hacking USB flash drives w/ bad FATs

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355

I have a little USB flash drive that is supposed to be 64M. The thing is confused and identifies itself as being 0 bytes, thus failing all attempts to initialize in OS 9 ,OS X.4, and Windows 98. The drive is a USB 1.1 device.

I think the magical event that killed this thing was a bad format of the drive on a Windows XP machine, thus I suspect a gorked FAT.

Is there some handy little application out there that will:
1. interogate the device to allow better diagnostics?
2. run on one of the above mentioned OSes (not XP, that was not my machine)?

I realize that this is a bit of work for something so cheap, but it is a learning experience by design.

TIA
--DDTM

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

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Jon's picture
Jon
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 2804
I've got a 512MB that was sho

I've got a 512MB that was showing similar symptoms. It wasn't a bad format so much as failing hardware. I got it to mount one final time, and copied everything off of it, and it hasn't worked since. I'd say it's most likely borked if some of the regular formatting tools don't pick it up.

Yep, just spent a few minutes futzing with it. It did pop up once with the full size and R/W enabled. Trying a format resulted in an error, no partitioning, no mounting, etc... Sad

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
maybe... but...

...if I were to hand the device over to a federal authority and imply that the device had encrypted data critical to national security (not that there is or that I ever would), I am sure someone would find a way to get this thing up and running. Wink

Oh well, I figured it was worth a shot in asking. It makes for an interesting thing for me to explain to my son, who has started to show some interest in how computers work. Laughing out loud

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

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Joined: Jan 20 2005
Posts: 700
CF card

I have a 1gb flash card that when i first put it in my camera i was able to take 1000 or so pictures. there is a format option in the camera so i figured i would try it, it worked but made it so i could only take 500 or so pictures. i knew it had to be a format issues so i went through and tried a few different ones, but not all worked in the camera. finnally settled on Fat 32 and all was well again.

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Joined: Sep 16 2004
Posts: 274
Try formatting it in linux.

Try formatting it in linux. I've had good luck using linux to format old drives that os X wouldn't recognize.