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1. (WO1997019406) STORAGE DEVICE HAVING A NONVOLATILE MEMORY FOR STORING USER CHANGEABLE OPERATING PARAMETERS
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CLAIMS :

1. A method for controlling a storage device having a nonvolatile memory, comprising the steps of:
inputting, using a computer connected to the storage device, a parameter from a user which changes an operation of a control program stored in the storage device;
writing the parameter into the nonvolatile memory of the storage device; and
controlling an operation of the storage device using the parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory and the control program.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of writing the parameter into the nonvolatile memory changes a default parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory.
3. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of writing the parameter into the nonvolatile memory writes the parameter into a memory selected from the group
consisting of a flash memory, an EPROM, an EEPROM, and a CMOS RAM.
4. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of writing the parameter is performed without changing the control program.

5. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of inputting a parameter inputs a parameter which indicates whether a utility algorithm is to be executed.
6. A method according to claim l, wherein the step of inputting a parameter inputs a parameter which indicates which one of a plurality of utilities, each performing a same function, is to be executed.
7. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of controlling the operation of the storage device controls the operation of a storage device selected from the group including a disk drive and a tape drive.
8. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter for controlling how errors are processed within the storage device.
9. A method according to claim 8 , wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter for controlling how many errors need to occur before performing a step of write protecting a storage medium within the storage device.
10. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter for
controlling how data is encrypted and decrypted within the storage device.
11. A method according to claim 10, wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs an encryption seed.

12. A method according to claim 11, further
comprising the step of:
deleting the encryption seed from the nonvolatile memory upon removing power from the storage device.
13. A method according to claim 1, wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter for
controlling a spin down process of the storage device.
14. A method according to claim 13, wherein:
the step of inputting the parameter inputs a time delay used for controlling the spin down process; and
the step of controlling the operation of the storage device spin downs the storage device after a predetermined period of time, which corresponds to the parameter, passes without information being written to or read from the storage device.
15. A method according to claim 1, wherein:
the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter for controlling a caching of information in the storage drive, and
the step of controlling the operation of the storage device controls a caching of information in the storage device.
16. A method according to claim 15, wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter indicating which of a plurality of caching algorithms is to be executed.

17. A method according to claim 1, wherein:
the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter for controlling a compression of information in the storage drive; and
the step of controlling the operation of the storage device controls a compression of information in the storage device.
18. A method according to claim 17, wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter indicating which of a plurality of compression algorithms is to be executed.
19. A method according to claim 17 , wherein the step of inputting the parameter inputs a parameter indicating whether the compression of information should be performed with an object of maximum data compression or minimum compression time.
20. A storage device for use with a computer, comprising:
a storage medium;
a memory for storing a control program which controls an operation of the storage device;
a nonvolatile memory for storing a parameter, altered by a user by interaction with the computer, which controls the operation of the control program; and processing circuitry for executing the control program to control the operation of the storage device using the parameter .
21. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein: the memory for storing the control program is said nonvolatile memory and said storage medium is different from the nonvolatile memory.
22. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the nonvolatile memory stores a default parameter before said parameter is altered by the user.
23. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the nonvolatile memory is selected from the group
consisting of a flash memory, an EPROM, an EEPROM, and a CMOS RAM.
24. A storage device according to claim 20, further comprising:
means for writing the parameter into the nonvolatile memory without changing the control program.
25. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory controls whether a utility algorithm is to be executed by the processing circuitry.
26. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory controls which one of a plurality of utilities, each performing a same function, is to be executed by the processing
circuitry.
27. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the storage device is selected from the group including a disk drive and a tape drive.
28. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory controls how errors are processed within the storage device.
29. A storage device according to claim 28, wherein the parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory controls how many errors need to occur before the processing circuitry write protects the storage medium.
30. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory controls how data is encrypted and decrypted within the storage device by the processing circuitry.
31. A storage device according to claim 30, wherein the parameter stored in the nonvolatile memory is an encryption seed.
32. A storage device according to claim 31, further comprising:
circuitry for deleting the encryption seed from the nonvolatile memory upon removing power from the storage device.
33. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein the nonvolatile memory stores a parameter for controlling a spin down process of the storage device performed by the processing circuitry using the control program and the parameter .
34. A storage device according to claim 33, wherein: the nonvolatile memory stores a parameter which is a time delay used for controlling the spin down process; and the processing circuitry controls the operation of the storage device spin downs the storage device after a predetermined period of time, which corresponds to the parameter, passes without information being written to or read from the storage medium.
35. A storage device according to claim 20, wherein: the nonvolatile memory stores a parameter for
controlling a caching of information in the storage drive, and
the processing circuitry controls a caching of information in the storage device.
36. A storage device according to claim 35, wherein the nonvolatile memory stores a parameter for controlling which of a plurality of caching algorithms, stored in the memory for storing the control program, is to be executed.

