This article will talk about fake flash drives and memory cards. These storage devices, to the untrained eye can pass for a genuine product. As you go on reading this article, you will realize that the flash drive you had used to copy some files, some months or years ago if not days was actually a fake.
What am I saying
The market is polluted by millions of fake storage devices. We all would want to purchase items at an extremely low price; and this is how we fall prey to those fake flash drives.
A fake flash drive or fake memory card refers to storage devices that have been “tweaked” to trick windows or other systems that they have the full capacity and are up to standards. When you plug your fake flash drive into your computer, it will appear as a genuine drive would and it will show you the correct capacity of the drive that you purchased. It is only when you start using the flash drive, that you realize that you have been duped.
Back in the day flash drives have been marketed in different designs. We had flash drives that looked like keys, others could be won on the hand like ornaments. This form of designing flash drives really helped to market this fake flash drives, as they appeared more appealing to the buyer. This design of flash drives, still exists up to date, but are probably not hyped. Once you purchase several of this flash drives, and you have numerous of them failing one after another, you tend to get content with the simple flash drive design that will at least store your data for more than a day. Although even the simple flash drive designs are not always genuine.
This year, ItechJungle purchased several flash drives for its use and for clients as well, online. Some of the drives we purchased included a 32gb flash drive that looked like a key, 32gb memory cards, 64gb memory cards; and almost all of them were faulty. The system in which we purchase products for clients is where a client sources for the item online and gives us the link where we take over the purchasing and delivery.
On using this flash drives for the first time, data transfer happens smoothly. I even had a client using a memory card without any issues at all. We were forced to recall a number of flash drives to have them tested after we learnt and discovered a way in which we can fully test this flash drives.
On testing the flash drives, we realized that many of the flash drives had fake capacities. Some of the flash drives couldn’t copy data beyond a certain amount. The properties of the flash drive showing the full capacity of the drive, the remaining storage and used storage were all false.
Some of the flash drives would copy data successfully, however when you connect your flash drive to another computer, it’s blank.
We all know data is really valuable. You spend several minutes if not hours copying data onto a flash drive only to realize the flash drive is blank. You use your memory card to store the photos that you take, only to look at the photos later only to realize that the files are corrupt. The frustration and anger.
How are they fake
The flash drives and memory cards are “tweaked” to give the computer false information.
Some of this flash drives in real sense have lower capacity than what “My computer” shows you.
For instance if you buy a 64gb memory card, you will find that the real capacity of that flash drive is 8gb. If you are copying small bits of data, and you end up not exceeding the 8gb real capacity, you will find the flash drive is working as it should. However when you exceed 8gb, is when you will find the memory card having issues. The file copying will hang. Already present data will get corrupted in a bid to add more data onto a device that doesn’t really have the capacity.
The example above is a more professional fake flash drive, as it will work well, just with limits. Other flash drives could have a capacity of 256mb. This ones, when you try to even copy any data onto it, it appears to copy buy once you plugged it out of your computer all the data is lost. It’s as if it has a file safe option that deletes files on ejecting the drive from the primary source of data entry into it.
Corrupt suppliers, tend to purchase low capacity drives possibly rejects and then reprogram the controller chip that manages the memory information into tricking the system. They use special programs and software to make this drives think that they have more space than they actually do.
This is where now when you use the drive, under low usage, some will work fine. You might not even notice that your flash drive is fake.
The only way to know if your drive is fake, is to test it. To verify whether you can read and write data onto it.
Testing your drive
The only way to know if your drive is legit is taking it through a test. The only challenge with the test is the duration it takes. The duration is directly proportion to the size of the drive. A bigger drive will take more time. On average to test a genuine 64gb flash drive would take about 2-3 hours.
There is a program called H2testw that was created to carry out this test. We shall provide a link to download it. What this program does, is that it writes data onto your hard drive, then it reads the data back. In simple terms it copies files onto the drive, then it attempts to open the files, and read them. With this program you can choose the amount of space to verify.
If you have the time, you can let your computer work to test the full capacity of the drive. If time is of essence to you, you can be able to test 50-75% of the drive. Some articles may talk of 25%, but one of the 32gb flash drives we purchased had a real capacity of 14gb. Testing 25% would mean that we only check 8gb of the drive, and this way we wouldn’t have known if its genuine.
When testing the drive there are certain aspects of the testing process that can guide you to know if your hard drive is fake. You should note this are just tips but it’s only once the process completes that you will know if the drive is fake or not.
- The write speed. Fake drives have a very low write speed.
- Large variations in the write speed that will at times appear to stop writing the data then pick up.
- A write speed that starts really high then after copying a few megabytes the write speed greatly reduces and never picks up.
Those are some of the guidelines that will indicate that you have a fake drive.
Tests before buying
The only way to limit your chances of buying a fake drive is through experience; through buying the fake drives. I took the trouble and now you can learn from my experience. Here is what I learnt on how this fake drives are marketed.
- These drives are usually very cheap. They tend to be way below the market price.
- When you are buying a well-known brand such as san disk, you need to be very careful as the corrupt suppliers use that fact of a trusted brand to sell the fake flash drive. Look at the drive below. Its packaging looks legit, however this drive was a fake.
- A supplier who offers a bunch of extra things. A supplier who offers a card reader, an adapter etc. Some genuinely offer the extras along a genuine flash, but a majority offer this extras so that they can encourage you to purchase their fake flash drives.
- If you find a supplier selling genuine flash drives, try and stick with them. For instance after we bought several flash drives from different sellers we established the one who is genuine and the ones who are not.
- Sometimes asking the seller if the flash is genuine, and if it will pass the H2testw will alert them that you know about fake flash drives. These sellers most of them, especially the ones online don’t want to have bad ratings, so they will tell you “I am not sure if it will pass the test, but I don’t think so”.
- Ultimately cheap is expensive. Don’t expect to buy a 64gb flash drive at 10 dollars. By all means that flash drive will be fake. To get genuine products you need to be willing to dig dipper into your pockets.
The link to downloading the h2testw application is here. A video will be created in the course of this week, talking briefly about this fake drives and majorly to show you how to use the h2testw software.
Now go ye and purchase a genuine flash drive.