Techchips

Fight Fake Capacity Flash Memory

Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive?

Posted by techchips on September 23, 2009

Before you attempt to repair a fake aka upgraded USB Flash (Pen) Drive you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my chances of being successful?
  • What are the chances of downloading a virus?
  • How trustworthy are repaired drives?
  • How much is my time worth?

 

Unless the pen drive contains one of the popular controller chips (Microv, ICreate or Alcor families) and memory storage chips (Samsung & Hynix) finding the correct low level software program will be a challenge. You will spend a significant amount of time looking for solutions and may not be successful in your efforts.

You may find some software on a website that you think could fix your drive and inadvertently download a virus or other forms of malware. McAfee’s Siteminder identifies some of the download sites as containing malicious software or software that breaches browser security.

The drive may also be irreparably damaged during the repair process. Using the wrong software can destroy the flash storage chip. Using a program someone else used with their previous sitting i.e. leaving the ECC open could destroy access to the storage chip, as information in the controller is over written.

Could you ever trust a repaired drive with your data files or pictures? The unscrupulous creators of the fake flash drives maximise their profits by using the lowest cost chips they can purchase. The quality of these chips range from average to poor. When the chips fail you may be lucky and just loose all the files that you have stored on the drive, or worse – the contents of the files can be corrupted and remain undetected by you.

Can you trust the software (aka firmware) that was installed on the flash drive by the manufactures tool (Udtools etc) during the repair process? The firmware that was installed could be a “hacked” version, reprogrammed to ignore memory errors.

Since the tools the counterfeiters use to create the fakes have the ability to ignore or hide memory errors, it is best to assume that the fakes contain poor quality memory chips. The output of H2TestW may indicate that a fake contains extremely poor quality chips. A significant difference between the reported “OK” size as reported by H2TestW and that of a typical fake flash drive is a good indication of bad or damaged memory areas on the fake flash drive. The following are some typical “OK” sizes:

180MB OK is typical for a Fake 16GB Drive created from a real 256MB memory chip
980MB OK is typical for a Fake 16GB Drive created from real 1GB memory chip
1.9GB OK is typical for a Fake 16GB Drive created from a real 2GB memory chip
1.7GB OK is typical for a Fake 32GB drive created from a real 2GB memory chip

If H2TestW does not complete a test or outputs error messages then you should not consider repairing. The life time of repaired drives may be significantly less than regular drives. The type of NAND flash memory used in brand name USB flash drives is typically rated at 10,000 erase – write cycles. Some of the potential methods used in the producing fakes may result in significant numbers of erase – write cycles done on a small area of the flash drives. This will result in the drive having a short life time.

If you going to repair and reuse a drive you should mark and/or label the drive so that you will remember that is a repaired fake flash drive. You should also use tools that provide basic data integrity checking when savings files on the drive. Some of the potential tools are Zip, 7Zip and Microsoft compressed folders.

After you have repaired the drive, test it! If H2TestW shows any errors then destroy the drive and throw it in the garbage.

After considering the above you should ask yourself: how much is my time worth, especially when I may end up with a 2GB or smaller drive?

Genuine Verses Fake Counterfeit USB Flash Drives – A Guide – USB Flash Chips Used In USB Flash Drives – Grades A B C D

Update 20091023: Please consult the new FAQ at FixFakeFlash Inspectortech for important information on repairing fake flash memory items before you attempt to repair.

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20 Responses to “Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive?”

  1. […] Wait. 1.5GB?? I plug it in a FreeBSD box I am working on in the lab and again it says 1.5GB. This is it then. The stick reports wrong size and Ubuntu and FreeBSD get confused when trying to access the drive and discover that it is actually a different size. lsusb reports 0011:7788. Google points me to the right direction where I find that this is a more common problem that I thought: Fix Fake Flash […]

  2. […] Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive? […]

  3. PnP Device ID: VID = 2008 PID = 2168
    Serial Number: 2008111520083381
    Revision: 2.80

    Device Type: Standard USB device – USB2.0 High-Speed

    Chip Vendor: micov
    Chip Part-Number: MXT8208

    Product Vendor: (N/A)
    Product Model: ?????EU???E?UECE?????

