Flash memory wearing out?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by leafeon34, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. leafeon34

    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Sep 30, 2014
    So to my knowledge if you use the fuck out of a usb stick or sd card then the data on it will no longer be accessible. I'm probably going paranoid here, but I'm worried that if some super unlikely cruel twist of fate slams Thor's fuck your shit up hammer down on my life then both my hard drive and USB stick will die at the same time and I will lose some important files.

    So are there any warning signs I can look out for that suggest that the grim reaper is hovering over my hard drive or usb just waiting for the moment when it can reap my files away and fuck me up?

    Slightly off topic, I wonder if there is any way to purposely wear out flash memory for no good reason. haha.
    Last edited by leafeon34, Feb 19, 2016
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Purposely. Sure, stress/endurance tests are a thing.

    "then the data on it will no longer be accessible"
    Depends. It has been seen that flash will fail in the writing but still be able to read. If the flash chip or controller or sector remapping fails electrically then that is a different story. In the case of USB drives I have seen connectors fail a lot.

    Signs. Hard drives come equipped with a technology called SMART. You can use a SMART reader to see what is going on https://www.smartmontools.org/wiki/Download is one.
    SMART is not 100% reliable by any means ( http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.com/en//archive/disk_failures.pdf being a famous paper) but if it says jump I would consider it.
    Similarly you probably know what your hard drive sounds like. If it starts taking longer to spin up, starts making clicking sounds or starts being really slow then you might wish to look more closely at it.

    "then both my hard drive and USB stick will die at the same time and I will lose some important files."
    There are various so called rules of backups, one of those being if your data does not exist in more than one physical location then it does not exist. Or if you prefer your nice USB drive could also go if your house floods, burns down or I break in and steal your computer (that 64 gig USB drive you leave on the table at night I can always flog and fits nicely in a pocket).

    Nice backup option. Email it to yourself. Not so great for a collection of TV shows, ROMs and films but good for documents, accounts and such like.
    leafeon34 likes this.
  3. Jayro

    Jayro MediCat USB and Mini Windows 10 Developer

    GBAtemp Patron
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    Jul 23, 2012
    United States
    Octo Canyon
    In the couple of decades I've had USB sticks, even my most used ones are still going strong. I now use a USB 3.0 SSD, and it also holds a bootable WindowsToGo installation of Windows 10. Boots up about the same speed as a mechanical harddrive, but once booted, runs about as fast as an SSD.
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