Need program to reformat erratic USB flash drive. Any tips?

By EmaSt · 14 replies
Apr 21, 2010
  1. A new USB flash memory (Cruzer 8Gb formatted as fat32)
    refuses to accept files when I move (drag) them into it from my HD and shows a message :
    ‘Cannot create or replace file (folder). Cannot find specified file. Make sure you specify correct path and file name.’

    Never before had such a problem with USB flash memory .
    Standard test shows nothing …
    Tried to fix the problem by doing optimization/ error check in Properties window and also to reformat using the standard approach. with Windows.
    Computer just does nothing .
    Properties for the USB flash tells me that both free and used paces are 0 (zero)
    Also, did try other approaches incl from this website - nothing works..
    Now I‘m stuck with this dead USB flash .

    I am prepared to throw it away but want to try some more powerful program which will
    wipe it and reformat it from the top to the bottom.
    Any ideas for such a software,please?

    I have Windows XP pro.

    This is one-off task and I am looking for free or shareware?

    Thanks for your practical tip!
  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    HP USB format utility is most commonly used, you seem to have no objection about erasing data, but just to mention it, the format will delete everything.
    If that doesn't work, then thats bad. There's the HDD low level format utility, but i've never used nor had to use it.
  3. EmaSt

    EmaSt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    To hellokitty[hk]
    The search link you offer is a list of software - whuch one to choose?

    And there is another question - these programs seem to be very HP specialised,

    I am not very conversant with complex technical matters...

    Thanks in advance for more practical tips
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

  5. EmaSt

    EmaSt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool did not work at all, any other ideas?
  6. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Have you tried formatting it with NTFS (file system) instead?

    Also, do a normal format not quick format and see whether that helps.
  7. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    I had purchased two PNY 4GB USB Sticks both reformated to NTFS, one works like the program your reporting. HP USB tool doesn't work, commercial ones nope. The drive will open be seen under XP in safe mode not 7.
  8. EmaSt

    EmaSt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The problem gets even stranger...

    There is no option other than quick reformat...
    Did try the big HP Drive Key Boot Utility- no big help because it tells me that flash drive is formatted and ok I even can see old files on it,
    but if try to delete old files from it a message appears that Flash disk is write protected and advises to remove write protection!

    How write protection from a Flash disk is removed? Ive tried what is provided in windows but no go! There are no options for it anywhere to be seen!

    Any ideas about how to remove write protection?
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Are you running XP SP3? When you run Windows Update do you click Custom?Have you applied all the Hardware Optional updates to your machine?

    /* edit */
    btw.. aren't cruzer's U3 devices? have you gone to the SanDisk site and download the tool to remove U3 functionality?

    /* edit 2 */
    Curious.. can you insert 2 flash drives. Does one work OK and only the other stay write protected? Or are they both write protected when both plugged in? Then swap the USB ports and do you still get the same result of the same one write protected?
  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    just fyi... Something that just occured to me when thinking about the thread...

    An important distinction about U3 devices: U3 flash drives present themselves to Windows as a composite USB device (meaning it presents itself as having multiple USB interfaces) one of which is a CD drive.

    I don't think simple USB reformatting tools can modify what Windows sees as the "CD" functionality of the drive since the Plug and Play "handshake" that occurs when you plug in the USB flash (where a PnP device presents its Hardware IDs to Windows to identify all of its device interfaces) is done by the device firmware. And my guess is SanDisk U3 removal tool probably updates the firmware as well so the device will only then look like a simple flash drive. Just a guess IMHO on why this might be an issue and why simple flash drive reformat tools aren't sufficient for the task on a U3 device
  11. EmaSt

    EmaSt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes LookinAround
    I have XP pro revision 3.
    I have not applied Hardware Optional updates - is there relevance to my USb stick problem, any tips about it?

    No, it is not U3 , know about U3 existence but am not interested in...
    You ask about "can you insert 2 flash drives" - yes, one works ok while the problematic one keeps well, giving problems...

    Again, how can I make this USB flash non-write protected as advised in the message that appears?

    Any concrete ideas,please?

  12. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    As the drive is new, I guess it would be more appropriate to get it replaced (as the drive should be in warranty).

    Also, as a side not have you tried this device on some other computer?
  13. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I think Archean has the simplest approach: get it replaced under warranty

    But re: U3
    My suggestion was pure theory based on your problem w/reformatting. So now I'm just curious to ask.. when you say "it is not U3" does that mean you've already run the U3 removal tool?

    Isn't your 8GB Cruzer the device below? This product is, by default, a U3 device.
  14. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I recently bought a 4GB cruzer USB flash drive, and it wasn't a U3 device (I wasn't looking for one either anyway). So I guess same is the case here.
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Now i'm just darn curious...

    Does your device also say Cruzer micro 8GB on the front? Look identical to this one?

    /* edit */
    Well, i mean identical other then yours is 4GB!! (of course :) )

    /* edit 2 */
    Or maybe you have a Cruzer mini? (which i now see is a different model)
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