Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

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Dirkoir
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Dirkoir »

carum carvi wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:11 am
It still could well be a faulty CHEAP usb stick. They are being sold. I have bought and experienced it first hand as well. And they dont work from the get go. Intenso, never heard of it. Generally speaking, a good advice would be to AVOID cheap usb sticks, because they are cheap for a reason, they are less reliable...
*sigh* That USB sticks can't be trusted is bad news indeed. Can crappy USB sticks sold in reputable stores be made dependable by reformatting them or thus?
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ColdBootII
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by ColdBootII »

Dirkoir wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:48 am


Questions:

1. So, file copies may not have been finished even though I always waited for Nemo's copy progress popup to disappear and then (usually or always? -- not sure anymore) checked the file size on the USB stick to be the same as the original on the hard drive?

2. Why would an interrupted file copy corrupt the whole file system rather than onlythe file?

3. As for copying a bunch of videos (even folders) in Nemo instead of one file at a time, this seemed to always result in a kernel panic crash. How to avoid that? Close many applications to free up a lot of RAM? Deal with different media formats? Any idea where those crashes come from?

1. Yes, that invariably happens. Before pulling the stick out you should always click on the "Eject" button next to the USB's icon in devices pane. If you see a message "Kernel busy blah blah" you should let it finish the transfer. Nemo's copy progress dialog is very misleading, particularly if the stick is a slow writer.

2. Why do you think Windows also has a "Safely remove device"? FAT is not reknowed for being the most robust FS.

3. No, I've been doing the same(copying large video files to FAT32) with Nemo almost on daily basis and it never failed. The thing is you rely on the dialog and don't wait till it really finishes.

Never heard of Intenso either but still try what I proposed. It won't hurt and you have nothing to lose.

Cheers

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Rocky Bennett »

cliffcoggin wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:55 am
I've never heard of that brand. Are you sure they are reputable? There are many cheap USB sticks around that do not have the advertised capacity so I usually stick to Sandisk.


I agree. Buy a different USB stick and see if that works.

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Rocky Bennett »

Dirkoir wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:44 am
carum carvi wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:11 am
It still could well be a faulty CHEAP usb stick. They are being sold. I have bought and experienced it first hand as well. And they dont work from the get go. Intenso, never heard of it. Generally speaking, a good advice would be to AVOID cheap usb sticks, because they are cheap for a reason, they are less reliable...
*sigh* That USB sticks can't be trusted is bad news indeed. Can crappy USB sticks sold in reputable stores be made dependable by reformatting them or thus?


No, they can not. You just throw the USB stick away and move on with life.

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by lsemmens »

Recovering Data on NTFS drives requires a tool called "Get data back NT" (GDBNT.exe IIRC) have a look for that. As with any file recovery program, if the disk has been written to in the meantime, that can corrupt those deleted files.
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by ColdBootII »

Perhaps this is the same stick only in smaller capacity? Not very promising 2 years warranty.

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by rjsrjs »

I have used plenty of USB sticks on Linux OS. Didn't notice any major problems with them. Some I used in linux OS but would not work when plugged into Windows. Once in a great while I had to reformat a few USB, (to NTFS or FAT 32), drives to get them to work properly. Also when ever I downloaded an ISO live CD Linux OS sometimes it wouldn't work so I had to re-download it and put in on the USB drive and it would work.

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Dirkoir »

ColdBootII wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:55 am
Perhaps this is the same stick only in smaller capacity? ...
Basically, yes. The one that no longer mounts is a 32 GB stick. (its still mounting "twin" also) If I didn't overlook anything, the userbenchmark link only complains about slow speed, not mounting issues, kernel panic crashes when copying big files, or read-only states coming out of nowhere.

I also have a 4 GB stick that I have been using without problems for at least half a year, only storing small files. It also happens to be the Intenso brand.

Oddly, when I do the [sudo tail -f /var/log/syslog] check on this so far unproblematic 4 GB stick, I get the exact same syslog complaints as with the 32 GB 'twin' that I haven't been making use of and that also still mounts. (so, with the well functioning 4 GB stick I also get the "Volume was not properly unmounted. Some data may be corrupt. Please run fsck." line in the syslog when plugging it in)
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ColdBootII
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by ColdBootII »

^Yeah, we are presented with boot splash screen to shield us from seeing all those terrible kernel panicking, did you know that? :mrgreen:

What's important for you is:

1. can you format that stick to FAT32?
2. does it automount in Nemo?
3. if you wait long enough for the files transfer to complete, is it alright then, with no read only or corrupt files playable on your TV?

Try not to obsess about the messages you see in syslog so much and if you cannot format it or it won't mount, ask for money back or replacement if possible.

