovery method will require an Internet connection through which it will download a 650MB recovery image file from Apple.

Note: You should know that selecting an alternative boot disk will only be set for the current boot session. If you want to permanently select a different startup disk in OS X, use the Startup Disk settings that are available in System Preferences.

Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier’s resident Mac tutorial writer. He’s currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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How To Erase And Format A Drive In Windows

Did you get a new external drive? Or are you looking to troubleshoot or sell an older drive? Then, it’s a good idea to erase and format it. Read on to learn how to do that in Microsoft Windows 10 and 11.

When you buy an external hard drive, SSD (solid-state drive), or flash stick, chances are that you can connect it to your Windows PC and use it right away. However, you may still want to erase and format the drive, so that you know you’re starting with a clean slate and an appropriate file system.

Table of Contents

If you’ve already been using the drive for some time, formatting can help resolve persistent performance issues and other problems. You must also reformat the drive and securely erase its data if you plan to sell it.

How Erasing and Formatting a Drive in Windows Works

When you format an external HDD, SSD, or USB flash drive in Windows, the operating system frees up the disk space for use by other data. Additionally, it runs reliability checks on drive sectors and fixes severe errors (though there’s no guarantee).

But that’s just half the picture. Formatting also gives you the perfect opportunity to implement a suitable file system. That’s essential when you want to ensure that a drive is compatible with other devices. Windows allows you to format external drives with one of the three file systems below.

NTFS: The default Windows file system. NTFS supports large file sizes and provides excellent security, but it doesn’t fully work on alternative operating systems besides Windows and Linux.

FAT32: A legacy Windows file system. Unlike NTFS, FAT32 features wider compatibility with most operating systems but imposes file size limits of 4GB or less, is less reliable, and is not as secure.

exFAT: An all-round file system that works well on both Windows and Apple macOS for Mac, exFAT strikes an excellent balance between compatibility, usability, and security.

You can format a drive via the Format utility, Disk Management console, and Command Prompt in Windows. However, only the Command Prompt lets you implement FAT32 as the file system on drives that exceed 32GB.

That said, formatting a drive in Windows doesn’t completely wipe your data. If you intend to sell the drive, you must use a third-party formatting tool such as Disk Wipe that can securely delete all data. If you’re troubleshooting for issues on a drive, you might want to consider running the Check Disk (CHKDSK) utility before you start.

Warning: Erasing a drive or partition will permanently delete all files and folders. Take a backup of any data if you want to restore everything afterward.

Erase and Format a Drive in Windows Using Format Utility

The Format utility, which you can access via File Explorer, is the most convenient way to erase and format external drives in Windows. You can also decide if you want to speed things up by performing a quick format.

2. Adjust the following settings on the Format dialog:

File system: Switch between the NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT file systems. FAT32 is not available for drives that exceed 32GB.

Allocation unit size: Define the minimum unit size of each data block on your drive. The default selection changes depending on the file system you select—e.g., 128 kilobytes for exFAT. Learn more about allocation unit size.

Volume label: Replace the default name if you want to have an easier time identifying the drive from other external media. A custom volume label will also appear on other devices and operating systems.

Quick Format: Leave the box checked if you want to erase and format the drive quickly. Clear it if you’re troubleshooting the drive.

Note: Select the Restore device defaults button if you want to revert to the default selections for the drive.

Erase and Format a Drive in Windows Using Disk Management

The Disk Management console is a versatile utility that allows you to manage drives, volumes, and partitions in Windows. It also allows you to format drives quickly. Use it if an external drive fails to appear in File Explorer.

1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run box. Then, type chúng tôi and press Enter.

3. Add a volume label, pick a file system, and specify the allocation unit size. Additionally, clear the box next to Perform a quick format intact if you want Disk Management to perform a full format. Then, select OK.

4. Select OK again to confirm.

Erase and Format a Drive in Windows Using Command Prompt

Alternatively, you can use the Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell consoles to format a drive in Windows. It’s the best option if you want to format drives that exceed 32GB natively in FAT32.

2. Run the diskpart command to load the DiskPart command-line tool.

3. Run the list disk command to load a list of drives on your computer.

4. Type select disk [disk number], replacing [disk number] with the number of the drive you want to format. Use the Size column to identify the correct number. Press Enter to select the drive.

5. Run the clean command to erase all data on the drive.

6. Type create partition primary and press Enter to partition the drive.

7. Type format fs=fat32 label=[drive name]. Replace fat32 with the file system you want and [drive name] with a drive label. Then, press Enter.

8. Type assign and press Enter to assign a drive letter for the drive.

9. Type exit and press Enter to quit DiskPart.

Securely Erase and Format a Drive in Windows Using Disk Wipe

If you want to erase an external drive securely, you can use a free third-party formatting tool called Disk Wipe. It lets you run various erasing patterns to prevent file recovery tools from retrieving your data.

1. Download and launch Disk Wipe. Then, choose the drive you want to format and select the Wipe Disk button.

2. Select a file system—NTFS, FAT, or FAT32. Then, select Next.

3. Select an erasing pattern. For example, you can overwrite the storage device’s contents with a single pass of zeros or use sophisticated data wiping techniques such as the Peter Guttman method. Note that using methods with multiple passes can take a long time to complete.

4. Type ERASE ALL and select Finish.

5. Select Yes to confirm.

Disk Wipe aside, you can rely on various other formatting tools and apps such as DBan, KillDisk, and Eraser to securely erase drives. Here’s a complete list of free programs that can completely wipe a drive in Windows.

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