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Windows + USB drive can "break" your machine


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#1
072707

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Earlier this summer I "broke" a hard drive on an XP sp2 machine merely by moving a file DIRECTLY from a "backup" Firefox profile on a 1GB USB drive(Lexar JumpDrive 1GB High-speed USB Flash Drive) directly into the machine's C drive Firefox profile. As soon as I finished moving the file the machine starting showing error messages. Ultimately, the hard drive continued to get "stuck in a loop"(-- -- -------) and I replaced it. I even took the hard drive out and tried to run chkdsk via USB on another machine. That other machine could not run chkdsk because the drive I "broke" kept getting "stuck in a loop"(-- -- -------).

I happened to be talking to a System Administrator a day or so after the aforementioned incident. He said that there is an issue with Microsoft Windows and USB drives. He told me that I should not have moved the file directly like I did. He said I should have moved the file from the USB drive to the machine's C drive and, only then, move the file into the Firefox profile on the machine BECAUSE Microsoft Windows runs into a problem with such direct moves into "system" files.

Anyway, I have zero doubt that he was right because I witnessed it with my own eyes. The machine had been working flawlessly until I, unfortunately, made that file move. The very instant I completed that file move the machine began malfunctioning.

I have two questions:

1) What is the proper/official name of this Windows/USB drive problem? I want to Internet search it so that I can learn more about WHAT NOT TO DO. Can you point me to some web information about this issue?

2) How do I get that "broken" drive to stop looping(-- -- -------) so that I can, either, chkdsk it or reformat it.

Thankyou
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#2
Neil Jones

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USB Drives (or the proper term: Pen Drive or Flash Drive) should not really upset a system to that degree. Its more likely that machine had issues prior to your using a pen drive on it, or there was some issue with the port you plugged it into (which is not uncommon as ports do go bad).

In any case, Firefox profile is hardly a key system area, it's no more problematic than installing extensions and skins which write to the exact same area when the browser is open.

Please clarify what you mean by this hard drive being stuck in a loop. If you mean a previously working system no longer boots with this hard drive hanging off it, that normally implies an error with said hard drive, usually a serious error.

Edited by Neil Jones, 28 August 2007 - 02:51 PM.

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#3
072707

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Thankyou for responding Neil.

Please clarify what you mean by this hard drive being stuck in a loop.


Yes the drive is "hanging". The pattern of dashes I gave was an attempt to convey the sound it repeats over and over while "hanging". The sound goes like "short - short - long, short - short - long,.............."

This same exact issue has now happened to me on two completely separate machines that bare no relation to one another. It might be possible that you have not run into anyone who relies on USB hard drives to the extent, and in the same way, that I do. I more or less just happened to bump into that System Administrator and I really did not tell him much at all before he interrupted me and said something like "I hope you put the file on your desktop first, before you transferred it to the profile". I could really care less about "defending him" or something, but he really struck me as knowing his stuff and I can be a pretty good judge of that type of thing; especially, when I hear someone talk, at length, in person.

Anyhow, unfortunately, "the proof has ruined my pudding" because a similar incident has now "broken" another of my drives. They are both portable machines which are usually kept in different locations about 200 miles apart. The recent casualty is making the EXACT same sound as the first hard drive I "broke" doing this. One machine is, maybe, 2.5 years old designed for XP and the other one, the Toshiba, is probably 7 or 8 years old designed for Windows 2000.

Again, I really don't think you have run into anyone who uses USB drives the way I do. Really, I am not kidding. Guess I will have to change now, though.


2) How do I get that "broken" drive to stop looping(-- -- -------) so that I can, either, chkdsk it or reformat it.


Edited by 72707, 28 August 2007 - 03:48 PM.

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#4
happyrock

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I agree with Neil Jones,,,copying files back and forth will not break your hard drive...copying them to a system file where they don't belong can and will screw up the windows install but the hardware will not be affected...I use flash drives everyday on multiple computers including external usb hard drives and have been doing it for years without any incidents..
set the jumper to CS or SL and slave the drive to another computer and format it...NOT THE quick format..

Edited by happyrck, 28 August 2007 - 08:16 PM.

