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To USB or not USB? That is the question
Old 05-02-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
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To USB or not USB? That is the question

I'm going out of town this weekend.

When I do, carry a laptop around (yeah, old fashioned ) and what I do is synch my data from my desktop to a USB flashdrive with software.

Well, when trying to sync with the USB flashdrive which I've done many times in the past, I got this message saying "Failed to copy source: Cannot copy file (2): The system cannot find the file specified"

Anyone know what may be the cause? I've tried all morning but can't find the reason why. When I try copying just in Windows Explorer, I get a similar message.

I've also done the following:

1) copied to test directory on backup drive on desktop - works OK

2) copied to another USB flashdrive - works OK

3) Wiped not working USB flashdrive, reformatted, tried copying - Failed..same error.


At least I have one working USB flashdrive (though this is only 8GB while the other is 16GB) so the problem isn't a killer.

So this brings up other question: Could it be that the not working flashdrive has developed hardware problem? Do they just "wear out" in time?

I've had times where one flashdrive works on one computer (or OS or USB port) and not another.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:17 PM   #2
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I've heard that flash drives 'wear out' after X number of uses. (X being a high number.)

Googling "Flash drive not working" yields many results: https://www.google.com/search?q=flas...ient=firefox-a

Perhaps your situation is found among these results?

omni
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
So this brings up other question: Could it be that the not working flashdrive has developed hardware problem? Do they just "wear out" in time?

I've had times where one flashdrive works on one computer (or OS or USB port) and not another.
USB drives do break...

but could it be that the USB has some helpful software on it and it is not recognizing one of you file names? Maybe a filename has a "-" in it?

Are you using 2BrightSparks? there seems to be a lot of comments on that error and that backup software.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:35 PM   #4
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To backup my small business data, we used to go through more USB sticks than toilet paper in the office. They are really unreliable little devices (and the software to go with them is terrible too).
Use Dropbox exclusively now. You should give it a try. The free version (2.5G storage) is more than enough for our needs and it is so easy to use. Basically acts like another drive on your computer (if that is how you set it). All data is instantly available on all devices that have the app installed (currently on 6 work computers, my iphone and android tablet)
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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I have no idea what their life is, but I've "worn" out quite a few memory sticks/flash drives. Whenever I've had one "act up" - a new one has "fixed" the problem. I don't even question it any more...
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Koogie
To backup my small business data, we used to go through more USB sticks than toilet paper in the office. They are really unreliable little devices (and the software to go with them is terrible too).
Use Dropbox exclusively now. You should give it a try. The free version (2.5G storage) is more than enough for our needs and it is so easy to use. Basically acts like another drive on your computer (if that is how you set it). All data is instantly available on all devices that have the app installed (currently on 6 work computers, my iphone and android tablet)
+1

I used the USB Flashdrives for several years for backing up some stuff. But since I found DropBox, I hardly ever bother with the Flashdrives.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:16 PM   #7
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You may not be able to synchronize offline files as you expect in Windows XP

You may not be able to synchronize offline files as you expect in Windows XP

Hotfix Download Available
View and request hotfix downloadsView products that this article applies to.
On This Page

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SYMPTOMS

You may not be able to synchronize offline files as you expect in Microsoft Windows XP. When this problem occurs, you may receive one of the following error messages.

Error message 1More data is available.


Error message 2The system cannot find the file specified.


You cannot resolve the problem by restarting the computer.Back to the top

CAUSE

This problem occurs because a cache is corrupted.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koogie View Post
To backup my small business data, we used to go through more USB sticks than toilet paper in the office. They are really unreliable little devices (and the software to go with them is terrible too).
Use Dropbox exclusively now. You should give it a try. The free version (2.5G storage) is more than enough for our needs and it is so easy to use. Basically acts like another drive on your computer (if that is how you set it). All data is instantly available on all devices that have the app installed (currently on 6 work computers, my iphone and android tablet)
Dropbox is another cloud storage solution no? If yes, less secure than a flash drive, but some would argue the cloud is secure. One day I suspect we'll all be on the cloud...
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:59 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies.

Good to know that I'm not alone in having USB sticks suddenly not working on me.
(I've always thought that's supposely the beauty of flash drives -- no moving parts to wear out).

