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I need to copy a file to 300 usb "jump" drives

My university is giving out USB drives to the first 300 students who sign up for orientation.  Our IT deparment plans on giving us a file of helpful information for our students only the admission department needs to add it to the drives.  

I need a device that would allow me to connect 4, 6, 8, or more of the USB drives into a desktop and copy the files over to multiple drives at once?  

Thanks.
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bd1saul
Asked:
bd1saul
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2 Solutions
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
it's a 1x1 thing...

best to get 4, 6, 8 machines lined up side by side.
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CallandorCommented:
See if a service will do it for you: http://www.dvbmedia.com/usb-drive-duplication.htm - I don't think a drive duplicator exists for USB flash drives.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
No problem.  Plug in a USB hub (or 2) and put a jump drive in each slot.   You'll get as many logical "drives" as you have devices.   Note the drive letters that are assigned.

Now write a simple batch file to do the copies ...

Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  F:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc G:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc H:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  I:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc J:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc K:
...

Call the file something like COPYINFO.BAT


The just double-click on CopyInfo.Bat and it will do the copies.
Now do a Safe Removal of each of the drives;  plug in the next group; and run the batch file again; etc. ...

To be safe (in terms of power draw on the USB ports) I would use powered hubs.   But you could easily do quite a few at once with 2 or 3 hubs.   Here's a nice powered 7-port hub:
http://www.usbgear.com/USB2_7port_hub/

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SaquangCommented:
i've seen usb hubs with 8 port at best buy, circuit city, comp usa, intrex and stuffs like that.   There may be one with more capabilities out there, just google around.  

The simplest way, without using any fancy soft, to copy same data to those drives is just to use a batch process

something like this

copy c:\data\* drive1
copy c:\data\* drive2
copy c:\data\* drive3
copy c:\data\* drive4
copy c:\data\* drive5
copy c:\data\* drive6
copy c:\data\* drive7
copy c:\data\* drive8

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shankshankCommented:
I would say the same. Or, get a hub , plug a bunchinto one machine, and wait a few seconds for them all the detect, then run a batch file which u create prior that copies the f iles to those devices.


that wouldbe quick, then unplug them and put in new batch.

Most new pcs come with 6 USB ports as it is. So go figure if you have more to add to that it will go quickly
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pascalprobCommented:
You could always go for a USB hub. Depending on the hub you can then connect 4 or more USB sticks at once.
As for copying the file to all of them at once, I haven't been able to find a method of doing it. It's not a perfect solution, but it would still be quite quick if you had for example 10 sticks connected to the PC, you could then simply copy the file once and do a quick paste (ctrl-v) on each of the drives in explorer.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... actually you can do even better:

With the Devcon command (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=311272)
you can do a "Safely Remove" from within a batch file.

So ... you can copy all the files to a flash drive; then Safely Remove it; then repeat the process ==>  if you also send a note to the screen (e.g. "Echo Copy to F: Done") after the safely remove, you could then remove that flash drive and insert another one.

So as your batch file runs and does the copies, you can remove the completed drives and insert new ones.   After the last one's done, just double-click the batch file again and the next set gets copied.  With a couple of 7-port hubs you could easily do 14-at-a-time with only a single double-click.

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pascalprobCommented:
Ok well there we go (of course). Batch file will do the trick, as long as your drive letters stay constant. (IE: there's always the same amount of usb sticks connected to the PC)
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@ALL....I was in tunnelvision mode.... i totally forgot about that.
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bd1saulAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the fantastic help!  It will be a few days before the drives arrive and after I workout the way we copy the file, I will award the points.  If anyone has any more ideas, keep them coming.  This is a great site.

Brian
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
To expand on Garycase and Saquang's comment... get 3 8-port USB hubs...daisy chain them.. you can do 21 copies at once x 15 rounds.
(just out of the box thinking since we're going that route) :-)

Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc F:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc G:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc H:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  I:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc J:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc K:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc L:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc M:

Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  N:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc O:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc P:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  Q:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc R:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc S:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  T:

Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc U:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc V:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  W:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc X:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc Y:
Copy C:/GoodInfo.Doc  Z:
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
versus, the 38 you will have to do.  Doesn't really cost that much for the addition hubs..and you can use it elsewhere and for next semester.
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saw830Commented:
Hi all,

Ummm... this all sound great in theory, but before you go buy 27 hubs and stack them up with 42 gazillion memory sticks, keep in mind that USB does have a through-put limit, and simply adding more ports to the bus isn't going to make the bus any faster.  All the data for each memory stick will have to go over the bus each time.

But if you are going to do this, I'd also suggest creating a batch file like restart_g.bat that contains:
sleep 3  (make the process wait three seconds to keep things from getting out of hand)
copy_g.bat

Then make your copy processing batch file (all the good stuff in the comments above, including the "Safely Remove" stuff and the "Echo Copy to F: Done" ideas) into a batch file named copy_g.bat and adding something to the top like:
If not exist g:\something then restart_g.bat ("somthing" is a file already on the memory stick to see if the drive is connected and ready)
copy c:/goodinfo.doc g:
"Safely Remove drive" command
sleep 5 (or some number of seconds to windows time to get the drive completely disconnected)
echo Copy to F: Done"
restart_g.bat

This will check to see if the memory stick is ready.  If not, then wait a few seconds and check again.  If/when so then do the copy, disconnect the drive, tell us about it, and start looking again.