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#5
072707

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copying files back and forth will not break your hard drive


I am quite convinced that this can happen as it has happened to me twice; "seen it with my own eyes". I admit that my choice of topic title and using the word "system", when I actually do know that Firefox profile is not a WINDOWS SYSTEM file, might seem "sensationalist" ; maybe I should have used different phrasing.

Again, you guys have probably never encountered someone who uses "USB drives" in quite the way that I do. It is clear to me that most people are not aware of this because it only occurs if certain conditions exist on the machine; I hate to "coin a phrase", but a "perfect storm" of conditions. Anyway, I am more likely to run into the problem simply because, at any given moment, when the aforementioned "conditions" develop, I am far, far, more likely than most people to be transferring files DIRECTLY from a "USB drive" to my C drive. I just wish I could find out the "name" or "designation" of this problem.

Anyway, what I would really like to know at this point, since the drives are indisputably "jacked", regardless of the particulars of how they got so, is:

2) How do I get that "broken" drive to stop looping(-- -- -------) so that I can, either, chkdsk it or reformat it.


and

set the jumper to CS or SL and slave the drive to another computer and format it...NOT THE quick format..

Is there a website that shows the jumper settings for slave? You are telling me to slave the drive so that it will stop "looping" and let me get my data off of it, right? I can use it slaved via a USB connection(enclosure) right?

Edited by 72707, 29 August 2007 - 03:14 AM.

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#6
Neil Jones

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Could you please clarify exactly how you "use" your pen drives because the issues look as if they are being caused by something that you are doing. The behaviour you are describing is slightly disturbing and should not be happening. If this is a serious reproducible issue then we should all be aware of it for other people.

What files are you copying from the drive and where are you copying them to? What did you copy on the second machine that's caused it to fall over that you didn't copy on the first machine? What conditions have to met that, with all due respect, only yourself seems to be able to meet?

To have one machine fall over through use of a pen drive is tragic, to have it happen to two is suspect, to have it happen to three is highly suspicious, particularly if the same pen drive is used each time. Please be advised, I'm not saying that you have had anything to do with the problems that have occurred (it may well be coincidence especially on that 7-8yr old machine) but I'd like to know the circumstances as to how a hard drive could spontaneously fail just for plugging a pen drive in.

Edited by Neil Jones, 29 August 2007 - 03:27 AM.

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#7
happyrock

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pull the hard drive out of the case...look on the back and find where jumper is...the jumper is a small piece of plastic that connects 2 of the 8 pins...somewhere on back (right beside or above or below the pins)..it usually has small letters CS...SL...MA...sometimes the pin setup diagram is on the top with the drive model info...move the jumper to the slave position and connect the drive to a working computer on the middle connector of the IDE cable...you will be able to get all your data...THEN format it ...and reinstall the drive back in the old system and reinstall windows..don't forget to reset the jumper...
I have done everything possible that can be done with flash drives on a almost daily basis for the last 4 years and have never hurt a thing...
drag and drop...send to ...copy to folder...move to...
I can't imagine what you could do that could hurt the drives...
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#8
072707

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Here, apparently, are the slave settings( http://216.109.125.1...F...=1&.intl=us ) for my 6GB Toshiba drive( http://www3.toshiba..../hdd/mk6014.htm ); however, I am looking on the "green side" of the hard drive and I can not find the "jumpers" to set. I do not have a pdf viewer on this machine.

I am looking at the html version of the page and, apparently, it does not include the images. I guess the jumper locations should be obvious once I view the illustrated pdf file.

What "tools" do I use to actually set the jumpers?


Jumper p28 Drive
No Jumper - Master Drive
C-D - Slave Drive
B-D Jumper Low Master Drive
B-D Jumper High Slave Drive
A-B Jumper - Prohibit
A-C Jumper - Prohibit

I do see some strips a strip of plastic, but there do not appear to be any other pin "holes" near it. Anyway, obviously the jumpers must be there I just need to get the pdf version of the aformentioned webpage.

Thankyou both.

Neil I will write a more detailed response in an effort to answer questions you posed in your last post.
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#9
happyrock

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go here and get foxitreader...install it and you will be able to read pdf files...its free and fast and much lighter on your system than adobe reader...
BTW...there are no images at that link...