Cheers

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by pbear »

Folks, the primary objective is to recover the data. The flash drive itself isn't worth enough to rehabilitate, even if that's possible. By the way, Dirkoir, the controller is hardware, so not something you can fix yourself (if it's fixable at all). And bear in mind I said it might be the problem. Could be the whole drive has failed, in which case there's nothing there to recover.

As an aside, for future reference, I've used several different brands of flash drive. Never-heard-of-them drives tend to be crap. Even with known brands, quality varies, especially write speeds. There are a few which get exceptionally good reviews. Samsung is one of them, and has worked well for me.

Which leaves only recovery from the hard drive. Fortunately, I've never had to do that. For a sense of the options, take a look at Ubuntu Help. You can find much more information, of course, by internet search. Don't know for certain that Linux tools can recover from an NTFS drive, but I'll be surprised if they can't. Only way to find out is research.

Sorry can't be more help. Good luck.
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Dirkoir »

pbear wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:17 pm
Folks, the primary objective is to recover the data.
Yep. Recovering the lost files is what I'd like to do first before anything else. Either from the hard drive NTFS partition where I deleted them via Nemo or by resurrecting the weird USB stick.

Sadly, when I spent quite some time today looking for an undelete option, all I ever came across (even when called "undelete") was NOT the reversal of deletion but complicated iffy file recoveries from crumbled filesystems by stitching their blocks back together. (sorry if my vocabulary has degraded over the years)

Back in my old tech support days on classical Macs and Windows, deletion meant a flip of a flag in the Table of Contents of a file system. And that could simply be flipped back with some tools, and BINGO: the deletion was undone. Recovering the data from media and stitching them back together into a file was a last resort on broken file systems. But a mere accidental file deletion on a healthy file system was much better addressed by flipping the switch in the Table of Contents. Fast and safe. Since I have no spare space where to copy recovered GBs of the lost files, I'd like to do that, but oddly I have not come across such a possibility for Linux, yet.
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ColdBootII
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by ColdBootII »

Dirkoir wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:25 pm

Sadly, when I spent quite some time today looking for an undelete option, all I ever came across (even when called "undelete") was NOT the reversal of deletion but complicated iffy file recoveries from crumbled filesystems by stitching their blocks back together. (sorry if my vocabulary has degraded over the years)
Have you tried Testdisk yet? Seems to be doing just that. Maybe worth looking into. https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Undelet ... h_TestDisk

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Dirkoir »

ColdBootII wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:34 pm
Have you tried Testdisk yet? Seems to be doing just that. Maybe worth looking into. https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Undelet ... h_TestDisk
Sadly, Testdisk seems to be one of these complicated back-together-stitchers. Quote: "For maximum security, TestDisk doesn't try to unerase files but lets you copy the deleted files you want to recover on to another partition or disk."

What's the difference: Basically, the table of contents of a file system (at least a traditional one I am familiar with) lists the names of the stored files and -- behind the scenes -- associates them with the sectors on the drive where the bytes that form the file are located (often scattered all over the medium). Each of these file list items has a flag. "Deletion" simply switches the value of the flag so that (A) the file is no longer shown in the user interface of the file manager, and (B) the sectors on the drive are no longer locked from being overwritten, thus freeing up the disk space. But, as long as they don't get overwritten, simply flipping the value of the flag back simply undoes the deletion act. It takes only a fraction of a second, and the file is in perfect condition if no sector was overwritten. The tougher approach of scanning the medium for sectors that the file may have been made of and stitching them back together in a new file -- a method used for recovering data from a failed file system -- is not only more time consuming but also regularly fails because it is a kind of surgery often happening in the dark.
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by ricardogroetaers »

Dirkoir wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:17 am
When I run the "Disk" utility (gnome-disk-utility 3.10.0), it mentions the USB stick not just once but twice, as if there were two of them:
There are mixed partition tables on the flash drive media.
Each program sees what suits you best.

After being able to recover, if possible, some important data, the only solution for this pendrive is to completely erase it with the Disks program and recreate the partitioning according to your preference.

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by ColdBootII »

Dirkoir wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:53 pm
ColdBootII wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:34 pm
Have you tried Testdisk yet? Seems to be doing just that. Maybe worth looking into. https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Undelet ... h_TestDisk
Sadly, Testdisk seems to be one of these complicated back-together-stitchers. Quote: "For maximum security, TestDisk doesn't try to unerase files but lets you copy the deleted files you want to recover on to another partition or disk."
Yes, "For maximum security" all such utilities probably function that way. But it doesn't say that you cannot specify the same partition. Also, it could be the best time to see where you stand with that other Intenso stick and put it to a good purpose. Only I would format it first to be sure, and check with "Eject" button to see if file transfer has really completed before pulling it out... :wink:

Cheers

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by ColdBootII »

ColdBootII wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:59 am
Truth be said all Linux file managers suck at it. On the other hand, this can be an indication that the stick is failing.
Truth be said, it is me who suck as I didn't try what I preach for quite a while. :mrgreen: When "Eject" button is pressed, Caja is very clear when it comes to letting you know that file transfer is not complete. I guess Nemo must be doing it in similar way too.

