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Old 11-24-2010, 10:13 AM   #1
mikemrh9
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USB memory stick has doubled in size - why?


I have an OCZ Mini-Kart USB stick which says 2GB on it, and it has been a 2GB stick for the last 3 years. However, I recently put it into a PC running XP (which had no viruses as far as I am aware) and all of the files in the single subdirectory became corrupted and unreadable. All files at the root of the USB stick were fine, and I could still boot from it (I had Puppy linux installed).

I looked to see if the corrupted files in the subdirectory were recoverable, but they were all inaccessible, (with freshly mangled file-names containing multiple copies of the characters '' and '=' amongst others), and reporting file sizes of up to 1.9GB each. I examined the memory stick with fdisk and with Gparted, and saw that it was reporting two 2GB partitions, which was certainly not the case before, as I had recreated the partition table several times in the past.

I removed all partitions, created a new partition table and recreated a single partition, which is now 4GB in size. I have trashed it and recreated it three times, formatting it with ext3, ext2 and finally FAT32, all of which reported a partition size of 4GB. I currently have a 4GB FAT 32 partition, and have tested it by successfully copying a 3GB .iso file to it.

Although it's nice to have a 4GB memory stick, it does seem rather odd and I no longer trust it with my data.

If anybody has any ideas as to what may have happened, I would be intrigued!
 
Old 11-24-2010, 12:05 PM   #2
H_TeXMeX_H
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I most certainly would NOT trust it, no way, ever ! I mean, not when it does something like that.

Can you actually copy the iso back to the HDD and verify its integrity. I'll bet you anything it will be corrupt.

As for what happened, well it's what always eventually happens with USB sticks, they wear out, with variable strange results.

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 11-24-2010 at 12:07 PM.
 
Old 11-24-2010, 12:12 PM   #3
GrapefruiTgirl
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I found this interesting when I read it, and thought of something:

Maybe the USB stick (like so many other electronic/computer thing) contains parts which make it physically identical to some other model of USB stick, except that the other model is sold as the 4 Gib version. Depending how the device (or internals) perform during quality control, determines whether it becomes a 2 Gib or 4 Gib version. Maybe in this case, the device didn't quite pass muster to become a 4 Gib unit, but now, today, it is acting up and pretending to be just that. Like some portion of the memory inside it failed to be active during manufacture, but it is active now.

I have an old, flaky, video card which has 128MB onboard memory, but sometimes it thinks it has only 64MB - same idea, only reversed.

Whatever is the case, I agree with Tex - don't trust the device any more. Get a new one! I too am curious about the integrity of the ISO though.
 
Old 11-24-2010, 12:16 PM   #4
H_TeXMeX_H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrapefruiTgirl View Post
Maybe the USB stick (like so many other electronic/computer thing) contains parts which make it physically identical to some other model of USB stick, except that the other model is sold as the 4 Gib version. Depending how the device (or internals) perform during quality control, determines whether it becomes a 2 Gib or 4 Gib version. Maybe in this case, the device didn't quite pass muster to become a 4 Gib unit, but now, today, it is acting up and pretending to be just that. Like some portion of the memory inside it failed to be active during manufacture, but it is active now.
Now that I think of it, this is possible in theory. I mean they could either downgrade lower quality ones, or cripple them on purpose so they can fill the market niche with their product. It would be most interesting if this were true. Imagine that you could buy a 2GB stick and hack it to get 4GB ! Cool. But, somehow, I don't think so
 
Old 11-24-2010, 12:23 PM   #5
GrapefruiTgirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
...I mean they could either downgrade lower quality ones, or cripple them on purpose so they can fill the market niche with their product.
Definitely possible - more than possible I suspect..
Quote:
... Imagine that you could buy a 2GB stick and hack it to get 4GB ! Cool. But, somehow, I don't think so
Never know! I say it happens!

Not too long ago there was the "mystery" third/fourth core unlock mod for those AMD processors. And there have been hardware mods for Intel processors in the past if I recall right.

And, don't/didn't Celerons materialize from not-quite-up-to-par Pentium-class chips?

And then there's the video cards again. That old flaky one of mine is one thing, but from what I've read, other cards can be given this-or-that model number depending on how many of their internal pipelines actually work properly at testing: more working pipelines = higher model number.. lol
 
Old 11-24-2010, 12:38 PM   #6
H_TeXMeX_H
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I think some registers on Celerons were disabled on purpose, again to fill market niche, but could be hacked to be back online ... so yes, if this is the case here, it can be done.

Some video cards did have something like that, but not all. Most of the time they added more video RAM to them.

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 11-24-2010 at 12:39 PM.
 
Old 11-24-2010, 12:39 PM   #7
mikelist
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i fdisked a flash drive as /dev/sda1,(instead of sda) and put a 2gig partition on it.
later when i did it right, there was a 2g partition in the 2g device on sda. this could be your problem.
 
Old 11-24-2010, 02:14 PM   #8
mikemrh9
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Well, I started to look into whether or not the iso was corrupted as suggested, but (rather predictably I suppose) the whole stick gave up the ghost and can't be read at all now. I've had a few USB sticks fail on me in the past, but never in such an interesting way!

I'm sorry that I can't offer money for old rope and provide a magic solution for doubling all of your storage, but it was certainly an entertaining diversion.

For all of its benefits, USB flash storage is still no substitute for hard disks and DVDs as far as I can see. I'm glad that I don't have one of those little netbooks with a built-in time bomb...
 
Old 11-25-2010, 07:33 AM   #9
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USB flash should NEVER be used for backup, because it does exactly what you saw. It fails suddenly, unexpectedly, irrecoverably.
 
  


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