Computer Help forum


Memory Stick possibly corrupted computer.

by phoenixx87 / June 28, 2013 2:25 AM PDT

Basically I bought a memory stick from Kingston because I work from home as a tutor and I wanted somewhere to save my work. When I put the memory stick in the laptop and turned it on it said unable to read disk on a black background with white text. I took the memory stick out and then it booted up ok. I did some work on a word document and saved it, when I closed and tried to open it I got all the pages loaded with the word count but they were all blank. I found a fix where u delete somethin in the regedit ( I did all these fixes from this site. I then tried opening it a few more times and I got an error i think something mse46 and something to do with converting, after clicking the X the document opened but with all squares on it (I cant remember if I got the error before or after the fixes) I thought it was a problem with the memory stick so I went on the PC and found one of the first saved versions (before I moved it to the laptop and worked some more on it), this opened fine so I put it on the new memory stick and one of my old ones. On the new memory stick I got the same issue but on the old one I didnt. Today I turned my PC on and it took forever to load. I tried to upload work for a student and when I clicked browse to add a file it didnt do anything. I opened some word documents from the PC fine and when I went to save it worked ok. When I clicked save as it opened but wouldnt let me change the folder it just gave me the message 'initialising the root folders to display' I tried to click close and nothing happened, ctrl alt del didnt do anything, shut down didnt do anything I ended up turning it off at the plug. I have a 6yr old PC on XP and my laptop that I mentioned runs on Vista I dont know more about operating systems to give any more information and I was using MS Office (word) 2007. I have Microsoft Security Essentials and run Malwarebytes, Adaware and disk defrag pretty frequently and I run scans from MSE probably once a week. As you can appreciate working from home I really need my computer, I have the work on a memory stick but as the laptop is working OK I don't want to put anything in it that might corrupt it too until I know what I'm dealing with. It seems all the problems I had were since I got this memory stick I had no issues prior to it.

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Clarification Request
So this is your only copy?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 28, 2013 2:33 AM PDT

Memory sticks are nice and all but to depend on it as your lone copy is taking far too much risk in my experience.

I've found that XP machines do have issues with the new larger sticks (the ones over 2GB) so you know when dealing with old gear to not count on your 8GB or larger stick to work.

And certainly no one would ever rely solely on a memory stick for the work.

Let me be more blunt and share my work flow. I edit my files and copy them to the stick. Then I may sync them to my DropBox. That way I have no less than 3 copies in case of any issue.

All Answers

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Re: Memory Stick possibly corrupted computer
by wpgwpg / June 28, 2013 2:32 AM PDT

It sounds like you could have a virus or other malware. Get your antivirus program up to date and boot into Safe Mode. Note that some viruses can hide themselves from your antivirus program in normal mode, so you really need to scan in Safe Mode. To get into Safe Mode when you first power up, hit F8 about once a second until you get the menu and select Safe Mode. Then run a full system scan.
Microsoft has suggestions and offerings at
MS forum moderator Keith has some suggestions along this line at
If that fixes it, fine. If not, use System Restore to go back to a date prior to the beginning of the problem. To run System Restore, click Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore. Click the box that says Show more restore points.
You can check for corrupted system files. Open an administrator command prompt and run SFC if the above doesn't help. Click START, then type CMD in the search box, right-click CMD.EXE and click Run as administrator. Then from the command prompt type sfc /scannow.
Finally if all else fails, you can check the rather cryptic system event log. To do that click Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Event Viewer. Once in Event Viewer click on the system log and scroll through the entries looking for those flagged "error" to see if you can find hints as to where the problem could be.
When you get your system back in good working order, I urge you to back your system up to an external hard drive and make regular periodic updates to it.
I hope this helps. Good luck.

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Woah, not so fast.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 28, 2013 2:47 AM PDT

Notice they have a XP machine in the mix and I've lost count of machines with flaky front USB ports and XP installs that don't support drives over 2GB.

The unseasoned user could think this corrupted the machine or drive.

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It works w/16 & 32 GB sticks & XP SP3 here
by wpgwpg / June 28, 2013 3:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Woah, not so fast.

Bob, I have a 16 GB Dash and a Kingston 32 GB one which I just tried on both my XP SP3 computer and XP Mode under Windows 7. Both were factory formatted FAT32 and both systems were able to recognize & process the data on them without any problems. I didn't have any Office docs on either drive, so maybe there's some problem with them, but XP has been able to handle FAT32 files for a long time. There IS a 2 GB boundary if the devices are formatted FAT, but I haven't reformatted either one, and they work fine here. Maybe if someone has a version of XP that's not up to date, or maybe if they've reformatted a greater than 2 GB stick FAT, they could have a problem, but FAT32 works just fine for me. I don't know about anything larger than 32 GB flash drives, but I do have a 500 GB external IDE hard drive formatted NTFS, and it works just fine with my XP too.

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Same here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 28, 2013 3:57 AM PDT

But I do encounter friends that have machines with issues. The front USB port issue is pretty widespread.

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I agree
by Jimmy Greystone / June 28, 2013 4:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Woah, not so fast.

I agree. From looking at things, the initial issue looks like the unit tried to boot off the memory stick and failed when it didn't find a bootable OS. Later the OP tries to save something on the memory stick, it doesn't work for one reason or another and now they can't recover the documents since that was their only copy.

I see nothing that suggests malware... Yet. Could be some flaky USB ports as Bob suggested, the memory stick could be defective (there's a thriving trade in selling "fake" memory sticks on ebay) or maybe both. The file system on the memory stick could simply be corrupted and needs to be formatted. There are loads of possibilities to discount before leaping to malware.

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updated info
by phoenixx87 / June 28, 2013 8:55 AM PDT
In reply to: I agree

Hi everyone. Firstly thank you all for the detailed and prompt replies. I perhaps didnt explain correctly. I have xp on the pc and vista on the laptop. My first use of the memory stick was on the vista machine when I got the disk error. I saved my work to it and to the laptop. It was later on in the day I tried to open my work and found it was blank. I tried the fixes mentioned to no avail. At this point I thought maybe it was a problem with my laptop and so went upstairs to the xp machine. It is worth noting I have used memory sticks that size before and never had a problem. I also have 2 1tb hard drives which my pc and laptop are regularly backed up to. I only started this job 4 days ago so my workflow consisted of saving to laptop and memory stick then on the xp machine, which I use daily as im also a photographer and it has a big screen, I take the memory stick up with me and back the work up on the pc so I still have 3 copies. The memory stick is a backup and a way of working if im not at home at university though I appreciate the concern. The memory stick was purchased through Amazon but I went first on Kingstons website and clicked where to buy, on clicking the amazon link it took me to the page of the seller therefore I believed them to be reputable. I did have another copy of the document on my laptop but id lost about 30 mins of typing and hadn't yet saved it to the pc, that document is less of an issue as I redid the small amount I lost however not being able to open documents through a web browser which is vital to my work as their assignments have to be submitted online, and the fact that on my pc I cant save work in any folder other than the one which is selected at the time of clicking save as is more problematic as I do the majority of my typing on the pc as I need to view a few documents at once.

I will have a look at booting in safe mode and will look at the pages you mentioned once I get back. Again thank you for your help.

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