Identical memory sticks reporting different capacities

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Foebane72, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    I have three 16Gb Readyboost-enabled USB memory sticks from Play.com, and I've just discovered that even though I've quickformatted them all from Win7 with the same settings and choosing default values, that at least one of the devices is reporting a smaller memory capacity.

    Why is that?

    Also, I know some memory is lost to the OS and the filing system on the stick so I'm not surprised I'm not getting the full capacity mentioned, but why would the capacities vary from (supposedly) identical sticks?

    Also, if I chose to format from FAT32 (which these are as default) to NTFS, would it cause more problems or even damage to the sticks? And would it only take effect if I checked off "Quick Format"?
     
  2. Marc

    Marc
    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Messages:
    11,723
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Titchfield
    Ratings:
    +1,101
    is it a lot smaller, or just by a small amount? Can't remember if the Win 7 format tool sets a default cluster size or keeps whatever the drive already had, so it could be that they had different cluster sizes and Windows has just kept it the same when formatting.

    Formatting them to NTFS will probably take up a bit more space on the disc iirc but it won't cause any problems, except with devices that can't read ntfs like some Smart TVs, PS3 etc, and you can do it with Quick Format still ticked.
     
  3. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    Well, two of them said 14.9Gb and the errant one said 14.1Gb, so it's not a major difference. I did click on "Device Defaults" when quickformatting all of them for FAT32 so they should all be the same.

    Is there a way to find out what the "cluster/allocation unit" size is in a USB stick without losing data? All Win7 tells me in Properties is that they're all FAT32 with different capacities, so is there a free utility available?
     
  4. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    Also, I should point out the different capacities were mentioned when I went to format them, so would that be altered as well?

    And why, in the Format dialog, is the memory capacity mentioned in a drop-down list, like the cluster sizes and file systems, when it's can only be one number and usually is? Lazy programming by the MS people, I fear.
     
  5. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    Well, it's confirmed.

    I formatted all three to the same settings (FAT32, 8192 cluster size) and it seems the original capacities are different for exactly the same type of device.

    So, is this common?
     
  6. Marc

    Marc
    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Messages:
    11,723
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Titchfield
    Ratings:
    +1,101
    i would have thought they should all be the same. See if you can find something that tells you the Raw size of each disk. If they're all the same physically then perhaps one has some bad sectors which Windows is stopping the disk from using.
     
  7. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    Thanks.

    Yeah, I thought of bad sectors, but I thought that was just an HDD or FDD thing?
     
  8. pandemic

    pandemic
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    4,578
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,167
    It just means they've used 2 different flash memory chips in the usb drive. Fairly rare when buying from the big suppliers i.e. sandisk, but not uncommon for the cheaper 'no frills' stuff.
     
  9. DVD-Man

    DVD-Man
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2004
    Messages:
    8,579
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Ayrshire, Scotland
    Ratings:
    +1,932
    I've got 2 blue play 16GB USB sticks, one has a green LED the other has a red LED, the RED led version writes faster than the Green LED version.

    Can't compare capacities right now as 1 stick is at my parents.
     
  10. Foebane72

    Foebane72
    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +279
    Well, I just did a check on all three with CHKDSK /R, and none of them have any problems. So it must be down to the different chips used.
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice