Digital Foci - FAQ: Photo Safe II

Frequently Asked Questions - Photo Safe II

Memory card support, storage capacity, format support:

Q1. Which memory card formats are supported by Photo Safe II?
Q2. How many photos can I store on Photo Safe II?
Q3. Can I transfer photos directly from my cameras or camcorders to Photo Safe II via USB connection?
Q4. Can I download RAW images and video files into Photo Safe II?
Q5. How big is the LCD screen? Can I view pictures on the screen?

Copy speed, copy confirmation, copy file name, copy options, delete files: 

Q6. What is the copy speed from a memory card to Photo Safe II?
Q7. What type of copy information is shown after each memory card backup?
Q8. How does Photo Safe II keep track of the different backups from memory cards?
Q9. If I copy the same memory card a second time, does it write over my data on the hard drive?
Q10. Can I copy a specific folder or file from my memory card to Photo Safe II?
Q11. Can I copy data on my Photo Safe II to a memory card directly?
Q12. Can I copy data from one memory card to another directly?
Q13. Can I set the date and time for folder to which the files that are copied?
Q14. Can I delete my memory card contents after a copy?
Q15. Can I delete my copied files directly on Photo Safe II?

Battery, AC power, USB power: 

Q16. How long is the battery life of Photo Safe II on a full charge?
Q17. Is the battery rechargeable? 
Q18. Is the battery users-removable? 
Q19. Is it O.K. to recharge at any level of remaining charge i.e. must it be depleted before recharge?
Q20. Can Photo Safe II run on AC power instead of battery?
Q21. Will I be able to use the included AC adapter to charge the Photo Safe II battery while I'm traveling in Europe, where the voltage is not 110V?
Q22. Can Photo Safe II receive power from the USB port?

USB connection, OS compatibility, using Photo Safe as external hard drive: 

Q23. My computer only has USB 1.1 ports available. Can Photo Safe II still be connected?
Q24. Do I need to install device driver before I can connect Photo Safe II to my computer?
Q25. Where are my copied files on the Photo Safe II hard drive when connected to the computer?
Q26. Can I use Photo Safe II as an external hard drive or memory card reader?
Q27. For Windows OS - How do I create multiple partitions on my Photo Safe II hard drive?
Q28. For Mac OS X - How do I create multiple partitions on my Photo Safe II hard drive?
Q29. How do I copy to different partitions on my Photo Safe II hard drive?

Product comparison: 

Q30. What are the differences between Picture Porter 35 and Photo Safe II?

Troubleshooting: 

Q31. In the case that Photo Safe II encounters an erroneous operation and freezes, is there a way to reset it?
Q32. I am a Windows OS user, I deleted the files from Photo Safe II but found that the files are only deleted from the directory, but the storage space is not returned. How can I free up the hard disk space on my Photo Safe II?
Q33. I am a Mac OSX user, I deleted the files from Photo Safe but found that the files are only deleted from the directory, but the storage space is not returned. How can I free up the hard disk space on my Photo Safe II?
Q34. I reformatted my Photo Safe II hard drive, and the copy function no longer works.
Q35. When I check the available hard drive capacity on Photo Safe by pressing the [ENTER] button, it doesn't seem to give me an accurate available capacity.
Q36. I tried to copy from a card to Photo Safe II and I know I have enough space on the hard drive. The copy task started, but stopped in the middle of the copy task and showed an {ERROR} message.
Q37. My computer does not recognize Photo Safe II. 
Q38. My Photo Safe II will not turn on.


Q1. Which memory card formats are supported by Photo Safe II ?

Photo Safe II directly reads from and writes to: CompactFlash Type I (including Extreme III, IV, UDMA CF cards), SD Card, SDHC cards, Memory Stick, MS PRO, MS Duo, and MS PRO Duo. 

SDXC card is not supported.


Q2. How many photos can I store on Photo Safe II?


320GB (actual storage space 298GB): ~ 124,000 photos
500GB (actual storage space 465GB): ~ 194,000 photos
* Photo capacity based on 5-mega-pixel photos (approximately 2.4 MB each);


Q3.  Can I transfer photos directly from my camera or other devices to Photo Safe II via USB connection?


The Photo Safe II can only act as a USB-slave device, meaning that  it can be connected to and is controlled by USB-host devices (like your computer). Since Photo Safe II is not a USB host device, it cannot be connected to cameras or camcorders directly by USB cable to transfer data between the two without a computer. You may, however, insert the digital camera memory card directly into Photo Safe II to transfer the files.

If you would like a device with USB connection capability to cameras, camcorders, and external hard drives, see Picture Porter 35.


Q4. Can I download RAW images and video files into Photo Safe II?

Yes, Photo Safe II can copy and store any type of file formats. The files will be copied in their original file names with any alternations. You can retrieve the original files you copied onto Photo Safe II by connected it to a computer. However, please note that you cannot view pictures on its screen. Photo Safe II has a text-based LCD screen where you can view file information, copy progress, copy confirmation etc.

If you would like a device with a color LCD screen where you can view images, see Picture Porter 35.


Q5. How big is the LCD screen? Can I view pictures on the screen? 

Photo Safe II has a 2.0" text-based LCD screen where you can view copy progress, copy confirmation, memory card type, active partition, remaining hard drive capacity, battery life, etc.

If you would like a device with a color LCD screen where you can view images, see Picture Porter 35.


Q6. What is the copy speed from a memory card to Photo Safe II?

Please note that the actual transfer time depends on various factors such as type and speed of the memory card and number of files.

It takes approximately 5 minutes to copy a full 1GB regular speed CF card to Photo Safe II; and approximately 3.5 minutes to copy a full 1GB Ultra II SD card to Photo Safe II.  


Q7. What type of copy information is shown after each memory card backup?

During each copy, Photo Safe II shows the percentage of the total copy task completed as it progresses.

When copy is completed, you will see
- Copy confirmation {OK} and {100%}, indicating that data on the card has been copied
- The total number of files copied
- The folder number created to which the files are copied

You can also see the amount of data on the inserted memory card, and available hard drive space on Photo Safe II.


Q8. How does Photo Safe II keep track of the different backups from memory cards?

Each time you use the copy function on Photo Safe II, a new folder will be created to store your copied files. The created folder and copied contents will be located within the default FILES folder on the Photo Safe II hard drive. Locate the files you want to access by looking under the corresponding folder name.

The folder names are made up of 2 pieces of information. The first two characters are letters that indicate the type of memory card copied. The next 5 characters are sequential numbers starting from '00001' that that indicate the order of the folder created for the specific card format copied.

These letter prefixes correspond to the memory card types:

CF = CompactFlash
SD = Secure Digita 
MMC = MultiMedia Card
MS = Memory Stick formats

For example, an folder name 'CF00003' means that this is a backup from CompactFlash format, and this is the 3rd folder created for the CF card format.


Q9. If I copy the same memory card a second time, does it write over my data on the hard drive?

No, when you copy the same memory card a second time, a new unique folder will be created for the second copy. For example, the first copy will save files in folder name 'CF0001', and the second copy will save files in folder name 'CF0002' etc.


Q10. Can I copy a specific folder or file from my memory card to Photo Safe II?

No, you can only copy the content of the entire memory card.


Q11. Can I copy data on my Photo Safe II to a memory card directly?

Photo Safe II can only copy data from the Memory Card to the Photo Safe II hard drive. You will not be able to copy data from the Photo Safe II directly onto a memory card without a computer. However, if you have Photo Safe II connected to a computer, you can use the computer to copy and paste files from the Photo Safe II hard drive to a memory card.

If this is an important feature for you, please take a look at the Digital Foci Picture Porter 35. The complete comparison chart can be found here:


Q12.  Can I copy data from one memory card to another directly?

You can use Photo Safe II to copy card content from a Memory Stick, SD/HC, MMC card onto a CompactFlash card.

It works like this:

  1. First, insert SD card. Photo Safe II will display the memory card type and amount of data on the card. The {COPY} icon will flash, indicating that Photo Safe II is ready to copy.
  2. Next, insert the CF card to which you’d like to copy the files.
  3. Press the [POWER/SELECT] button to switch the designated copy location from HD to CF. Photo Safe II will show the CF indicator and the free space on the CF card.
  4. Press the [COPY/EXE] button to start copy. Data on the inserted card will be copied onto the CF card.
    1. As the copy operation progresses, Photo Safe II will display the percentage of the total copy task completed.
    2. When copy is completed, you will see copy confirmation {OK} and {100%}, indicating that data on the card has been copied.
    3. While the 100% is displayed on the screen, press and hold the [COPY/EXE] button to view the copy details. The screen will toggle between: 1) The total number of files copied, and 2) The folder number created for this card format to which the files are copied.
    4. The created folder and all copied subfolders and files will be located in the FILES folder on the CF card.


Q13. Can I set the date and time for folder to which the files that are copied?

Photo Safe does not have an internal clock so when the folders are created, the folders will not show accurate dates and times. Instead you can use a combination of the folder name sequence number and the dates and times of your photo and video files copied from you digital camera within each folder to find a particular set of files.


Q14. Can I delete my memory card contents after a copy?

You can use Photo Safe II to delete all the data on your memory card. However, we recommend that you always use the 'format' feature in your digital camera to delete your card because different cameras will have their own factory settings for the memory card.

Q15. Can I delete my copied files directly on Photo Safe II ?

You cannot delete files on the Photo Safe II directly. To manage the data on your Photo Safe II hard drive, you can do this with your computer with Photo Safe II connected by USB. Once connected, your computer will automatically recognize Photo Safe II and show 2 removable devices (for the card slots), and 1 hard drive. To access the Photo Safe II hard drive, double click on the drive labeled ‘HARDDISK. The files you copied from memory cards to Photo Safe II will be located within the default FILES folder. You can delete files or photos on the Photo Safe II hard drive as you would on other drives on your computer.


Q16. How long is the battery life of Photo Safe II on a full charge?

A full battery charge is capable of up to 60 minutes (or approximately 16GB of data) with a few days of shelf time in between.


Q17. Is the battery rechargeable?

Yes, you can recharge the battery either with the included AC power adapter or via USB power. Please note that charging via AC power adapter will be faster.


Q18. Is the battery users-removable?

Yes, you can easily replace the battery by removing the front battery door of Photo Safe II.


Q19. Is it O.K. to recharge at any level of remaining charge i.e. must it be depleted before recharge?

With the current Lithium-Ion battery technology (the same that Photo Safe II uses), the result called "memory-effect" is not a problem. In early rechargeable batteries (the Nickel-Metal-Cadmium), when you charge the battery at the 1/2 way point, you 'reset' the total capacity of the battery to the point where you started to recharge it.

With Photo Safe II, it is safe to recharge it at anytime, and you should avoid depleting the battery completely before recharging. Please also note that it is beneficial to avoid storing a lithium-ion battery at full charge. A Li-ion battery stored at 40% charge will last many times longer than one stored at 100% charge. Storing the battery in a cool place when not in use will also prolong its battery life.


Q20. Can Photo Safe II run on AC power instead of battery?

Yes Photo Safe II runs on either battery or AC power adapter. So you can always use the power adapter as a power source for Photo Safe II. If it is not an inconvenience for you, having the AC adapter plugged in actually has the advantage of avoiding any power interruption in the case that battery power runs out.

One thing to note is that when turning on the Photo Safe II with AC adapter plugged in, you will need to press and hold the power button for about 10 seconds before the device will turn on.

The battery will charge as you use it on AC power. We also have car adapter / battery charger available as an extra accessory so that you can conveniently charge Photo Safe II on the go.


Q21.Will I be able to use the included AC adapter to charge the Photo Safe II battery while I'm traveling in Europe, where the voltage is not 110V?

The specs on the power adapter is AC 100-240V. So it can be used in European countries without a converter. You just need to get a plug adapter to fit the different shape of the wall plug.


Q22. Can Photo Safe receive power from the USB port?

Yes, Photo Safe II runs on USB power when connected to your computer. You can also charge the Li-Ion battery via USB power by connecting Photo Safe II to your computer.


Q23. My computer only has USB 1.1 ports available. Can Photo Safe II still be connected?

Yes, Photo Safe II is backward compatible with USB 1.1. Just note that the copy speed will be slower with a USB 1.1 port.


Q24. Do I need to install device driver before I can connect Photo Safe II to my computer?

There is no software driver installation required for Windows Vista, XP, 2000 (SP4), and Mac OS 10.0 or higher. Simply connect Photo Safe II to your computer using the USB cable included in the package. Once connected, Photo Safe II will show up as a removable hard drive. You can use it just like you use the hard drive on your computer.


Q25.Where are my copied files on the Photo Safe II hard drive when connected to the computer?

For each copy, Photo Safe II creates a unique folder name indicating memory card type and copy sequence number for each card type to help you easily locate your files. The created folder and copied contents will be located within the default FILES folder on the Photo Safe hard drive. Locate the files you want to access by looking under the corresponding folder name.


Q26. Can I use Photo Safe II as an external hard drive or memory card reader?

Yes, when connected to the computer, you can use Photo Safe II as an external hard drive to back up data on your computer. In additional, on Windows computers, you can use it as a memory card reader to read from you memory cards or copy data from your computer on the card.


Q27. For Windows OS - How do I create multiple partitions on my Photo Safe II hard drive?

You may use a partition software called FAT32 Formatter to format the Photo Safe II hard drive in multiple partitions. Make sure that the partitions are formatted with FAT32 as primary partitions. Please note that the Photo Safe II hard drive has to be formatted in FAT32 format (or MS-DOS File System for Mac) for the card copy function to work.

Here are the instructions on how to use a software called FAT32 Formatter to re-format the Photo Safe II hard drive in FAT32:

  1. Download the software at: http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/.
  2. Make sure that your Photo Safe II is connected to your computer with the AC power adapter connected to your Photo Safe II.
  3. Run the FAT32Formatter program. If your computer requires, use the ‘Run as administrator’ option.
  4. In the drop down list box at the top, select ‘SH-Tech PST Drive 0V3.2 USB Device’. Confirm that the capacity in the rectangular box is a little less, but close to the total capacity of your Photo Safe II model.
  5. Select the rectangular box under the drop down list box and it should turn green.
  6. Select ‘Delete partition’ and confirm.
  7. Select the rectangular box again. Type in the size you’d like to assign to the first partition. You can also drag the divider to change the size.
  8. Check the ‘Quick Format’ option to create the first partition.
  9. Repeat Step 7 and 8 to create another partition.
  10. Click on ‘Start’.
  11. Confirm the completion message and close program.
  12. Disconnect your Photo Safe II and reconnect your Photo Safe II.
  13. Click on “Free Space” under “Current partition(s) details” and repeat Steps 8 to 11 to create additional partitions. Again, under Volume Label, change the drive name to something easy to identify (such as PST2).
  14. If the newly created Photo Safe II hard drive partitions do not show up on your computer. Disconnect it and reconnect it to your computer to verify that it has been formatted correctly.

Mac uses: Please refer to Q28.
For instructions on how to copy memory card content to different partitions on your Photo Safe II hard drive, please refer to Q29.


Q28. For Mac OS X - How do I create multiple partitions on my Photo Safe II hard drive?

  1. Connect Photo Safe II to your Mac with the USB cable. Please make sure you have AC power plugged in.
  2. On Mac, select Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Double-click to open the Disk Utility application.
  3. In Disk Utility, select the appropriate drive for Photo Safe II, and click on the Partition tab.
  4. From the Volume Scheme pop-up menu, choose the number of partitions you'd like to create.
  5. Click each partition and type a name* for it, choose a format**, and type a size. You can also drag the divider between the partitions to change their sizes.
    *This is the name that will show up under the drive icon on your desktop.
    **For memory card copy function to work, you must format the drive in MS-DOS File System.
  6. Click on the Partition Button in the lower right corner of the window.
  7. The created drives should now appear in the list of disks and volumes. You will also see the volumes in the sidebar of Finders window.


Q29. How do I copy to different partitions on my Photo Safe II hard drive?