  4. […] Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive? You need to read this! Don’t waste your time or effort before you have read through this article. […]

  5. […] Can the fakes be repaired? Sometimes…. You need to ask yourself, is it worth the time and effort? Read Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive […]

  6. […] Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive? You need to read this! Don’t waste your time or effort before you have read through this article. […]

  7. […] Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive? You need to read this! Don’t waste your time or effort before you have read through this article. […]

  8. hamid said

    Hi
    how i can repair this faked flash memory?
    Chip genius said:
    Device Name: +[J:]+USB Mass Storage Device(Generic Disk USB Device)

    PnP Device ID: VID = 258F PID = 6387
    Serial Number: 00100000002DC4A1
    Revision: 3.00

    Device Type: Standard USB device – USB2.0 Full-Speed (USB1.1)

    Chip Vendor: (No match record)
    Chip Part-Number: (No match record)

    Product Vendor: Generic
    Product Model: Disk

    Tools on Web: (N/A)

    carlopan@gmail.com

  9. […] Should You Repair A Fake USB Flash (Pen) Drive? […]

  10. Regina said

    Inspector,
    Thank you very much for reply! (should I do write: your reply?) lol… Yes, I just told you: Very poor english!
    Escrevi como um desabafo, não pensei que alguém fosse responder.
    Apesar da tradução automática do google translate ficar horrível e engraçada, podemos usar, claro.
    Quanto ao pen-drive, já o abri. E, no surprise: chip da memória flash “devidamente” apagado; chip da controladora quase ilegível, vou fotografar para tentar ampliar.

    Obrigada,

    ps: Sem querer abusar, poderia me indicar alguém ou algum lugar que me esclareça como reparar um “fantástico” Windows Vista Starter, sem formatar? Já pesquisei e tentei muita coisa, até agora nada. Faz 15 dias.

  11. InspectorTech said

    ==== portugese =====

    Oi Regina,

    Podemos usar um tradutor para se comunicar. Deseja repará-lo? Kingston falsificações são um problema sério. Você deve ter muito cuidado e abrir o pen-drive. Pesquisar chip pequeno quadrado. Letras Decode. Escrever cartas em papel. Próximo encontrar longo preto chip quadrado. Letras Decode. Escrever no papel.

    Little chip quadrados, é a família de controlador USB. É da família do fornecedor de software. Long chip é chip flash para dados. Você terá que encontrar o controlador e também verificar interent para obter informações sobre chip flash muito tempo para ver se o fabricante para o tamanho.

    Você pode usar o tradutor do Google.

    1) Veja o Web site de links para manufactuers chip http://fakememorysentinel.wordpress.com/

    2) Veja o Web site de reparação de idéias e links de software: http://fixfakeflash.wordpress.com/

    Uma vez que você sabe chip contoller usb (pracinha) e também chip de armazenamento de memória flash (long quadrado), você pode tentar fazer um reparo. Se você encontrar chip de identificação em tempo na internet, então você sabe o tamanho real. Isso irá ajudá-lo a decidir se você quer tentar resgatar e pen-drive.

    ===== english =====

    Hi Regina,

    We can use a translator to communicate. You wish to repair it? Kingston Fakes are a serious problem. You must be very careful and open the pen-drive. Find little square chip. Decode letters. Write letters on paper. Next find long black square chip. Decode letters. Write on paper.

    Little square chip, is usb controller family. It is vendor family for software. Long chip is flash chip for data. You will have to find controller and also check interent for information on long flash chip to see if manufacturer for size.

    You can use google translator.

    1) See website for links to chip manufactuers http://fakememorysentinel.wordpress.com/

    2) See repair website for ideas and software links: http://fixfakeflash.wordpress.com/

    once you know usb contoller chip (little square) and also flash memory storage chip (long square) you can try to make a repair. If you find identification on long chip on internet, then you know what real size is. This will help you decide if you want to try and rescue pen-drive.

  12. Regina said

    Bom dia!
    Uma amiga pediu para que eu passasse umas fotos, me deu o pen-drive e disse: se eu gostar, depois passo para um cd. Um Kingston 16GB, falso de índole e de coração! Logo na minha mão resolveu mostrar seu verdadeiro caráter. O pior é que nem o H2testw conseguiu ler. O que faço agora?

    Regina
    São Paulo/SP – Brasil
    – lendo, até que entendo inglês, quanto a escrever vou poupá-los –
    Obrigada,

  13. ITGuy said

    This statement in one of the SOSFAKEFLASH comments

    “Also, I don’t know which program did it but I have a triple boot system which had critical system files deleted on the day I downloaded and used 4 of the programs”

    Supports the warnings in this posting.

    Do you want to risk having files on your computer corrupted or indentity theft software installed on your computer. Good anti-virus software may protect you, but is it work the risk?

  14. ITGuy said

    I would recommend that after you partition the drive you test the drive with h2testw at least twice. Run h2testw, delete the test files and run h2testw again. If you see any errors on the second test, throw the drive away. I’ve seen a drive that tests OK with h2testw when first connected to a PC and fails on the second test. If you unplugged the drive and reconnected the drive it passed h2testw the first time and failed the second test.

