Diagnose a broken usb stick

Hi,

A friend of mine had a usb stick (emtec 16GB) suddenly die. He uses
Windows. I visited him and tried the stick with puppy Linux -
unfortunately, he made a CD of openSUSE 12.3 rescue live but it does not
boot, bad media; and although I had a usb stick of same version but
apparently both his small laptop and desktop are unable to boot from usb.

So I used what I had, puppy linux live cd.

When I plug in the bad stick the system appears to see it (in dmesg),
but not completely. A simple “file -s /dev/sdd” fails, says the device
has no read permissions. There are no more messages in syslog. In any
case, the device is not readable at all.

It is not possible to use tools like dd_rescue, photorec, etc.

Another symptom is that the LED in the stick blinks very slowly.

I would normally expect read errors when flash media starts failing, but
this… maybe it is the firmware that broke down.

Are there any tools that can be used to diagnose a usb stick? We had a
look at the emtec site, found none. Apparently the data is important and
there is no backup. Yes, I already told him how bad that is :-}

If there are specific tools for usb stick diagnosis, we might have
another try.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 12.1 x86_64 “Asparagus” at Telcontar)

Sounds bad! In my experience if photorec doesn’t work then you are up a gum tree… However I just did some googling and came across this:

USB Flash Drive Tester - CNET Download.com

I can’t vouch for it; but it may be handy.

On 2013-03-24 02:16, Penguinclaw wrote:
>
> Sounds bad! In my experience if photorec doesn’t work then you are up a
> gum tree…

Yes, I believe the same. It looks bad indeed.

> However I just did some googling and came across this:
>
> ‘USB Flash Drive Tester - CNET Download.com
> (http://tinyurl.com/4xxsu49)
>
> I can’t vouch for it; but it may be handy.

Yes, I found the same one this afternoon :slight_smile:

My friend tried it, told me that it was no use because Windows did not
see the drive…


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 12.1 x86_64 “Asparagus” at Telcontar)

On Sun, 24 Mar 2013 00:18:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:

> It is not possible to use tools like dd_rescue, photorec, etc.

That tells me it would take more than anything than plugging it into a
system would do - it could be a bad physical connection on the USB
connector to the circuit board that holds the storage memory inside the
drive.

Sounds like it’s toast to me, and that nothing short of cracking the case
and probably talking a soldering iron to it (or using more advanced
hardware recovery tools) is likely to have a chance at fixing.

> Another symptom is that the LED in the stick blinks very slowly.

That could be manufacturer specific, or it could mean nothing at all.

Jim

Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

On 2013-03-25 03:37, Jim Henderson wrote:
> On Sun, 24 Mar 2013 00:18:06 +0000, Carlos E. R. wrote:
>
>> It is not possible to use tools like dd_rescue, photorec, etc.
>
> That tells me it would take more than anything than plugging it into a
> system would do - it could be a bad physical connection on the USB
> connector to the circuit board that holds the storage memory inside the
> drive.

My thoughts exactly.

Unfortunately, it is not one of the four pins on the connector, or the
USB system would not even say what type of USB it is, and it does see
it. I mean, there is a USB dialog between the thing and the computer, so
those 4 pins are ok. And those are the only ones we can resolder, the
rest are really tiny and need special equipment.

> Sounds like it’s toast to me, and that nothing short of cracking the case
> and probably talking a soldering iron to it (or using more advanced
> hardware recovery tools) is likely to have a chance at fixing.

Yep :frowning:

>> Another symptom is that the LED in the stick blinks very slowly.
>
> That could be manufacturer specific, or it could mean nothing at all.

Well, both my friend and me have bought several of those sticks of the
same model, and they all blink at the same rate. The change in rate is
very noticeable to us - but of course, it would only mean something
specific to some one knowing those things from that brand with inside
knowledge.

And EMTEC doesn’t have diagnostic software that we could find. Nothing
in their FAQ.

I just had hopes that someone might know of some diagnostic software.

I hope that my friend will now learn to do backups. Me, I don’t trust
those things. He did not use the thing to copy data back and forth like
I do, he worked on them. Like telling Excel to open a file on the stick,
I mean. I never do that.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 12.1 x86_64 “Asparagus” at Telcontar)