Storage forum


Corrupt thumb drive corrupts other thumb drives

by computerdownhouse / October 20, 2014 9:02 AM PDT

My antiquated system's specs:

op sys = Windows Nt 4.0
hdd = 2GB
two USB ports
I'm using a shareware USB driver

Because the ports are at the back of the computer and are difficult to reach I use two cables purchased from the dollar store. The cables are around five years old. I've been using the shareware USB driver for around five years. No major problems until now.

I use many thumb drives on cable & port #1. My backup thumb drive is on cable & port #2.

I have a tempermental 4GB flash drive that I use for copying files from other computers. The flash drive is actually larger but I formatted it to maximum capacity for my system. This flash drive is now corrupt. Cross-linking, single files being listed multiple times in the same directory, illegal entries, files of impossible sizes and cluster locations (e.g. cluster 452,621,515,971 on a FAT 16 flash drive). Files named USBCB now appear in my directories. According to a reliable disk editor program, files are now marked as volumes.

So I tried saving the good files to another flash drive. Can't remember which cable I put each on. (By this point, I had unhooked my document backup thumb drive. It's still unhooked and will remain unhooked until I figure this out.)

Now the other flash drive became corrupt. Oddly, it was older files and directories got damaged. The copied-over files were fine.

At first I thought virus, but there were no usual tell-tale signs. Moreover my hdd is fine. I rebooted it several times over and no problems. I even copied several files from the tempermental corrupted flash drive onto my hdd without problems. My backup thumb drive is okay - I tested it every which way and it's okay. I unhooked it and have kept it unhooked.

I virus-scanned the flash drive on a modern computer system with an up-to-date virus scanner and no viruses were found.

I think my USB driver program is okay. I can't remember for sure, but I believe that flash drive corruption continued even after I rebooted the system.

It's not a counterfeit USB capacity problem. I reformat all flash drives for FAT 16.

Then I thought, I'm always shoving the #1 cable around - it's always in the way. Can a faulty cable corrupt flash drives?

I put both corrupt flash drives on the #2 cable - to try and recover the lost files and directories - and there's been no more corruption.

When I get a chance I'm going to plug another USB directly into the #1 port and then copy the good files from the tempermental corrupted flash drive onto the other flash drive and will report back.

I should add that I've been using the tempermental flash drive a lot for at least half year - pretty much non-stop. It's tempermental because sometimes when I plug it into any system, I have to wait fifteen or so seconds for the system to recognize it. Sometimes I have to remove it and replug it.

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All Answers

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If I read this right
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 20, 2014 9:58 AM PDT

You had a year to get rid of the temperamental drive. But rather than rehash any obvious discussion you can't trust such drives, try booting any Linux to see if it can copy over the files. Yes there are clients that will not do that and our techs will do it for them (cha-ching.)

As to corrupting other drives I recall that setup to do that to drives over 2GB and FAT16/32 drives too. Microsoft left that broke so I don't have a fix. Just exits.

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by computerdownhouse / October 21, 2014 5:59 AM PDT
In reply to: If I read this right

Thank you for taking the time to reply, but your cryptic answer doesn't help.

I used this tempermental flash drive for a *half-year* precisely because it was for transferring generally non-crucial files from other computers to my own home computer.

I've used this set-up for around *five* years with only minor glitches until now. I want to know based on the information above if a faulty USB cable is the culprit. Can faulty USB cables corrupt flash drives? The USB cable seems to me like it may be the problem, but I don't know enough about computers to know for sure. That's why I posted here. I don't want to run into this problem again.

Copying over the files isn't a problem since I have a disk editor program that can search clusters. I also make it a point whenever I save a file to this USB to copy it twice onto the flash drive just to be a safe side. Moreover most of the files can easily be replaced.

I do have important files backed up on CD. However for short term backup, USB drives work fine for me.

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Always your choice.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 21, 2014 6:30 AM PDT
In reply to: :(

There is something left out here. There are many front USB ports that are flaky. That discussion is also well done. I use the rear ports.

Sorry if I don't have an answer but the billion dollars company didn't either!

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