Looks like the easy (and fastest) solution is either use a different flashdrive or cloud storage.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:20 PM   #10
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I have used USB sticks for file transfer and temp backups for many years - all work fine, even my old old 512M stick. The first thing I do for the newer ones is delete all the 'helpful' software on them and perform the backups manually.

For true backups I use USB hard drives.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:33 PM   #11
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I have used USB sticks for file transfer and temp backups for many years - all work fine, even my old old 512M stick. The first thing I do for the newer ones is delete all the 'helpful' software on them and perform the backups manually.

For true backups I use USB hard drives.
+1

This is a useful thread.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:27 PM   #12
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At the first sign of malfunction, I throw a USB in the trash. Before adopting that policy I was able to get some working again but the time to next failure was too brief when compared to the cost of a new one.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:36 AM   #13
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I learn something new every day. So I so a search on why flash drives fail.

Here's a good explanation:

From the article.. Can a USB thumbdrive "wear out"?

"The "problem" is that memory can be flashed only so many times. I'm finding numbers between 10,000 and 100,000 times - though as with anything, I'm sure that is increasing over time as well. Regardless, there is a limit. When that limit is approached, some portion of the memory may not properly remember what was written to it, resulting in corruption. It may only take a single bit of information to be wrong, or to "wear out", for the entire contents of a flash memory chip to be lost."


An analogy is a flash for a camera. In time, they wear out after so many flashes.

So much for the beauty of non-moving parts
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:59 PM   #14
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10,000 is a big number. 200 years of weekly backups, for example.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:47 PM   #15
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If you use a flashdrive more than one a week though, you can hit the 10,000 mark quicker. Plus, who wants to keep track of how how many times a drive got flashed?

I guess like anything, if the data is really important, maybe more than one backup, at different locations, to be safe.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:19 PM   #16
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To backup my small business data, we used to go through more USB sticks than toilet paper in the office. They are really unreliable little devices (and the software to go with them is terrible too).
Use Dropbox exclusively now. You should give it a try. The free version (2.5G storage) is more than enough for our needs and it is so easy to use. Basically acts like another drive on your computer (if that is how you set it). All data is instantly available on all devices that have the app installed (currently on 6 work computers, my iphone and android tablet)
+1 to Dropbox! I actually pay for it because I find it so useful. There are a lot of clever things you can do with it that aren't mention by Dropbox itself. I even have a bunch of portable apps set up. Haven't used a USB drive in over a year.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:45 PM   #17
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10,000 is a big number. 200 years of weekly backups, for example.
Right. I highly doubt the failure was due to the so-called 'wear-out' mechanism. More likely, the thing just broke. It happens.

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Old 05-04-2012, 09:04 AM   #18
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At the first sign of malfunction, I throw a USB in the trash. Before adopting that policy I was able to get some working again but the time to next failure was too brief when compared to the cost of a new one.
I may be paranoid; but, I always physically destroy and/or use something along the lines of the following before disposing of any kind of drive:
  • Darik's Boot And Nuke (DBAN):
  • Eraser
    • http://eraser.heidi.ie/
    • I have not actually used this yet; but, it recently hit my radar screen since I am trying to replace most of my software tools with Open Source alternatives
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:54 AM   #19
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If you use a flashdrive more than one a week though, you can hit the 10,000 mark quicker. Plus, who wants to keep track of how how many times a drive got flashed?

I guess like anything, if the data is really important, maybe more than one backup, at different locations, to be safe.
Memory wear out phenomena is pretty well researched. Some memories are built with redundancy so that memory defects in production or even in the field (our usage) can be fixed. Maybe some of the cheaper flash is not as well designed from that perspective.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:02 AM   #20
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When it comes to data I tend to want to keep it personal. Perhaps too suspicious of cloud storage solutions although they are probably quite safe.

Saving a few GB of data is fine on flash but I think maybe becomes too slow at 10's of GB. I don't bother sinking machines but maybe that's a nice thing to do. Generally I just copy to a removable drive and recopy to another machine in our house - the dull way to sink.

I'm getting a bit of a view of cloud storage since buying a Kindle Fire.
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