Press the 'ENTER' button once, and Photo Safe II will show you the first partition and its remaining hard drive space. Then, you can press the 'POWER/SELECT button to toggle between the partitions on the hard drive. Once you see the desired partition, you can insert your memory card into Photo Safe II and start the copy task. Your memory card content will be copied to the specific partition you selected.


Q30. What are the differences between Picture Porter 35 and Photo Safe II?

In short, Photo Safe II is strictly a photo storage device (no picture viewing) and a low-cost alternative to Picture Porter 35. Picture Porter 35 has color LCD screen for viewing photos and videos on top of storage capability, and a lot more file management and organization functions.

To see the Comparison Chart, go to: Picture Porter 35 vs Photo Safe II


Q31. In the case that Photo Safe II encounters an erroneous operation and freezes, is there a way to reset it?

To reset Photo Safe II, please remove the battery from the battery compartment. Photo Safe II will reset the operating system. You can then replace the battery and power on Photo Safe II and return to normal operations.


Q32. I am a Windows user, I deleted the files from Photo Safe II but found that the files are only deleted from the directory, but the storage space is not returned. How can I free up the hard disk space on my Photo Safe?

One possible reason for the situation is that the deleted files still exist in the ‘Recycled’ folder on your Photo Safe II. To check for these ‘hidden files,’ you may do the following:

  1. In My Computer, select the backup folder under Photo Safe II
  2. Select TOOLS > FOLDER OPTIONS
  3. Select View tab
  4. Under Files and Folders, go to Hidden Files and Folders
  5. Select “Show hidden files and folders"

This way you’ll be able to see the hidden files. You will see a ‘Recycled’ folder, and you can access this folder and delete these files from your hard drive.

You can change the settings to delete the files directly without sending them to the Recycled folder:

  1. Right click on the ‘Recycled’ folder under Photo Safe II
  2. Select Properties
  3. Select the Photo Safe II hard drive
  4. Select the option: ‘Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted’.


Q33. I am a Mac OSX user, I deleted the files from Photo Safe II but found that the files are only deleted from the directory, but the storage space is not returned. How can I free up the hard disk space on my Photo Safe II?

In Mac, any files or folders you deleted (drag to the Trash) will remain there until you empty the Trash. To free the disk space, you need to empty the Trash by following these instructions:

  1. Connect Photo Safe to your Mac with the USB cable.
  2. On Mac, select Finder > Empty Trash.

This will delete your deleted files in the hidden '.trash' folder and Photo Safe II disk space will be returned.


Q34. I reformatted my Photo Safe II hard drive, and the copy function no longer works.

Please note that the Photo Safe II hard drive has to be formatted in FAT32 format (or MS-DOS File System for Mac) for the card copy function to work. If you do wish to format the Photo Safe II hard drive at any point (note that formatting delete all data on the hard drive), make sure it is formatted in FAT32 format. When formatted in NTFS file system, the Photo Safe II hard drive can still work as an external hard drive when connected to the computer, but the card copy function will not work.

Here are the instructions on how to use a software called FAT32 Formatter to re-format the Photo Safe II hard drive in FAT32:

  1. Download the software at: http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/.
  2. Make sure that your Photo Safe II is connected to your computer with the AC power adapter connected to your Photo Safe II.
  3. Run the FAT32Formatter program. If your computer requires, use the ‘Run as administrator’ option.
  4. In the drop down list box at the top, select ‘SH-Tech PST Drive 0V3.2 USB Device’. Confirm that the capacity in the rectangular box is a little less, but close to the total capacity of your Photo Safe II model.
  5. Select the rectangular box under the drop down list box and it should turn green.
  6. Select ‘Delete partition’ and confirm.
  7. Select the rectangular box again.
  8. In the box under ‘Volume’ type in ‘HARDDISK’.
  9. Check the ‘Quick Format’ option.
  10. Click on ‘Start’.
  11. Confirm the completion message and close program.
  12. Disconnect your Photo Safe II and reconnect your Photo Safe II.

Mac uses: Please refer to Q28.


Q35. When I check the available hard drive capacity on Photo Safe II by pressing the [ENTER] button, it doesn't seem to give me an accurate available capacity.

