Make Sure USB Connection Not Interrupted When Updating iPhone

I just plugged my iPhone into my MacBook Pro via USB and was immediately informed that there was a new version of the iPhone software available and I was asked if I wanted to install that software. I clicked yes and the process started. While it was doing its thing, I moved over into my Windows XP instance running in VMWare Fusion. Well, part of the process of updating the iPhone involved the iPhone restarting and when it restarted, because I was using VMWare Fusion, VMWare Fusion grabbed the USB connection and this completely hosed the iPhone. Let me be clear: it didn't just mess up the update, it hosed the iPhone--meaning it wouldn't work at all. It isn't that the iPhone connecting to the Windows XP instance in VMWare Fusion hoses the iPhone inherently; in fact, in a normal circumstance, connecting the iPhone to the Windows XP instance in VMWare Fusion would be no problem at all. What is a problem, however, is the iPhone losing the connection to iTunes in the middle of the update process.

So my only choice was to restore the iPhone to factory settings and from there to restore the phone's settings from a backup. I'm not sure that before beginning the update iTunes bothers to do a backup of your iPhone (if it doesn't, it sure should and I recommend that you do your own backup before letting iTunes do a software update), but in any case it seems I was able to restore from a recent enough backup that I didn't lose much, if anything. Because I'm using over-the-air Exchange synchronization, my most imporant data (Contacts, Calendar, Email) are not synced via iTunes so fortunately there was no risk of losing any of that data.

But even though in the end I lost little to nothing, the whole process of restoring is long and a rather big pain in the butt. So for that reason alone, I highly recommend avoiding it at all costs--and that means making sure the USB connection between your machine and your iPhone is not interrupted when you're updating the iPhone's software!

Incidentally, even after restoring from a backup, I had to completely re-do my settings for my Adobe Exchange account (I'm guessing that the certificate for the phone can't be backed up). Also, although my setting for syncing an image directory on the MacBook Pro to the iPhone was still present, the image in the directory (I only have 1 image in that directory) was not on the iPhone until I did another sync and, because I use that image as my Wallpaper, I had to reset my Wallpaper after I synced the image back to the iPhone.

Determining if a USB Flash Drive is USB 2.0

Well, I published this post for about 5 minutes, then realized it wasn't entirely accurate so I pulled it down so I could have some time to revise it. I was hoping (and frankly, thinking) no one had actually seen it--then I looked in my own blog reader and found out it had consumed my feed. Doh! Sorry to anyone else who got the feed with the original post and then couldn't even link out to the post because it was no longer live.

Yes, indeed it is true: I am posting to my blog. :)

If you're like me, you are given USB flash drives from time to time. Now, when you buy a USB flash drive, at least at retail here in the US, it comes in packaging that tells you if it supports USB 2.0. But when someone gives you a USB flash drive, it very often doesn't come with any packaging at all--and that leaves you wondering a) how big it is and b) whether or not it supports USB 2.0. Unfortunately, many of the USB flash drives that are giveaways do not supports USB 2.0 (I presume this is because USB 2.0 flash drives are more expensive to buy, and probably produce, than USB 1.1 flash drives and so giving away USB 1.1 flash drives therefore saves the givers money). But...some USB flash drives given away do support USB 2.0, so you can't just assume when you receive a flash drive that it doesn't support USB 2.0. What's it really matter, you may ask? Well, USB 2.0 is considerably faster than any previous USB edition. And to be brutally honest, the deal is that when someone gives you a slower USB flash drive and you're in the situation I'm in where you already have a couple of USB 2.0 flash drives, you want to know whether or not the flash drive you've been given is worth keeping or not. do you tell if a USB flash drive supports USB 2.0? I wish I knew! I've poked around on both Mac and Windows XP and I've searched extensively online and I can't find any method that will definitively provide that information. At this point, the best I have is that sometimes you can get at least an idea on Windows XP as follows:

  1. Connect your flash drive to one of your PC's USB 2.0 ports. If your PC doesn't have 2.0 ports there is good news: if you connect a USB 2.0 device to a USB 1.1 port, Windows XP will often (possibly always) present you with a message that says the device can perform faster if you connect it to a USB 2.0 port. Perhaps this is in fact the best way to ascertain on Windows XP whether or not a device supports USB 2.0.
  2. Open Device Manager. This can be accomplished by right-clicking My Computer on the desktop and selecting Properties to open System Properties, clicking on the Hardware tab, then clicking the Device Manager button.
  3. Expand the Disk Drives item.
  4. Take note of the name listed for your device: as you can see in the image below, the name may tell the tale: in the image, you'll see that one of my devices is called "USB 2.0 Flash Disk USB Device." Now, that name could be misleading; just having "USB 2.0" in the name may not guarantee that the device supports USB 2.0--but I'm thinking it's probably a pretty good guess that if "USB 2.0" is in the name then the device does indeed support USB 2.0. The problem, though, is that even if the inclusion of "USB 2.0" in a device name does definitively mean that a device supports USB 2.0, it appears that the lack of the inclusion of "USB 2.0" in a device name does not definitively mean that a device is not USB 2.0: I connected another of my USB flash drives that has USB 2.0 actually stamped on it and the description displayed was "Memorex TD Classic 003B USB Device"--nothing there about "USB 2.0." That said, I think sometimes the lack of "USB 2.0" in the name can be enlightening: in the image, you can see that there is a device called "USB Flash Disk Device;" in light of the fact that this description is so similar to the description of the other device, excepting the conspicuous absence of "2.0," I think it's safe to assume that device isn't USB 2.0--but ultimately, that's still an assumption. I later connected another of my USB flash drives and it was called "Generic Flash Disk USB Device"--I'm guessing that one too isn't USB 2.0, but again, that's only a guess.

In the end, this post isn't as helpful as I hoped it would be because I have not been able to provide a definitive methodology for determining whether or not a device supports USB 2.0. If you have insights on this subject, please take the time to post a comment.

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