    As this article indicates, you cannot trust a fake flash drive, especially one repaired with the partioning technique. You do not know how the drive was modified. Was all error detection and correction disabled? Was the bad block management routines changed etc. You don’t know and you may end up with undetected & corrupted data.

  15. Steve said

    To run a quick test on the WHOLE DEVICE to check if it is faulty or not – use RMPrepUSB v2 – Clean & Test option – this will only take a few minutes rather than the hours that H2TESTW takes. RMPrepUSB tests ALL memory as reported by device memory size, H2TESTW only tests the size of the formatted volume.

    You can use some of the drive by doing this:

    1. Run RMPrepUSB under Windows and re-partition to maximum size FAT32 – click Prepare button
    2. Run H2TESTW and look at reported true (OK) size
    3. Run RMPrepUSB and set size to true size or just lower.
    4. Re-test with H2TESTW to check it is now OK

  16. CARLOS EDUARDO said

    MY PEN DRIVER THIS CORRUPTING THE FILES AND NECESSARY TO UPDATE HIS FIRMWARE ANYBODY I CAN HELP MYSELF? HERE THEY ARE GOING THE DATA PICKED BY THE CHIP GENIUS AT ONCE I THANK!!

    Device Name: + [F:] + USB Mass Storage Device (Generic Flash Disk USB Device)

    PnP Device ID: VID = 0001 PID = 7778
    Serial Number: 480F1CA2
    Revision: 8.00

    Device Type: Standard USB device. USB2.0 High-Speed

    Chip Vendor: Alcor
    Chip Part-Number: FC8308

    Product Vendor: (N/A)
    Product Model: U

  17. CARLOS EDUARDO said

    MEU PEN DRIVER ESTA CORROMPENDO OS ARQUIVOS E PRECISO ATUALIZAR O FIRMWARE DELE ALGUEM PODE ME AJUDAR ? AQUI VÃO OS DADOS COLHIDOS PELO CHIP GENIUS DESDE JÁ AGRADEÇO!!

    Device Name: +[F:]+USB Mass Storage Device(Generic Flash Disk USB Device)

    PnP Device ID: VID = 0001 PID = 7778
    Serial Number: 480F1CA2
    Revision: 8.00

    Device Type: Standard USB device – USB2.0 High-Speed

    Chip Vendor: Alcor
    Chip Part-Number: FC8308

    Product Vendor: (N/A)
    Product Model: U

  18. Will said

    Thanks for putting it in perspective. My wife was asking me if I was going to send it back to get my money refunded.I told her that would just give the seller another chance to screw someone else.I’am an old electronic tech and should have known it was to cheep for a 64gb drive, so trying to get some use out of it and fun to see if I can get it to work for bit maybe worth the $25 I got in it. There is always a price for learning!

  19. TechChips said

    Hi Titio,

    Yes, languages are an issue. We can publish in other languages then english if people write the articles.

    You are welcome to write summary articles on our information at your site and link to our articles as reference. The message is so important.

    We welcome your assistence to get the message out to Brazil. Many in your country accidentally buy fake capacity flash memory items. Some times on eBay but also at several local websites in your country. Kingston is one brand name in your country that is often found to be counterfeit and fake capacity.

    See our right menu bar – Our Sites. These are websites that are part of the FrankenFlash Project. This site is only one of them. Recently Israel made an effort to write about the problem in Hebrew to warn people and used our articles. See http://itbananas.com/fake-usb/ for an example. You might need to use a translator though.

    If you would like to speak for Brazil and help to educate people on these issues, you are welcome to write articles at your site in Portuguese. Do include url references to us. It will help link our sites with yours and help the articles to rise in search engines, so people can find the information.

  20. Titio said

    Hello, I’m Brazilian, so forgive my English,

    I am using a translator online

    I use free software distribution as an option for anti-piracy, and if I see fake flash drives in the same way, you can begin to suspect from the price of the product, while very inexpensive, the chances of the product being counterfeit is very high.

    So the best way to buy their products, will always be through recommendations and also known vendors.

    I got a stick, I discovered it was fake and I’m here trying to bring it to life with its original capacity, such as horse does not look at the teeth, to achieve a 1 GB instead of 16GB, I’ll be happy.

    Ganhei um pendrive, descobri que era falsificado e estou aqui tentando trazê-lo a vida com sua capacidade original, como cavalo dado não se olha os dentes, se conseguir um de 1GB no lugar dos 16GB, ficarei contente.

    I want to take to make a suggestion about the site, making it available in more languages.

    I also ask permission to disclose them on my blog.

    Grateful for the opportunity to count on you.

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