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Big discrepancy in specified and actual capacity of a USB stick
Thread poster: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Nov 19, 2008

I wondered if there is anyone here who knows much about USB sticks. I bought one today, and it is supposed to have a capacity of 8 GB. The reason I bought it was that I thought it might be a good way to back up my most essential data, especially my termbases, and I thought that the promised 8 GB would be sufficient for that.

Well, I backed up one or two small files onto it - and guess what? It only after all has a capacity of 6.31 MB and is therefore already full! It was quite expensive if it only holds one measly termbase and one single accounting file. I have loads of other files that I wanted to back up onto it, but I cannot pay the same price all over again for each separate file. To make it worse, I did not even put 6.31 MB onto it. At least 5.5 MB is some rubbish that the manufacturers already put onto it.

All I want to ask really is whether it is normal for a USB stick to have such a small capacity, especially when a higher theoretical capacity has been promised, and whether, therefore, USB sticks are simply a big con that nobody but me would fall for these days? I am looking for a way to back up files again after I lost a lot of data in the summer due to a broken external hard disk. I asked a computer technician to get the data off the external hard disk for me, but he said it was not possible because it would be a very laborious and time-consuming task. He then advised me to buy a USB stick and said that an 8 GB one would hold all my termbases.

Astrid


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Megabytes? Gigabytes? Documentation? Nov 19, 2008

Astrid,
Could you check your posting - the Ms and Gs don't match, so I am not sure what you are saying. If it said 8G and you get about 6M, that is a difference of a magnitude and would indeed be very strange.

In any case, did you check the size of your files that you wanted to copy to an external unit before purchasing the stick?

If not, you may want to do that yourself, instead of believing a "computer-man" who may not have a full understanding of what you wanted to save.

When you have the total amount of data, go ahead and purchase a unit that holds MORE than that, I would say at least twice as much, as you want to keep using it in the future as well, and you will be accumulating data just as much as before, so your pile of stuff will keep growing.

There are large capacity external storage devices that are USB (I have a 250G Maxtor mini) that is small enough (about the size of a blackberry or a business calculator) to even carry around.

As to the useful free area of these devices - you need to check the specific documentation that comes with it. It is not unusual that there is an area on the device that is reserved for the system to use (my Maxtor has its own software backup on it, among others).


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amurati
Local time: 11:11
English to Albanian
+ ...
Indeed this is true Nov 19, 2008

if you buy a 8 GB USB memory stick it doesn't means that it has 8 giga bytes instead they are 8 gigabits in this case
if we would need to have eight giga byte we need 8 * 1024 mega bytes so it is not 8 Giga bytes but 8 gigabits so 8 000 000 000 bit and to be correct 8 Gigabyte then we need to have
8* 1024 * 1024 * 1024 = 8,589,934,592 bits to have exacty 8 Gigabytes usb stick.

in that cas since we have there only 8 Gb then it means that we have there 589,934,592 bits less then 8 GB. (Gb is for gigabits)
here you might have only 93% of the total capacity so it means that you have 7,44 GB and not 8 GB.


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:11
German to English
Are there 2 partitions? Nov 19, 2008

You might want to see whether the USB stick shows up as 2 drives. One of mine (don't have it handy so I can't provide the exact information) has a U3 utility partition that allows portability of some programs. I don't use the feature and resent the amount of space it takes up. If I were less lazy I'd try to delete the partition.

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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 06:11
English to Spanish
No, it's not normal Nov 19, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

All I want to ask really is whether it is normal for a USB stick to have such a small capacity, especially when a higher theoretical capacity has been promised, and whether, therefore, USB sticks are simply a big con that nobody but me would fall for these days? I am looking for a way to back up files again after I lost a lot of data in the summer due to a broken external hard disk. I asked a computer technician to get the data off the external hard disk for me, but he said it was not possible because it would be a very laborious and time-consuming task. He then advised me to buy a USB stick and said that an 8 GB one would hold all my termbases.

Astrid


Hi Astrid!

If you haven't mixed Megabytes with Gigabytes (and I don't think you have, from what I've read of your posts you are quite tech-savvy), then NO, it is definitely NOT normal.

I have a 4GB memory stick and it usually chokes up when it's filled at around 3.9 GB. Back when I used a 1 GB stick, it would support around 800 MB. So yes, in reality they have a couple of megabytes less that it usually says, but the difference you mention is appalling. It's less than what the old 128 MB memory sticks have!!

I'd go back to the store ASAP and ask them to check for themselves. Unless you've made a HUGE mistake regarding the actual size of your files (confusing GB for MB), the product is flawed.

Greetings and good luck.

Andrea

PS: Some more sophisticated USB memory sticks have a "privacy zone" that is password-protected... could this be the problem you are having? What memory stick did you buy?

