Welcome to USBtalk.

by admin on September 3rd, 2009

Hello world,

My name is Nicholas Moller, from here on out nick, and I am the senior IT administrator and programer at USB Memory Direct. I started this blog to talk about all the cool things that pass through the office and my head during the day as well as my hobbies; photography, programming, and the human mind.

I have noticed a lot of people do not really know much about what they are getting when it comes to usb drives. So I have decided to talk a little bit about the different types of products you can find on the market.

Fake Flash Drives or Ghost Drives

First an foremost the infamous ghost/fake drives that are plaguing the market. A ghost drive is a flash drive that reports a false capacity, this is done purposely by the manufacturers. Manufacturers can program the controller chip to report a high capacity than what the device really is. So when you plug it in and view the drive properties it will say it is 2gb but the actual chip is only 512mb.

Once a ghost drive is filled up you won’t be able to put anymore data onto the device although your operating system will continue to try, since the device is reporting only 25% of its space is used. This behavior will result in data loss and potential system instability.

If you come across a price that seems to good to be true it most likely is. Exercise caution when purchasing from unknown vendors promising ridiculously low prices compared to the rest of the marketplace.

Detecting Ghost Drives

There is a simple program called H2testw which will fill your drive with sample data then check to see if it stored correctly.

  1. Download H2testw here
  2. Extract and open the program
  3. Select English as the language
  4. Select your target device by it’s drive letter from the My Computer submenu
  5. Hit Write + Verify

A good ouput should look like this:

Test finished without errors.
You can now delete the test files *.h2w or verify them again.
Writing speed: 5.38 MByte/s
Reading speed: 15.7 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

A bad output would look something like this:

Warning: Only 374 of 496 MByte tested.
The media is likely to be defective.
0 KByte OK (0 sectors)
374 MByte DATA LOST (765952 sectors)
Details:0 KByte overwritten (0 sectors)
0 KByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 0 sectors)
374 MByte corrupted (765952 sectors)
0 KByte aliased memory (0 sectors)
First error at offset: 0x0000000000000000
Expected: 0x0000000000000000
Found: 0x00020000ff3f0000
H2testw version 1.3
Writing speed: 16.5 MByte/s
Reading speed: 11.8 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4
  • Massive write speeds, higher than the read speeds, means you are not actually putting info onto the usb.

H2testw is capable of detecting other errors but I won’t be getting into them today.

  • Remember a great price does not mean a great buy always get the best value not price. Most low priced vendors use tricks like this to reduce their cost.
  • We provide lifetime replacement warranties on all orders. Vendors who will not do they same should be avoided.

Hope this is helpful for some of you out there. I will continue next week with different chip grades.

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