Alan
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arthurjbCommented:
>this all sound great in theory, but before you go buy 27 hubs and stack them up with 42 gazillion memory sticks, keep in mind that USB does have a through-put limit, and simply adding more ports to the bus isn't going to make the bus any faster.

Actually since it is a batch file there will only be one file being transfered at a time.  The batch file just makes it so you don't have to type the commands in by hand for each group of sticks.

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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
How did you get 27 hubs???  max USB devices is 127... we could get 16 (127/8)  8ports hubs..that would work.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
I do think anything over about 3 hubs is a bit of overkill here guys :-)   Doing 20 at a time should be more than ample -- and for that matter, with a looping batch file ONE batch file could do them all ==>  he'd just have to sequentially plug/unplug the devices as each was completed; and with 3 hubs it would be easy to keep up.   You could probably do it with one 7 or 8 port hub :-)
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saw830Commented:
"How did you get 27 hubs???  max USB devices is 127"

"27 hubs" is/was intended as a satyrical number, much like the "42 gazillion memory sticks".  My point was the through-put on the bus.  I agree with garycase, a single batchfile doing it in sequence makes a lot of sense, as it will prevent errors related to saturation of the bus throughput.  I was reading the thread with the idea that there would be multiple devices being simultaniously written to by multiple batch files.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@saw830...OIC...I was wondering where you pulled that from ;-)
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RiDo78Commented:
Just my two cents: setup an linux-box and adjust the automounter so that it mounts the stick, copies the file and dismounts an USB-stick afterwards.

Then put in the first USB-stick and wait for the light to turn off. Replace the stick with a fresh one...


Please keep in mind that if you have 21 similar USB-sticks chained to one system, the system might easily get confused. It's just asking for trouble as each of the sticks probably has the same device-ID and vendor-code. I happen to have 2 DIFFERENT usb-drives (a 2,5" and 3,5" hdd enclosure) with the same device-id and when they're both attached, the device that was attached last gets initialized, but remains unaccesible until the first device is removed. Under Linux you can mount it manually, but under Windows there is no way to get them to work at the same time.
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bd1saulAuthor Commented:
In the next week, I will have a solution and award points.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
cool.thankyou!
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Did you get the drives?
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bd1saulAuthor Commented:
Yep, we have 300 of them in my office.  
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bd1saulAuthor Commented:
An update on my progress.  I used the garycase suggestion and it worked after I used backslashes instead of forward slashes.  I downloaded devcon and accessed it through command prompt and typed in c:\devcon remove @usb\*

That shut down the 5 usbs but it also shut down 7 others including my mouse.  I switched to a ps2 mouse and was able to type in devcon restore and that fixed everything.  It did not work in my batch program which looks like this:

Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc  F:
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc G:
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc H:
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc  I:
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc E:

c:\devcon remove @usb\*




The work computers log out of the user rather quickly.  If I log out as a user, will that also make it safe to remove my usb drives.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The trouble with devcon is you have to know the specific device instance for each device -- or else just remove all of them (which, as you've found, is not going to work, since you have multiple other usb devices).

Since this is a one-time event,  it may be easiest to just do "Safely Removes" as it's copying  ==>  Modify the batch file to echo the completion status, and just "safely remove" the completed drives ...

Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc  F:
Echo "Copy to F: Done"
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc G:
Echo "Copy to G: Done"
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc H:
Echo "Copy to H: Done"
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc  I:
Echo "Copy to I: Done"
Copy C:\GoodInfo.Doc E:
Echo "Copy to E: Done"

Then, as the "done" messages appear, just left-click on the "safely remove" icon and remove the drive that was just completed.   You could easily keep up with the batch file -- and by the time it's done, would be ready to simply insert the next batch and repeat it.

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bd1saulAuthor Commented:
Here is what I am attempting to do.  Add a ps2 mouse to my computer and remove the usb mouse.  I have downloaded windows server 2003 resource kit:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9d467a69-57ff-4ae7-96ee-b18c4790cffd&displaylang=en

so that I can add the sleep command since this site: http://malektips.com/xp_dos_0002.html 

The sites says that xp does not come with a sleep command but you can add it from the resource kit.

Use the batch file to copy the files to my drives.........

then the devcon command to disable all usb's (which is why I am using the ps2 mouse) and pick a designated sleep time (say 45 seconds) and then have the c:\devcon rescan command activated.  This makes a search for plug and play devices and restores all of my usb functions therefore recognizing any of the new usb drives that I have added in the 45 second sleep delay.  Then I hit the batch command and do the entire thing over again.  I wanted to write this before I tried it because I was afraid I would not post it completely later and it would not do anyone else any good if it worked.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Yes, that should work fine.   There are quite a few "sleep" utilities available ==> the one in the resource kit works fine (it's only 5kb - if you have any issues getting it just send me an e-mail note and I'll send it to you).
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bd1saulAuthor Commented:
Another solution was used also.  I never could get past the power requirements for daisychaining.  Our IT department made a mistake in the file and asked me to recopy them.  I told them I needed help because I didn't want to do 4 at a time on two computers for 300 drives when they made the error and I had already copied most of them.  They came up with the idea of using the network lab to do the same thing you all of have suggested.  They wrote a batch file and sent it to each computer in the lab which we ended up with 17 working units.   A larger lab would have yielded more.  The computers in the lab were of such a low power that we could only plug in 1 usb drive at a time.  You saved me and this project.  Thank you.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You're welcome ... and glad it's done :-)
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