[Edited at 2008-11-19 15:52 GMT]


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
very odd imho Nov 19, 2008

Astrid,

I'm fairly new to this form of storage, too, but I bought an 2 GB stick, and it works like a dream--very rapid copying process and convenient for its portability. Although it has tons of files on it, I've only used up 122 MB or the 2 GB. The files are mostly Word and Excel files, jpegs, and Quicken files.

Patricia


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No, I have not mixed up my Megabytes and Gigabytes Nov 19, 2008

I put onto it my legal termbase, which, stored on the C:/ drive, takes up 3,245 KB. Then I put onto it my accounts from the year 2005 to the present time. However, a back-up of this file on the C:/ drive claims to only take up 370 KB.

After I did this no more would go on.

If I click on "Computer" and see the drives listed, it says:

"C: 142 Gigabytes of 232 GB free", and then:

"CD drive (J) U3 System: 0 Bytes out of 6.31 MB free".

Then, if I click on that and open it up, inside it also says that it is a total of 6.31 MB and is already full. It also lists one or two files that were already there.


Astrid

[Edited at 2008-11-19 16:12 GMT]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There is mention of the term "U3" Nov 19, 2008

Kevin Fulton wrote:

You might want to see whether the USB stick shows up as 2 drives. One of mine (don't have it handy so I can't provide the exact information) has a U3 utility partition that allows portability of some programs. I don't use the feature and resent the amount of space it takes up. If I were less lazy I'd try to delete the partition.


It says "U3" in the name of the drive. What does this mean, and do I need to do something to this stick first to make it usable?

The name of the stick is: "Cruzer Contour U3 8GB".

Astrid

[Edited at 2008-11-19 16:16 GMT]


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
German to English
+ ...
difference of 3 magnitudes / write-protected? Nov 19, 2008

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:
If it said 8G and you get about 6M, that is a difference of a magnitude and would indeed be very strange.


That's a difference of 1000 or 3 magnitudes! Something is wrong here. Astrid, what kind of error message do you get? Can you tell us the make and model of the stick? Long shot: there's not a switch or slider to lock/unlock the stick, i.e. make it writable/read-only?

I am looking for a way to back up files again after I lost a lot of data in the summer due to a broken external hard disk. I asked a computer technician to get the data off the external hard disk for me, but he said it was not possible because it would be a very laborious and time-consuming task.


Did your tech try to install the failed external drive as an internal IDE on another computer? Worth a shot. In the long run it might be a good idea to think about online backups.

[Edited at 2008-11-19 16:17 GMT]


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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:11
Member (2004)
French to English
Kingston Nov 19, 2008

Hi Astrid,

I've had a similar problem with some more expensive sticks. FWIW, I've found the Kingston DataTraveler (got mine from Amazon) sticks the cheapest and most user friendly to date. No stuff and nonsense, just straightforward backup space.

Best,

K


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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:11
Member (2004)
French to English
Oh yes! Nov 19, 2008

Thought the name rang a bell - I too bought the Cruzer and it is now at the back of my drawer... There is quite possibly more to it than meets the eye, but I couldn't stand the bells and whistles. I personally feel happier with something much more straightforward.

K


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John Di Rico  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:11
Member (2006)
French to English
fraud Nov 19, 2008

Hi Astrid,
I stopped using ebay a couple of years ago after some company based out of Singapore sent me a 256 mb memory card instead of the 2 gb I was supposed to receive. I tried to send it back and it was returned undelivered. The so-called fraud-protection plan didn't work like it should have and to this day e-bay has not reimbursed me.

Maybe you got--for lack of a better term--screwed.

Hope not, best,

John


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
German to English
+ ...
Reference Nov 19, 2008

It sounds like the stick appears as two drives: one with the cruzer software and one with the USB storage area:
http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic98681.html

U3 drives present themselves as two devices. One of them appears as a read-only CD drive that contains all the bull**** programs and the other is the writeable USB stick part.
...


So, how do I bypass the bs and use it like my old Dell jump drive?
...

Go to the SanDisk site and read up on all their instructions and advisories.
-----------------------------------------


I checked the San Disk website and this might be helpful for you:
http://www.sandisk.com/Retail/Default.aspx?CatID=1459


[Edited at 2008-11-19 16:34 GMT]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It has not even saved my two files Nov 19, 2008

There is no error message. It just states that it can only hold 6.31 Megabytes.

Now I take a closer look, it says the following (in German):

"Files on the data carrier at the moment:

LaunchPad
autorun
LaunchU3


Files which are supposed to be written to the data carrier:

(legal termbase)
(accounting file)"

So, so far it has not saved anything.


Astrid


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Michele! Nov 19, 2008

Yes, I will go to the SanDisk site and see what information they provide there.


Astrid


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