Fake USB Flash Memory Drives

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The Proliferation of fake USB memory sticks being sold on eBay.

I was caught late last year when I purchased two 16GB USB sticks for about $20 each (including postage) from Hong Kong. I thought it was a good price, until earlier this year when I tried storing a few GB of files and found that they were being corrupted. Some searching found that it's very common on eBay to receive these fake USB sticks. In my case, the manufacturer put a 2GB memory chip in the device and then coded the controlled chip to show 16GB.

Under Windows, Windows Explorer sees the drive as a normal 16 GB flash drive, but when you write more than the real memory available some of the information is overwritten, causing corruption of the data. A little more searching found that you can reflash the controller chip so that it reports the correct memory to explorer. That way at least I have reliable 2 GB USB memory sticks. This same deception is also common on 8GB and 16GB MP4 players.

If you want to check your USB memory just use a program called H2testw. It writes multiple 1 GB test files to fill your device and then reads them back to check for corrupted data. It will then report on the real memory available. The programs is available from Google and simply type its name into the search bar.

The programs to reflash the controller vary according to the brand of the chips in the device. Just do a Google Search for How to fix a fake USB drive for more information.
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