My experience with flash disks

By cto95 ·
My experience with flash disks have not been very pleasant. Not especially when I relied on it as a data backup medium, when there was a need to format the hard disk of one company I was maintaining there network infrastructure.

After backing up the data, read it back, and confirmed, that the data was actually written to the flash disk. And to my greatest shock! After re-installing the operating system files and applications, I could not find the data I just wrote to the flash disk. It has dissappeared.

This incident has happened to me twice now!

Can anyone find any reason why, or ist just that the USB flash disk technology is in its infancy and not yet a reliable means of carrying or moving data.

Regards ALL

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Write caching?

by TonytheTiger In reply to My experience with flash ...

Did you have write caching turned on? Maybe what you were 'verifying' was in the cache, and not yet on the disk.

I'm not sure they're good enough to be used as a steady backup medium. I understand they can be written to only a limited number of times before they start getting errors.

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USB Flash disks have been completely reliable for me

by TechExec2 In reply to My experience with flash ...

Copied the below from here:**5&messageID=2111514


USB Flash disks have been completely reliable for me. Flash is very reliable memory and used everywhere.


Are you sure the data written to the USB flash disk actually made it to the disk itself? Was write caching disabled or enabled? If write caching was enabled, the data could have still been in the cache when you removed the USB flash disk.

How to check (Windows XP):

1. Right click on the USB flash disk icon and choose "Properties".

2. Properties window, "Hardware" tab.

3. Select the USB flash disk from the list of devices by clicking on it. Click the "Properties" button.

4. Properties window #2, "Policies" tab.

5. In "Write caching and Safe Removal", make sure "Optimize for quick removal" is selected (this disables write caching).

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A nasty experience I had recently

by jkameleon In reply to My experience with flash ...

FYI, I'm running Windows XP professional

1) Decided to expand my HD space by converting RAID1 to RAID5
2) Backed up all the essential stuff to the external USB drive
3) Made RAID1 to RAID5 conversion using HW supplier's program. It failed to increase disc space.
4) Made complete system backup on USB drive, plus ASR floppy.
5) Made RAID1 to RAID5 conversion on BIOS level, erasing all data on HD drives
6) Attempted Windows Automated System Recovery from the data backed up on USB drive. ASR somehow decided, that the USB drive is the proper place to install the system on, and formatted it. Blammo! And ASR always does the full format, there is no quick format option at all.

Luckily, I had the vital data backed up on a couple of other places, including flash disks. Still, I wasted about a week or two gathering everything together, and reinstalling stuff.

Having in mind, that you lost your data during installation I'd say you had similar problem as I did.

Morale of the story: Backup on read/write media is a BAD idea.

In order to be useful as backup, USB/flash drives should have some sort of write lock switch, similar to the old 3 inch floppies.

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Flash is not very reliable

by Kiltie In reply to My experience with flash ...

Useful for putting data on, but I would never rely on them for any important data.

Just think on the name "Flash" and what it implies. Volatile, temporary, short duration.

However, I tend to agree with previous posters, when suggesting it might be a cache problem.

Did you choose "Safe" removal of the Flash drive (on right click menu)?

Test it by copying to another machine (or even same one), if it works, fine, you have just checked that the data can be read.


You have a bonus, that test you just did, also provided you with "another copy"!!!!!


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