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ILA's Avatar
ILA ILA is offline
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14-Feb-2013, 09:44 PM #1
USB Drive problems
A friend bought several mini USB drives back from Japan recently. He couldn't get them to work in Win7 and asked me to try them in XP.

The drives are detected by the OS and assigned a drive letter, but they cannot be read or formatted. They will display properties as follows:
Type: Removable Disk
File System: Unknown
Used Space: 0 bytes
Free Space: 0 bytes
Capacity: 0 bytes
Sounds like an unformatted stick to me, but any attempt to format returns: "There is no disk in drive N. Insert a disk, and then try again."

Manufacturer unknown, so can't get hold of a low level format tool.

Any ideas?
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14-Feb-2013, 10:11 PM #2
are you formatting them from the drive properties popup screen
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15-Feb-2013, 12:48 AM #3
Right-click on "Removable Disk (N)" in My Computer, then:
  • Selecting Properties provides info as stated above. No option to format.
  • Selecting "Format..." returns "There is no disk in drive N. Insert a disk, and then try again."
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15-Feb-2013, 04:01 AM #4
check there is not a slide lock on the drive

check what this free program sees and what you can achieve with its tools

http://www.alexnolan.net/software/driveman.htm
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15-Feb-2013, 07:12 PM #5
Thanks - cool utility!

Here's what it says:
Drive: N:
Type: Removable Disk
Additional Info: Not Mounted
Vendor/Product ID: Flash Disk USBC
%Free: 0.0%
Visibility: Visible
Bus Type: USB
But apart from different "Vendor/Product ID" it says pretty much the same about all my USBs.

Any help?
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15-Feb-2013, 09:40 PM #6
did you try to format from the program
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16-Feb-2013, 12:33 AM #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dai View Post
did you try to format from the program
No, I can't see any option for formatting from within Drive Manager.

Also did this search without any useful result:
site:alexnolan.net "drive manager" Format
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16-Feb-2013, 01:02 AM #8
i thought it had a format action but on checking it doesn't

another free tool

http://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk...-10974082.html
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16-Feb-2013, 01:45 AM #9
A drive can't be formatted unless it contains partitions. This tool (though it doesn't mention it anywhere in the interface) will partition the drive before formatting.

HP USB Disk Format Tool

Are you sure they are normal drives? I got some like that which hold only a web address and are given out by businesses. When you insert it, it goes to their web site (if your auto settings are suitable). They do nothing else and contain only a few bytes of space.

Check Device Manager after one is inserted to see if any drivers appear to be missing.
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16-Feb-2013, 06:17 PM #10
You could just run diskpart, then clean the disk and create a new partition. If all else, run a small Linux distro and use the "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sd*" command. It'll tell you if it's a bad drive or not.
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17-Feb-2013, 12:18 AM #11
Thanks for staying with me guys...

Running the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool against N: returns:
There is no media in the specified device.

The closest I've come to doing anything with one of these USBs is with DISKPART, but I'm stuck on how to CLEAN just the USB drive N: without risking unwanted destruction.

DISKPART> list disk

Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
-------- ---------- ------- ------- --- ---
Disk 0 Online 149 GB 0 B
* Disk 1 Online 931 GB 0 B

DISKPART> select disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list volume

Volume ### Ltr Label Fs Type Size Status Info
---------- --- ----------- ----- ---------- ------- --------- --------
Volume 0 E DVD-ROM 0 B
Volume 1 I Mobile Part CDFS CD-ROM 7168 KB
Volume 2 C C-Drive NTFS Partition 40 GB Healthy System
Volume 3 D D-Drive NTFS Partition 109 GB Healthy
Volume 4 H My Book NTFS Partition 931 GB Healthy
Volume 5 J Removeable 0 B
Volume 6 N Removeable 0 B


The description for "clean [all]" is:
Use the clean command to remove partition or volume formatting from the current in-focus disk by zeroing sectors. By default, only the MBR or GPT partitioning information and any hidden sector information on MBR disks is overwritten. If you specify the all parameter, each and every sector can be zeroed, and all data that is contained on the drive can be deleted.

As I see it, the "current in-focus disk" is #0 and that embodies everything!

Can't see any command to clean just Volume 6 of Disk 0, and I sure as sh** don't want to accidentally clean C: D: or H: in particular.
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18-Feb-2013, 12:06 AM #12
have you tried the linux as suggested above
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19-Feb-2013, 01:26 AM #13
Try another OS, as recommended. Ubuntu is an easy one to work with, but I'd recommend Parted Magic just because it has more tools and you could keep it for later use.


Parted Magic disk partitioning, PC repair, and file recovery tool (Bootable CD or USB image)
If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.


It is not necessary to actually install anything - you can just download a bootable CD of any version of a Linux-based OS and try that. If the drive is still not behaving, it will then be time to toss it.
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19-Feb-2013, 02:14 AM #14
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