Edited by happyrck, 29 August 2007 - 08:26 AM.

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#10
happyrock

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here is a screenshot of the back of the drive.. the tools you need are your finger nails to remove the jumper (it just slides off)and your fingers or tweezers to push it on the correct pins

just a thought ...as cheap as hard drives are now... you may want to get a bigger,newer hard drive to install windows to

Edited by happyrck, 29 August 2007 - 08:45 AM.

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#11
072707

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Great! Thanks for the foxitreader link. One of the reasons I have avoided adobe acrobat on my xp machine is because it seemed to be slow and, or, slow down my win2k and win98 machines.

happyrck wrote:

you may want to get a bigger,newer hard drive

Well, that is precisely what I did when this "USB drive" issue that I have experienced caused the 60GB(tosiba mk6021gas) hard drive that was in my Dell Inspiron 8500 notebook to fail. I went to the store, originally to get an enclosure to try and run chkdsk from the win2k notebook, but I ended up just buying and installing a Hitachi Travelstar 160GB hard drive on the Dell instead of replacing the 60GB. Now I wish I could find out the name and specifics of this windows + USB drive issue so that I don't "break" another hard drive since I am obviously susceptible to reproducing this issue.

I could not have reformatted the 60GB anymore than this 6GB though because they both continue to "hang"; that is why, if I can find these jumpers, I hope that this slave procedure will allow me to chkdsk or reformat these drives so that I can use them again.

You are right. I was, essentially, out of space on the Toshiba Satellite Pro 4200 Series' 6GB harddrive, but I am avoiding putting much money into it, because I am more or less trying to transition to the XP sp2 Dell laptop. I really never expected to "break" my Toshiba notebook's drive in the same way that I did the Dell 60GB drive; so, if I can relatively easily reformat or chkdsk the 6GB drive into working again I sure would like to do it. It is unlikely that I will put the 60GB drive into the Toshiba notebook, even if I do get it working again. The 60GB hard drive will probably be far more useful in that enclosure and used as another external USB drive

note: I was so far out of space on that 6GB hard drive that I was installing software to yet another USB drive(40GB Seagate that I found for $20 bucks, unopened, in the clearance bin at a local store). The 160GB drive that I partitioned into NTFS 40/60/60 already has about 10GB of software installations, including the OS, on the 40GB "system" partition. I almost think I should have made the "system" partition a little bigger.

Incidentally, after I finished installation the Total Size of the partitions came out to 29.2GB/59.8GB/59.8GB. 160 - 148.8 = 11.2GB. I still don't know hat happened to my other 11.2GB of space?
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#12
happyrock

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Incidentally, after I finished installation the Total Size of the partitions came out to 29.2GB/59.8GB/59.8GB. 160 - 148.8 = 11.2GB. I still don't know hat happened to my other 11.2GB of space?

its a math thing...the drive manufactures use 1000 MB as 1 GB...windows uses 1024 MB for 1 GB...so you lose 24 MB for each GB....then there is the overhead of partitioning...you haven't lost any space
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#13
072707

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windows uses 1024 MB for 1 GB...so you lose 24 MB for each GB


I see. So it may be better to say that I bought a 160,000 / 1024 = 156.25 GB hard drive
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#14
072707

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Found the jumpers, but there is no jumper( small piece of plastic that connects 2 of the 8 pins ) in place. Is there some place I can buy one?

I see 4 "jumper" pins not 8.

Installed foxitreader and looked at that pdf for the drive.

The speed difference between foxitreader(186,000 miles/sec) and acrobat(turtle) is WOwwwwww!

How does acrobat keep market share?
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#15
happyrock

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that particular drive has no jumper to be the master...go to a local computer repair shop and they should give you one of the jumpers from one of the dead drives they have...they are all the same ..even the ones on CD/DVD drives...


about foxitreader...tell your friends...
another 2 programs that are quick and lite are real alternative a quicktime alternative...get them both here
the quicktime one is on the lower left side...after installing them use the add /remove to get rid of the standard versions...they will work seemlessly
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