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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Truecrypt volume with many 0-byte files and folders

    I bought a pen that comes with a USB thumb drive and used Truecrypt to make the whole device a secure volume. Then I tried copying some files and folders onto it. Everything went OK. But the next time I mounted it with Truecrypt, I discovered that, in addition to the files and folders I wanted there, there were dozens of other files and folders, all 0 bytes in size, all named with garbage-type file- and folder-names. The device itself is named TW═L and a typical file or folder is ┬_ (.a. I thought it must have been a bad USB device, so I returned it and got a replacement, but the same thing happened with the second device. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger chowur's Avatar
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    I found this site;http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/
    Hopefully the above link has an answer that help you.
    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einsten

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    I know the Truecrypt documentation and unfortunately, it doesn't help with this problem. I've also posted my question on the forum at the Truecrypt website but so far haven't received an explanation. Knowing the calibre of many of the people at Windows Secrets, I thought I'd see if anyone here could help.

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    4 Star Lounger I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    I've used Truecrypt extensively in the past, but I've never experienced the problem you are observing.

    Have you tried creating a truecrypt volume on your hard drive, to see if it yields the same results? I'm interested to know if its an issue with creating the volume on a USB drive, or if the problem is present no matter where you create the volume.

    Also, rather than making the entire USB volume a secure drive, you might consider creating a truecrypt container on the USB drive. This is the option in Truecrypt which creates a file of a specific size you specify. Once created, it acts as a container and when you mount the file/container in truecrypt it operates just like a regular folder that can hold any number of files or folders. Everything you copy or move to that container is seamlessly encrypted.

    None of the above advice is an explanation for the behavior you are seeing. I'm hoping for either of 2 things: It gets closer to identifying the nature of the problem, or it gives you a workaround that suits your needs and saves you further headache.
    Matt Bidinger
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    My guess would be a flaky USB Flash Drive - zero-byte files don't occur by chance. Neither do randomly-named files occur in normal use.
    BATcher

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    I have an experience with USB flash drive with this kind of random named files and folders. No, I did not use Truecrypt here.
    Turns out it is the flash drive itself.
    It was bought from eBay. The memory size is smaller than it claimed (aka fake). After the random-named files incident, I used a special software to check it. The software confirmed the smaller size.
    Either your flash drive is 'over reporting its size', or Truecrypt may have problem using the entire USB. As recommended by member(s) here, it is safer to use a folder for Truecrypt.
    USB flash uses an intermediate chip, as middleman to communicate to outside, to emulate hard drive functions. Maybe problem there: lost/confuse 'communication'.

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Have a look at h2testw, which is "is a simple and easy to use program designed to enable you to test USB sticks for various kinds of errors.
    It can also be used for any other storage media like memory cards, internal and external hard drives and even network volumes."

    Other fine USB Flash Drive testing programs are available.
    BATcher

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  8. #8
    4 Star Lounger I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    Davidtoronto, have you tried anything different, or made any progress with this problem? I'm interested in an update if there is one.
    Matt Bidinger
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    Oops. I didn't realize there were further comments here. I hadn't checked back because I wrongly believed I would be notified when people replied.

    No, I.M.O.G., nothing much has changed, except that I've pretty much given up on BOTH the two pen-drives that I bought. (Still, it bothers me ... why would both pens be flaky in the same way?) To answer the question, yes I've used Truecrypt successfully many times, on USB devices as well as on the hard drive. I'm sure it's not a problem with Truecrypt. I was hoping the phenomenon of zero-byte files with bizarre filenames might be an indicator of some specific problem.

    Thanks, Batcher, for the tip on the USB tester h2testw. I hated to reformat, but I did it just now, ran the program and was told The media is likely to be defective. What's next? Return the pen? Except that I already returned the one before this one, which gave me the same errors. Maybe I'll did out the old receipt and return it, or maybe I'll just resign myself to losing the money. The full report is as follows.

    The media is likely to be defective.
    993.7 MByte OK (2035184 sectors)
    965.2 MByte DATA LOST (1976848 sectors)
    Details:965.2 MByte overwritten (1976832 sectors)
    0 KByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 0 sectors)
    8 KByte corrupted (16 sectors)
    1 MByte aliased memory (2048 sectors)
    First error at offset: 0x000000003e0be000
    Expected: 0x000000003e0be000
    Found: 0x0000000000000000
    H2testw version 1.3
    Writing speed: 6.50 MByte/s
    Reading speed: 13.4 MByte/s
    H2testw v1.4
    Last edited by DavidToronto; 2011-08-11 at 07:40.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    I still think it would be a good move to try h2testw...
    BATcher

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  11. #11
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    Yes, I did try h2testw. I appreciate being pointed in its direction. The results are posted in my previous message--defective media.

    I guess I'll have to give up on these pens with USB drives. Here's the latest. I used h2testw and got the results as above showing a defective medium. So I reformatted the pen, hoping that might cure something, encrypted it again with TrueCrypt, then copied a bunch of files to it, not the files I've had the problem with. I unmounted the pen, set it aside, and later in the day mounted it again. Everything was OK, the files were intact and nothing looked amiss. So I deleted those files and copied over the original files that I'd earlier had the problems with. I tested by unmounting then remounting the drive. Things looked OK. Overnight I shut down the computer. This morning I mounted the pen drive in TrueCrypt again, and there it was all over again, the multitude of zer0-byte files and folders with scrambled filenames and foldernames. In fact, it was worse this time: instead of just adding scrambled files and folders to the existing files, that's all there is on the drive; the files I copied onto it do not show up at all. Unless somebody has a better idea (it couldn't have anything to do with the files themselves somehow throwing TrueCrypt off, could it?) , I'll just put it down to cheap manufacturing that can turn out two defective drives in a row, and I'll just carry on using my overpriced pen as only a pen. Or maybe I can still use it for file storage so long as I don't use TrueCrypt with it. Anyway, live and learn.
    Last edited by DavidToronto; 2011-08-12 at 09:35.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Shows just how well I read posts!! Sorry...
    BATcher

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    4 Star Lounger I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the update David, bummer on the results. I'd try to return those sticks and get store credit to buy something different - they don't work for the purpose you bought them for, and you went further than most would to try to troubleshoot and rectify the problem.
    Matt Bidinger
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    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Just curious, is it "Made in China"?
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

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    @RussB
    Sarcasm not withstanding (almost 90-100% are made in China nowadays, the brand name maybe still USA though), I think DavidToronto bought a bogus USB stick. The memory size is less than it claims to be. I had this exact problem/experience. I finally reformatted it and used its 'proper size' as an USB boot drive. You cannot over store to it. Over-storage immediately causes corruption of the entire drive. The only way is to reformat it again.

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