Cheers

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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Dirkoir »

Thanks, ricardogroetaers.

ricardogroetaers wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:51 pm
Dirkoir wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:17 am
When I run the "Disk" utility (gnome-disk-utility 3.10.0), it mentions the USB stick not just once but twice, as if there were two of them:
There are mixed partition tables on the flash drive media.
Each program sees what suits you best.
After various replugs of the damaged USB stick, its still mounting not yet utilized twin, and an external hard drive, plus -- if I remember correctly -- giving an "eject" command in Nemo's "computer:///" display... at some point... the second listing in the Disks program disappeared. The two listings are now unified into one (with the serial number display actually posting the serial number, which before only the more empty listing had done while the full listing had repeated the model "Intenso_Alu_Line-0:0" there):

Code: Select all

32 GB Drive
/dev/sdb
Model: Intenso Alu Line (8.07)
Size: 32 GB (32,023,511,040 bytes)
Serial Number: E3BBE0E7
Volumes: 32 GB Unknown
Size: 32 GB (32,023,511,040 bytes)
Device: /dev/sdb
Contents: Unknown

ricardogroetaers wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:51 pm
After being able to recover, if possible, some important data, the only solution for this pendrive is to completely erase it with the Disks program and recreate the partitioning according to your preference.
One storage partition would be enough. Which format would be best to pick is still an open question.
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Dirkoir
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Dirkoir »

ColdBootII wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:31 am
ColdBootII wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:59 am
Truth be said all Linux file managers suck at it. On the other hand, this can be an indication that the stick is failing.
Truth be said, it is me who suck as I didn't try what I preach for quite a while. :mrgreen: When "Eject" button is pressed, Caja is very clear when it comes to letting you know that file transfer is not complete. I guess Nemo must be doing it in similar way too.

Cheers

Hmm... At least that former claim gave us a theory of what might have gone wrong on my USB stick...

So, is our surviving theory that manufacturer's default formatting doesn't work reliably with Linux Mint?
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Dirkoir
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Dirkoir »

ColdBootII wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:18 am
Yes, "For maximum security" all such utilities probably function that way.
Just what on Earth do they mean with "security" in that case? Security from hackers or thieves? Simply undoing the delete flag in the table of contents wouldn't alter this kind of security one bit. In fact, making copies would be less secure.

I suspect what may have really been meant is "security" from the recovery software overwriting deleted original files with copies when the storage destination is the same as the origin. Still, if the deletion flags were simply reversed, this would never be an issue in the first place.

My possibly clueless suspicion is that the stubborn skipping over a simple deletion flag reversal in the Linux universe (possibly others, too, by now? no idea) might result from Linux's constant sector shuffling that prevents fragmentation of the medium. In a live filesystem this could make sectors that have been declared unoccupied quickly overwritten with other contents, so that the traditional simple undoing of the deletion (reversing the flag in the content table) might only briefly be possible and is therefore shoved aside as a simple first choice approach.

Just guessing.


ColdBootII wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:18 am
But it doesn't say that you cannot specify the same partition.
Well, that would risk overwriting the sectors of the deleted original files with different contents produced in the copies. Quite certain to happen on a full partition like mine (and very likely even when not so full because of preferred sectors for diminished fragmentation).


- - -


Anyway, deciding to give this round-about approach a try because the simple approach seems to be denied in the Linux universe, I needed a big storage space. Rather than going for the USB stick twin (for fear the same weird problems might happen on it all over again), I picked the external hard drive that I acquired for a full backup of the laptop's hard drive before I attempt surgery aimed at finally upgrading the Mint version...

Since TestDisk listed hundreds or perhaps thousands of deleted files (from the course of years)... *sigh* ... I am giving the built-in Ubuntu's ntfsundelete (command? application?) in the terminal a try since I have come across instructions for it that would let me pattern match files automatically by file name extension, significantly reducing the number of needles in a haystack... Once done, I'll report how that went.
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Peter Linu
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Re: Huge Problems with USB Stick (aka flash drive)

Post by Peter Linu »

Here's my 2 cents worth.
I have encountered the same issues as everyone here. I don't EVER rely on the factory formatting of a new USB. They must use software that does it very quickly and subsequently have unreliable outcomes. When I do it myself it always OK. If you have formatted in the wrong system, it doesn't take much effort to reformat.
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