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  1. #1
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    Unlocking a read-only USB flash drive




    LANGALIST PLUS


    Unlocking a read-only USB flash drive



    By Fred Langa

    How to rehabilitate thumb drives or other flash memory devices that are stuck in a read-only state. Plus: Tools for checking uninstall effectiveness, and a review of the beta release of EMET 4.0 a powerful antihacking utility from Microsoft.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/unlocking-a-read-only-usb-flash-drive/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    One Hit, One Miss, Fred

    More On USB Flash Drive Issues:

    In addition to setting Security for a USB device, you may have to Take Ownership of the device, also accomplished from an Administrator Account. This is part of the Security Settings for the device.

    Before modifying the Windows Registry as suggested in the article, you should back up the Registry to a .REG File (easily done from within RegEdit).

    As stated in the article, to prevent mechanical and electrical damage, NEVER pull out a USB cable or drive without first going through the Safely Remove Hardware function from the Windows System Tray (USB Icon). I've lost data or had to reformat USB partitions by messing them up this way. Flash Drives can literally fry if not Safely Removed. (Been there, done that.) SD Cards have this same caution. (Hard drives get their data hit worst, because nearly all of them have a read/write cache, which MUST be inactive when unplugging the device. But, even if they are port-powered, USB hard drives will not usually crash or fry when unplugged improperly -- not USUALLY! Windows itself also has a read/write cache, as do many internal drives.)

    I do not recommend turning off write-caching, as it can make USB hard drives behave very badly. I've had backup programs fail due to buffer underflow conditions when write-caching was disabled. Switching this property on and off just to accommodate Flash Drives and SD Cards is not a productive use of time, IMHO.

    Regarding Super Antispyware not cleanly uninstalling :

    The same problem of leftover Registry entries occurs with virtually ALL Windows software. Their uninstallers simply do not remove Registry Entries, Windows Services, Scheduled Tasks and empty Programs and App Data Folders. The problem is by no means limited to SAS, and Mr. Langa knows this very well. This general Windows uninstallers issue is why Revo Uninstaller and CCleaner Registry Cleaner get so many recommendations in The Lounge. This is a Red Herring.

    Super Antispyware is NOT adware. It is NOT spyware. It is also not perfect, and needs an updated version, which is in the works now. Stop with your unwarranted attacks on this free product, Fred.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-05-10 at 18:24.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Flash Drives can literally fry if not Safely Removed. (Been there, done that.)
    Literally? Where did the hot fat come from?

    How can a flash drive start to get damaged by heat after its been removed and therefore unpowered?

    Bruce

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Literally? Where did the hot fat come from?

    How can a flash drive start to get damaged by heat after its been removed and therefore unpowered?

    Bruce
    This time you're just being a Smart Alec.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    This time you're just being a Smart Alec.
    Just trying to understand your comment, but if you're not willing to explain I'll have to remain mystified.

    Bruxe

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    DISCLAIMER: I am not a paid subscriber anymore, as such , I have not been allowed to read the column this thread is about. Future apologies if my points are covered in the article.



    I have had a few flash drives up and die on me for now clear reason, other than the 'out of left field' idea that pulling 'em without 'safely removing' them is the culprit.

    I have had a flash drive full of files spontaneously decide it only had one file that took the whole drive.

    I still got a 128meg flash drive that is so old now it is down to 91megs storage capacity... everything I've done to that little puppy has had nearly zero effect on it- dunked numerous times in liquids (coca cola is a pain to remove and ate the hand grip), dropped in a toilet, dropped in a snow bank overnight, left on the dash of a car in summertime in florida (got so hot my fingerprints are a permanent 'customization'), etc.

    Over time, flash drives wear out. I assume that's the reason the capacity is so small now.

    I have a brand new 16gig flash that I already burnt up. It is one where the plug itself slides out, and lo-and-behold, it slid SIDEWAYS when I plugged it in and shorted all the pins. poof!

    And in case you that that light on the drive tells you anything useful... it most likely doesn't. It may flash erratically to denote data transferring, but the lack of a light flash doesn't mean you can yank it out.

    I guess the lesson I am trying to teach is this:

    You might get lucky 99 out of every 100 times yanking without 'safe removing'. But I can almost promise you that the 100th time will be the least acceptable time for losing data.

  7. #7
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Just trying to understand your comment, but if you're not willing to explain I'll have to remain mystified.

    Bruxe
    I should edit the post to say that a Flash Drive can be seriously electrically or electronically damaged (one meaning of "totally fried", not "literally fried" as I posted) by removing it while cached data are still being transferred, or other operations are in progress. Using "Safely Remove" is the best way to ensure this damage does not happen. Been there, done that.

    And you were certainly being a Smart Alec. Everyone else knew what I meant.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    And you were certainly being a Smart Alec. Everyone else knew what I meant.
    Literally everyone else?

    Bruce

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    I should edit the post to say that a Flash Drive can be seriously electrically or electronically damaged (one meaning of "totally fried", not "literally fried" as I posted) by removing it while cached data are still being transferred, or other operations are in progress. Using "Safely Remove" is the best way to ensure this damage does not happen. Been there, done that.

    And you were certainly being a Smart Alec. Everyone else knew what I meant.
    I believe we need to explore the meaning of "connotation" vs "denotation".

    "Connotation" is when what you say is not meant to be taken literally. For example, "I fried my computer". Most would understand that you didn't actually put your computer in the frying pan, but rather that something happened to it which messed it up, the end result being that it is about as unusable after that event as if you had actually fried it in a frying pan.

    "Denotation", on the other hand, is when what you say is actually meant to be taken literally. "I got burned" is meant to be taken literally if, for example, you put your hand in the frying pan when it was on the stove and the burner was on. On the other hand, "I got burned" is not meant to be taken literally if, for example, you accidentally clicked on a malicious link in an email, and your computer then got hacked. The latter is an example of "connotation", while the former is an example of "denotation".

    Bruce, was your spelling your name "Bruxe" an example of "connotation" or "denotation"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    Bruce, was your spelling your name "Bruxe" an example of "connotation" or "denotation"?
    Definitely the former; not meant to be taken literally.

    Or my keyboard had a 90%-off sale.

    BruCe

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Bruce, sometimes people use sarcasm when they want to "connote" something.

    Have a nice day. /sarc off

  12. #12
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    Bruce, sometimes people use sarcasm when they want to "connote" something.

    Have a nice day. /sarc off
    Honestly, folks, this is not the main issue in this thread, so let's knock it off on the "denotation vs. annotation" English Lesson, OK?

    And the syntax is [sarc] ... [/sarc] when I "denote" sarcasm with pseudo-tags. Seems a bit more HTML-ish to me. The Lounge HTML Editor doesn't seem to mind.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-05-18 at 17:21.
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