Author Topic: Box full of flash drives  (Read 324 times)

zedd151

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Box full of flash drives
« on: July 02, 2018, 11:12:33 AM »
I obtained a box full of USB thumb drives some time ago. Don't get too excited, they are only ~64 MB drives.
 
The lot of them were marked for destruction at a company that I briefly worked at. So when that company
was preparing to move to a new facility, the pallet full of boxes filled with those little thumb drives
were finally going to be discarded. So I asked if I could keep some of them. The boss gave me a boxfull
that contained maybe a hundred of these devices. (Cheap bastard :P  there were hundreds of those boxes)
 
I checked them, many were indeed "bad". But most of them seem to work okay. I test each one by first plugging
it into the USB port on my computer. There is an LED on each drive. If there is no activity on the LED, it
automatically gets scrapped.
 
Then I wait to see what explorer has to say about the drives, the remaining suspected bad drives show up as
"USB Disk USB Device" the suspected good drives show up as "CCT USB2.0 USB Device". I could have that
backwards. I may be keeping the ones that are actually bad.
 
I did notice that they don't format to NTFS very well for many of them or even FAT32. They were originally
formatted as FAT(16), so I question if they are  really USB 2.0 drives - but I don't know all that much about
 the USB 2.0 specifications.
 
What I need is a better way to determine whether or not any of these small thumb drives are usable or not.
I inspected some of them with WinHex; many of them (25-30%) show total size as 0x04000000 some do not. The ones that
show less, I suspect are damaged in some way.

Write speed reported as max .49 MB/s
 
Read speed shows as just under 1 MB/s
 
Anyway, I've decided to keep the ones that pass the first stage of testing, The next phase of testing will be to
write to the disk from a file with a known CRC32 value, then read that file from the disk and check the CRC32 value.
 
I found a tool on the internet "Check Flash 1.17.0" that program shows most of the drives to have bad sectors.
The tool I downloaded came from 'Tom's Hardware'.

But reading and writing to the entire flash drive seemed to be working from within WinHex. So I am doubtful of
whether that Check Flash tool is reporting accurately or not.
 
 
Anybody know of a good tool to use to check flash drives? Something perhaps from a better known and reputable source?

My idea is to use those flash drives for my masm32 projects. My HD space is limited, and it would be good to have the projects
on portable storage so I can work on them away from my computer.  8)
I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my moments.  :P

zedd151

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 12:37:06 PM »
Upon further testing I find that the drives that are able to be formatted to NTFS or FAT32 are usable. The drives that can only be formatted to FAT have issues with them.
 
I have copied the masm32 directory to one of the drives formatted to FAT32, (NTFS takes too much space on the drive)
 
Then I will run a file comparison test for the files.  :biggrin:   This will take a long time I know, but I have a little more time I can spend on this adventure.
 
The drives that I was going to discard, I will retest to see how many are able to be reformatted to NTFS or FAT32. The saga continues....
 
edit to add:
For a quick check, I am running the executables (from the masm32 installation there) since if they are corrupt they won't run properly.  :biggrin:
So far everything seems to be okay with this flash drive at least.
 
If I have to scrap the majority of them it will be alright since they didn't cost me anything except the time I spent 'checking' them.  :icon_confused:
I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my moments.  :P

zedd151

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 12:56:15 PM »
Still further testing, I have removed the large .lst files (~ 5 MB each) from Bill Craveners examples; calendar.lst, appender.lst and controls.lst; I have done this to allow more space for the MFT and other NTFS files, so I can convert to NTFS. I won't be needing those .lst files any time soon so all is well. Sorry Bill.  :icon_redface:    and hutch--  :shock: 
 
All is well. A nice speed improvement with NTFS. I will use the drive to run masm32 from for time being, and store the project(s) that I am working on there (but keep a backup on the C: drive, just in case).
 
There is plenty of space for that  now.   8)
I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my moments.  :P

sinsi

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 01:43:44 PM »
Be adventurous, plug in 2 (or 3 or 4) and RAID them  :biggrin:
I can walk on water but stagger on beer.

zedd151

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 02:06:04 PM »
Be adventurous, plug in 2 (or 3 or 4) and RAID them  :biggrin:

If I could, I'd probably try that.  :P
 
But only 2 USB ports on this netbook, and one is dedicated for my cordless mouse.  :icon_mrgreen:
 
I know I have at least one that works well. I have Copied and removed files from it, defragmented it numerous times throughout the testing, ran some read, write, burn tests on it - and reformatted it a dozen or more times plus wiping it - so far it is rock solid.
I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my moments.  :P

daydreamer

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 02:36:41 PM »
Its possible to make one as a 2mb partition and put a start diskette on newer systems,just need to turn start usb on in bios
I did that on my oldest 128mb usb,instead of scrap it
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Raistlin

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2018, 08:54:11 PM »
Build your own solid-state RAID anyone ? I have so many old flashes - so let me know if it works. :biggrin:

https://za.pinterest.com/pin/549650329516283856/

For the more adventurous...  8)

https://hackaday.com/2016/01/25/raspberry-pi-zero-cluster-packs-a-punch/?imm_mid=0dfb95&cmp=em-prog-na-na-newsltr_control_20160130
Are you pondering what I'm pondering? It's time to take over the world ! - let's use ASSEMBLY...

zedd151

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2018, 09:01:01 PM »
Build your own solid-state RAID anyone ?

   :lol:
 
Most of them, I am convinced aren't any good. If the bad ones accept any formatting it is FAT16. The ones that accept NTFS or fat32 stand a better chance of even being usable. I'm going to use them for project files and perhapps some portable apps. And basic general purpose storage for smaller items.
 
 
I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my moments.  :P

hutch--

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2018, 09:08:54 PM »
Long ago I tried to stripe 2 USB sticks but Windows would not allow it. Looked like it could have been fun.
hutch at movsd dot com
http://www.masm32.com    :biggrin:  :biggrin:

zedd151

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Re: Box full of flash drives
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2018, 04:31:46 AM »
The results of my final tests are there were 28 good units out of 97 flash drives. Sizes ranged from 60.8 to exactly 64 MegaBites.
 
How about RAID25?  5 x RAID5.   :badgrin:
I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my moments.  :P