Files disappearing from flash drive

By 7dave7
May 6, 2007
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  1. Hello group,

    Hoping this is the correct forum for this problem. If not, please suggest where to post.

    Have 2 brand new NO NAME 8 Gig flash memory drives (USB2). Windows XP detects them as Sony devices when plugged in, but NO markings on devices as to brand or anything ( E-Bay items).

    Both units formatted FAT 32 and no option to change. No software came with them either and nothing loaded on them from factory.

    Can copy files to and from units no problem - until I unplug them. Once I plug them back into same computer or different one, Windows Explorer shows no files, although, properties shows the amount of data on the chip, as if the files are there, but just cannot be seen and therefore cannot be accessed.

    No hidden files settings I am aware of.

    Also tried using IOLO's Search and Recover 3. On basic scan, S&R3 reports no files on drive. Using Strong Scan seems to hang the program.

    Tried each flashdrive on 3 different computers with same results.

    This one has me baffled.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Dave J.
  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    DID you STOP the devices before unplugging them like a GOOD computer user would do? Hot swapping is dangerous to data.
  3. 7dave7

    7dave7 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    HelloTedster,

    Thank you for your reply and suggestion about STOPPING the flash drive before unplugging it. Yes, I DID try performing a STOP before unplugging, but that did not make any difference. The problem continues.

    Dave J.
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    then I would say your drive is unreliable. It is never a wise idea to put important stuff ONLY on flash drives. The media by nature is not reliable.
  5. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    There are no components we see in our repair shop that are more failure prone than "thumb" or flash drives.
    Very often you can get easy replacement from the manufacturer when you have a proof of purchase. some are warranteed only 30 days... some have a warranty of 3 years.
    But I think you can give up.
    The prices are too low. We just bought a dozen 8 GB flash drives with three year warranty for $60 each... and 2 GB for $21... But regardless of the price, they just cannot be trusted with valuable data without a backup someplace.
    Flash drives should not be considered storage devices, but rather data movers.
  6. stindle

    stindle Newcomer, in training Posts: 36


    I guess if you go for the cheaper ones you get what you pay for, but I have had 8 Kingston Datatraveler 2 gig drives in the company for years now and one of them even went thru the wash and never lost any data.

    But we also don't use them to store backups but for work tools/software or install files. And like I said never had any problems

    So I would say Kingston is a good brand
  7. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    It doesn't have much to do with brand, or cheap. 87 percent of all flash drives are made by Samsung for the other manufacturers. There is little reason why some are bad and other are not.
    Sony and SanDisk flash drives have some of the highest failure rates, but otherwise, it is the luck of the draw. You may go a lifetime and never have one fail, or you could have six go bad in a month.
    All you can count on is that the better manufacturers will quickly give you a replacement without argument.
  8. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    When I say unreliable, I mean, the storage is RAM - which is volatile and subject to easy erasure - much more so than a hard drive. The sheer portability, medium, and vulnerability to breakage, heat, shock, and static makes it easy to risk data. This is why I say it is not as reliable a medium as other devices.
    Sure- you can have really tough USB drives. Heck there are even military grade USB drives. Most of the upper end brands are more reliable than others.
    The ones I have really seen issues with here at techspot are the sanddisc cruiser drives.
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