Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    235
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked
    11 times in 9 posts

    Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    Hi there,

    I've got a 8gb USB flash drive (or pen / thumb drive, whatever you want to call it!). Of late, files have been getting corrupted. Reformatting etc. has not helped.

    I used it for backup, so I've now got a new one for backup, so all is well.

    However, I know this is the sign of a dying USB drive etc etc. but it would be useful to still use it for file transfer of unimportant data - video / mp3s the like. Is there anyway you can map and exclude bad sectors / blocks on a USB drive so that they are not used and the filesystem only uses the good parts of the chip? I know this is doable on hard drives, but as mapping of data is not so consistent on flash drives - any ideas / programs I could use to do this?

    A Google search just says "get a new drive" which I have done. But as said, keeping it for file transfers that don't matter would be useful.

    Thanks all!

  2. #2
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    29,218
    Thanks
    1,526
    Thanked
    2,939 times in 2,382 posts
    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps

    Re: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    Can you chkdsk USB drives? That might mark 'bad sectors' - they are still a fixed physical location on flash memory I think.

  3. #3
    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Looking down & checking on swearing
    Posts
    19,381
    Thanks
    2,892
    Thanked
    3,403 times in 2,693 posts

    Re: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    I'm pretty sure that the embedded controller on these devices does map out bad cells so if you are getting lots of errors, the drive is pretty much dead. Reformatting wouldn't help - all that does is install the file system.
    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    Been helped or just 'Like' a post? Use the Thanks button!
    My broadband speed - 750 Meganibbles/minute

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Reading
    Posts
    380
    Thanks
    45
    Thanked
    4 times in 4 posts

    Re: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    More hassle than it's worth; even if its not crucial data. It would still be annoying if you put 8gigs worth of music on it and you couldn't retrieve it off the stick properly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    235
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked
    11 times in 9 posts

    Re: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the replies. Nope, Chkdsk doesn't seem to work. It finds bad sectors, but says couldn't fix because the /F suffix wasn't used. If you add that, it says it can't do it because teh drive is mounted. If you unmount the drive, it can't find the drive (in Windows). Could Badblocks in Linux maybe do the same? Badblocks itself doesn't seem to "fix", you have to invoke e2fsk, which in turn can only work on ext2 partitions, not FAT16 or 32 (the usual for flash disks so that they are universally recognised *sigh* Maybe it is time for the bin!

  6. #6
    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Looking down & checking on swearing
    Posts
    19,381
    Thanks
    2,892
    Thanked
    3,403 times in 2,693 posts

    Re: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    You could try writing zeros to all locations with the dd command - then reformat

    dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/usb_drive (where usb_drive is the actual location

    and then try re-formatting (ie, adding a file system) but it is a bit of a last ditch, and I wouoldn't trust it. They are cheap as choips and as Wolfe says, not worth the hassle.
    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    Been helped or just 'Like' a post? Use the Thanks button!
    My broadband speed - 750 Meganibbles/minute

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    235
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked
    11 times in 9 posts

    Re: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    Hi all,

    I couldn't find / get any programs to check or sort the USB drive, so in the end I wrote a PERL script in Linux to fill the 8GB drive with 1MB files of known content, then read back the files. Those that were as they should be were deleted. Those that were wrong were left. The result, a drive with a bunch of files on "covering over" bad data positions. Hid the files in Windows (and by adding a "." in Linux). Seems to work fine now. What the problem ended up being though, is the drive was a "fake". It has a 2GB chip, but the controller reported it as a 8GB. As a result, the first 2GB data was fine, the next 50MB was filled with errors (now blocked off due to my "dead files"), and anything after that disappeared into the Abyss! That's what you get from buying one cheap from Hong Kong on Ebay! Anyway, now got a perfectly usable 2GB drive for file transfer.

    I had to laugh anyway! Cheers again for your advices (is that a word?)

  8. #8
    Hexus.trombonist
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    742
    Thanks
    72
    Thanked
    44 times in 36 posts
    • Powderhound's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5Q-E
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 2.66GHz under a Xigmatek HDT-S1283
      • Memory:
      • 4GB OCZ Reaper HPC 1066MHz
      • Storage:
      • 750GB Samsung Spinpoint F1
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 4850
      • PSU:
      • Corsair TX650W
      • Case:
      • Antec P182
      • Operating System:
      • Windows Vista Home Premium, Ubuntu 8.10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Samsung T220 22"
      • Internet:
      • Plus.net Broadband Your Way Option 2

    Re: Worn out USB Flash Drive - Repairable?

    Quote Originally Posted by maverick77_uk View Post
    Hi all,

    I couldn't find / get any programs to check or sort the USB drive, so in the end I wrote a PERL script in Linux to fill the 8GB drive with 1MB files of known content, then read back the files. Those that were as they should be were deleted. Those that were wrong were left. The result, a drive with a bunch of files on "covering over" bad data positions. Hid the files in Windows (and by adding a "." in Linux). Seems to work fine now. What the problem ended up being though, is the drive was a "fake". It has a 2GB chip, but the controller reported it as a 8GB. As a result, the first 2GB data was fine, the next 50MB was filled with errors (now blocked off due to my "dead files"), and anything after that disappeared into the Abyss! That's what you get from buying one cheap from Hong Kong on Ebay! Anyway, now got a perfectly usable 2GB drive for file transfer.

    I had to laugh anyway! Cheers again for your advices (is that a word?)
    That's quite a neat solution actually.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. USB flash drive formatting?
    By MarcLister in forum Help! Quick Relief From Tech Headaches
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-01-2008, 09:15 PM
  2. Kingston Technology 2GB USB 2.0 Flash Pen Drive £18.99 at Amazon
    By amdavies in forum Retail Therapy and Bargains
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-12-2006, 01:25 PM
  3. USB Flash Drive sized distribution of Linux.
    By Workaholic in forum Software
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 13-11-2005, 03:43 PM
  4. SanDisk 512MB Micro Cruzer USB Flash Drive for £17.99
    By edgars70 in forum Retail Therapy and Bargains
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-11-2005, 06:56 PM
  5. Weird Problems - Please Help!!
    By chez in forum PC Hardware and Components
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 20-09-2003, 06:25 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •