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  1. #1
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    Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    Hi,

    I have a large doc that I am working on. I transport it around on my flash drive and work on it whenever I can on various PC's. While working on it one late afternoon, my lift club called to say they were waiting for me. So I saved the doc and walked around to the back of the PC to pull out the flash. As I was in a rush, i admit I forgot to click the icon in the tray to give me the msg that it is now safe to remove the drive.

    At home that night, I opened up the doc on my flash, only to discover that it could NOT open due to a fatal error??!!!

    Any ideas what could have happened to the doc, and it it is recoverable??

    TX
    Regards,
    Rudi

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    If you removed the flash drive while the file was still being written to it, it might be damaged beyond repair. But you could try to open it in Word using the "Recover text from any file" option in the 'Files of type' dropdown in the Open dialog. Did you save it to the PCs hard disk (or to a network disk) before saving to the flash drive?

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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    I only saved it to the flash drive, although I am now keeping 3 backups of it in 2 different formats!!

    I did try the recover file option several times with no luck! I also tried to open the file in Windows Explorer and text file format etc.... No luck!

    I think that must have been the case where I pulled it out too quickly, but its so strange. It saved within a matter of seconds usually. And on the day when I pulled it out, I had to walk around the desk to recover the drive.

    Anyways...Whats lost is lost. I just hoped there would be some miracle to recover it!

    Cheers
    Regards,
    Rudi

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    <hr>It saved within a matter of seconds usually.<hr>
    Does Windows use "write-behind" caching with removable drives? I think it might be a question for the Windows boards or for Hardware as to how to disable that so that the save performed by Word actually is committed to the flash drive immediately.

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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    Probably should continue this discussion in the XP forum, but you check (and change) this feature by...

    Right click the drive in Explorer > Properties > Hardware > Select the correct disk > Properties > Policies >

    I think that SP2 changed the default for USB connected disks to disable write caching.

    StuartR
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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    Hi Stuart,

    This should have been moved but since it wasn't...

    I checked the policies for my USB flash drive (an old Cruzer). I'm running XP SP2. Since I never knew about these settings, I know I didn't change them.

    Anyway, my policies are like what you showed - "optimize for performance" radio button on (so Windows is caching the writes) AND the "enable write caching on the disk" checkbox ticked (so the disk is caching the writes).

    But, like your setup, the radio button text is grayed, even if I untick the checkbox. So my first question is how does one go about changing the caching if you wanted to so you can "optimize for quick removal" (which might have been the answer to the original problem)?

    My second question is what does it mean to "enable write caching on the disk"? I thought I knew what caching was all about. However, it appears that this checkbox is indented to the "optimize for performance" radio button. So if I want to cache on the disk, I also have to cache in Windows. I thought that caching was a way to save info in a place like RAM (ie, the OS like Windows) for a while before writing it over the (relatively) slower bus to a disk device - its final destination. Why do I want to cache in both? And why do I want to cache on the disk? Once I've gotten the data to the disk, why put it in a "cache" on that disk - why not put it where it belongs? I can see a theoretical argument that says there's a disk cache at a known place so the heads can always move to that place rather than some random location, and move the data to the correct "track" later. But is this what is going on here on a USB drive?

    Further the "enable write caching on the disk" checkbox has a warning that a power outage or equipment failure might result in data loss or corruption if you checked the box. Well, if you didn't check it and the data was being cached just in Windows, wouldn't a power failure also result in data loss or corruption?

    Seems the safest thing to do might be to "optimize for quick removal". But I don't see how to do that.

    TIA

    Fred

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    The post I showed you was from the SATA C: drive on one of my computers, and I can't turn off the "optimize for performance" on that one either.

    When I look at a similar display for a USB drive it doesn't have the "Enable write caching on disk" checkbox and I can set either of the Optimize radio buttons.

    As for enable write caching on the disk, modern disk drives have a significant cache in memory chips on the circuit board attached to the disk. On reads this enables the drive to readahead, so that when you request the next block of data it is immediately ready to send, avoiding the delay caused by disk roataion and head movement. Similarly on sequential writes it can be more efficient to wait till you have a whole track of data and write it in one go than to write each block as it arrives. Disk drive firmware has some really clever algorithms for recognising when read and write caching are going to be beneficial and assigning cache blocks to reads or writes.

    StuartR

    Edited by StuartR to add
    And now I wonder if I should move the thread to the hardware forum, the XP Forum, or just leave well alone. Bother.

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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    Stuart,

    My fault. When I went to the Hardware tab and clicked Properties, I didn't notice that the list of drives had my hard disk selected. So when I clicked on Properties, I was looking at the properties (and policies) of the selected drive - my hard drive. This despite the fact that I first got into this dialog by right-clicking on my USB thumb drive and asking for ITS properties and the fact that the title bar of the Properties dialogs said "Removable Disk (G Properties". Even after I de-selected the hard drive in the Hardware tab by clicking in a blank area, the Hardware Properties displayed were of the 1st item in the list - the hard drive.

    Indeed, for the USB drive, there is no option to cache on the disk. In fact, my setting shows the radio button for "Optimize for quick removal" as on and no ability to set caching on the "disk".

    Further my CD/DVD drive does not even have any tab in the Hardware properties to set policies for caching. So between my USB drive set as it is now and my CD/DVD drive, it would appear that there's no need for the "Safely Remove HW" button in the tray.

    Thanks.

    Fred

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    I can confirm what you see also. I have two large, external USB drives and both have their properties set for "quick removal" - not touched by me. So evidently XP SP2 does know to set the default write caching OFF for USB drives.

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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    It would be good to check this on a pre SP2 system. I'm pretty sure it used to default to write caching mode, but I no longer have an old enough system to check.

    StuartR

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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    Thanks for verifying my sanity.

    So the question is, given the setting of optimize for removal, whether there is any use of the "safely remove hardware" feature in the tray when removing a USB drive?

    Also, I checked my wife's computer where we have a few USB HD's attached and we're also running XP SP2. They are optimized for quick removal also but we can change to optimize for performance.

    Fred

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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    You might want to give the <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> utility Smart Flash Recovery a try. I've never used it, but it says it recovers data from flash drives that's been deleted. Don't know about damaged.

    Same outfit also offers VAIOSoft Recovery Manager V1, also <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15>, that claims to recover even damaged data.

    Good Luck !!
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  13. #13
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    Re: Can a flash corrupt a doc? (Word 2003)

    Thx Doc,

    I will try out this utility!

    Cheers
    Regards,
    Rudi

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