37. A storage device according to claim 35, wherein: the nonvolatile memory stores a parameter for
controlling a compression of information in the storage drive; and the processing circuitry controls a compression of information in the storage device using the parameter.
38. A storage device according to claim 37, wherein the nonvolatile memory stores a parameter for controlling which of a plurality of compression algorithms is to be executed.
39. A storage device according to claim 37, wherein the nonvolatile memory stores a parameter for controlling whether the compression of information should be performed with an object of maximum data compression or minimum compression time.
40. A method for formatting a storage medium using a storage drive, comprising the steps of:
formatting a first storage medium using the storage drive;
storing formatting information of the first storage medium in a nonvolatile memory of the storage drive;
inputting a command from a user to format a second storage medium;
reading the formatting information from the
nonvolatile memory of the storage drive; and
formatting the second storage medium using the formatting information which was read from the nonvolatile memory of the storage drive.
41. A method according to claim 40, further
comprising the step of: reading the first storage medium, after the step of formatting of the first storage medium and before the step of storing the formatting information, to determine the formatting information.
42. A method according to claim 40, wherein the storing step stores the formatting information in a nonvolatile semiconductor memory.
43. A method according to claim 42, wherein the storing step stores the formatting information in a nonvolatile semiconductor memory selected from the group consisting of a flash memory, an EPROM, an EEPROM, and a CMOS RAM.
44. A method according to claim 40, wherein the step of inputting a command from a user includes pushing at least one button on the storage drive for more than one second.
45. A method according to claim 40, further
comprising the step of:
determining whether the formatting information is larger than an available storage space in the nonvolatile memory.
46. A method according to claim 45, further
comprising the step of:
displaying an error message when the formatting information is determined to be larger than the available storage space in the nonvolatile memory.

47. A method according to claim 40, wherein the step of storing formatting information stores, in the
nonvolatile memory, data from sectors of the first storage medium which are not blank and sector address information.

48. A method according to claim 40, wherein the storing step includes:
writing a data structure into the nonvolatile memory which includes address information of a sector which is not considered blank, a number of non-blank sectors which follow said sector, and sector data corresponding to said sector and said non-blank sectors which follow said sector.

49. A method according to claim 40, further
comprising the step of:
reading a plurality of sectors of the first storage medium in order determine a structure of a blank sector, wherein the step of storing formatting information includes:
determining if a sector is blank by determining if corresponding sector data has the structure of a blank sector ; and
storing sector data of sectors of the first storage medium which are determined not to be blank.
50. A method according to claim 49, wherein the step of storing sector data includes:
writing a data structure into the nonvolatile memory which includes address information of a sector which is not considered blank, a number of non-blank sectors which follow said sector, and sector data corresponding to said sector and said non-blank sectors which follow said sector.

51. A storage drive which formats a storage medium, comprising:
a nonvolatile memory different from the storage medium?
means for writing formatting information of a
formatted first storage medium into the nonvolatile memory; an input device which receives a command from a user to format a second storage medium; and
means for formatting the second storage medium using the formatting information stored in the nonvolatile memory of the storage drive.
52. A storage drive according to claim 51, further comprising:
means for reading the formatted first storage medium to determine the formatting information.
53. A storage drive according to claim 52, further comprising:
means for formatting the first storage medium.
54. A storage drive according to claim 51, wherein the nonvolatile memory is a nonvolatile semiconductor memory.
55. A storage drive according to claim 51, wherein the nonvolatile memory is a nonvolatile semiconductor memory selected from the group consisting of a flash memory, an EPROM, an EEPROM, and a CMOS RAM.
56. A storage drive according to claim 51, wherein the input device includes at least one button on the storage drive which is pressed by the user for more than one second to command the formatting of the second storage medium.
57. A storage drive according to claim 51, further comprising:
means for determining whether the formatting
information is larger than an available storage space in the nonvolatile memory.
58. A storage drive according to claim 57, further comprising:
a display for displaying an error message when the formatting information is determined to be larger than the available storage space.
59. A storage drive according to claim 51, wherein the means for writing formatting information writes, in the nonvolatile memory, data from sectors of the first storage medium which are not blank and sector address information.

60. A storage drive according to claim 51, wherein the means for writing includes:
means for writing a data structure into the
nonvolatile memory which includes address information of a sector which is not considered blank, a number of non-blank sectors which follow said sector, and sector data
corresponding to said sector and said non-blank sectors which follow said sector.
61. A storage drive according to claim 51, further comprising:
means for reading a plurality of sectors of the first storage medium in order determine a structure of a blank sector,
wherein the means for writing formatting information includes:
means for determining if a sector is blank by
determining if corresponding sector data has the structure of a blank sector; and
means for storing sector data of sectors of the first storage medium which are determined not to be blank.
62. A storage drive according to claim 60, wherein the means for storing sector data includes:
means for writing a data structure into the
nonvolatile memory which includes address information of a sector which is not considered blank, a number of non-blank sectors which follow said sector, and sector data
corresponding to said sector and said non-blank sectors which follow said sector.
63. A memory for storing a data structure which includes information of sectors of a storage medium, comprising: a field for storing address information of a non-blank sector of the storage medium;
a field for storing a number of non-blank sectors which follow said non-blank sector; and
a field for storing sector data of said non-blank sector and said non-blank sectors which follow said non-blank sector.
64. A memory according to claim 63, wherein the memory is a nonvolatile semiconductor memory.
65. A memory according to claim 64, wherein the nonvolatile semiconductor memory is selected from the group consisting of a flash memory, an EPROM, an EEPROM, and a CMOS RAM.