Please do the following to update the hard drive capacity displayed on Photo Safe II:
1) Press and hold the [ENTER] button for 5 seconds on Photo Safe II. Release the button when you see the 'HD' icon shows up on the screen.
2) The HDD blue indicator will light up, indicating that Photo Safe II is "re-initiating" itself and recalculating its available hard drive space.
3) When the process is finished, Photo Safe II will display the partition and its available hard drive capacity on the screen.


Q36. I tried to copy from a card to Photo Safe II and I know I have enough space on the hard drive. The copy task started, but stopped in the middle of the copy task and showed an {ERROR} message.

If the copy progress reached a certain % then stops, one likely causes is that there are some files/directories on the card that were corrupt, interrupting the copying process.

To test this, please reformat the memory card in your camera. Please note to back up your pictures before formatting the card as it will delete all on the files on the card. After you re-format the card, please take some pictures in your camera and try the copy function again to see if Photo Safe II is now functioning properly.

It is recommended that you reformat your memory card in the camera on a regular basis to maintain data integrity.


Q37. My computer does not recognize Photo Safe II.

  • Make sure that the Main USB connectors are properly connected to your computer and the Mini USB connector is properly connected to Photo Safe II.
  • Plug in the AC power adapter to Photo Safe II. Photo Safe II might not be getting enough power from your USB port. Note that the USB port on some computers do not provide sufficient power to operate the Photo Safe II or Picture Porter 35 hard drive, especially if the battery power is low. In these cases, we recommend that you plug in the AC power adapter into Photo Safe II or Picture Porter 35 when connecting it to your computer. The AC power will provide sufficient power to get the hard drive spinning. We do recommend that you always have the AC power plugged in when connecting Photo Safe to your computer to ensure a stable power supply.
  • Try different USB ports. On some computers, the USB ports are not all the same. There might be one main USB port and the other are extensions running off the main USB port. If you are using a desktop computer, we recommend the USB ports on the back of the computer as they are more stable.
  • Try a different USB cable. The USB cable might have malfunctioned. If your cable has 2 USB plugs, make sure you connect the main plug to the USB port.
  • If the above does not help, restart your computer and try again.
  • Also, check to see if there is a drive conflict between any network drives or other devices connected to your computer and your Photo Safe II hard drive. When your Photo Safe is connected to your computer, it will look for the first available drive letter and use 3 consecutive letters. The first two will be for the 2 memory card slot (for example G: and H:) followed by the one for the hard disk (in this case, it will want to use I: for the hard drive). If I: is already taken by another device, the hard disk might not show up.
  • If this is the case, you can manually change the drive mapping for the Photo Safe hard drive by following these steps in Windows:
    • Right-click on the My Computer icon and select MANAGE.
    • In the 'Computer Management' window, select 'Disk Management' under the 'Storage' grouping.
    • Locate the device 'Volume' for the Photo Safe hard disk and right click on it to select 'Change Drive and Letter Paths...'.
    • Select Change and pick an available drive letter.
    • This will manually assign a drive letter to your Photo Safe hard disk.


Q38. My Photo Safe II will not turn on.

Please note that if you have the power adapter plugged in, you will need to press and hold the POWER button for 10-15 seconds until the device turns on (the green LED will light up). If this does not happen, then you might need a replacement AC power adapter.

Next, please confirm that you observe this when charging the battery - When the battery is charging properly, you should see the Photo Safe II react with the following responses when you plug in the AC power to your Photo Safe:

  1. The screen will light up for a second.
  2. Next, the battery icon at the upper right corner will light up and the three bars of the battery icon will flash to indicate that it is charging (showing 1 bar, 2 bars, 3 bars).
    • *If the above does not happen, press and hold the POWER button until the green LED lights up. The battery indicator should then show up. Also make sure the AC power adapter is pressed tightly into the DC jack.
    • Please confirm that you see the battery icon flashing when the device is connected to the AC power adapter.
  3. When the battery is fully charging, the battery icon stop flashing and shows 3 full bars to indicate that it is fully charged.

If the above is not happening, you might have either a defective battery or battery connector. Please contact Tech Support for further information.