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Windows 7: Clearing a thumb drive.

08 Jan 2014   #1

Clearing a thumb drive.

In the past I have re-formatted thumb drives to remove all data.
I know "delete" actually lists the delete file/folder in the hidden "Recycle bin" on the thumb drive.

Recently I had to verify a WD portable USB HD and one of the features on the WD tool was to ... (this is where I am out of my depth) ... replace all segments/bits (?) with zeros.

What is (if there is one) the best way to clear a thumb drive ?
I want to re-use the thumb drives with 5GB data for 6 months storage
Security is not an issue.

any thoughts, thank you

My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Jan 2014   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16

Just format it as usual.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2014   #3

Windows 7 Pro-x64

If you're not concerned about security, use the quick format. It takes only a few seconds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Jan 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Be aware that flash drives are not sufficiently reliable to be used as a backup media. They should be used primarily as a transport media.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jan 2014   #5



How about for temp data read/write and saved to a external HD at days end.
All my data is TXT files, 4,500 files ... total <3GB

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jan 2014   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

In addition to the reliability issues of flash drives there is also the problem that the device may be lost, stolen, or physically damaged. Ideally you should never be in a situation where a flash drive contains the only copy of important files. Of course that may not always be possible.

Some people seem to be under the impression that flash drives never fail. I heard on another forum where a flash drive was used to contain the work of several individuals over the period of about a year. It appears that in all that time no one ever made a backup. The drive failed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jan 2014   #7


Hi LMiller7
Thank you for your input

Currently I use a USB portable HD to hold a variety of data in TXT files (read/write every day) + a lot of PC tools (mostly read only, except for the odd INI file)
The portable-HD is moved between 2 laptops + 4 rigs + off site PCs
90% of my time is accessing the TXt files, 10% with PC tools

The portable HD has been going to sleep within about 3 minutes, despite Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Power Options\Edit Plan Settings ... (on my web-laptop)
Plugged in:= 1 hour
On Battery:= 15 minutes
The portable-HD has been analysed with Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics - DLGDIAG for Windows which I believe only tests the disc including the spinup/spindown "times" (as opposed to disc mechanicals). I have read if a portable HD fails, the disc cannot be rescued/read. Unlike external mains powered HDs.

My PC tools are about 30MB of files, while about 2.5GB of TXT files (and a few PDFs)
All up 8GB is plenty of storage for my IT needs -- the portable HD at 256GB is huge (current use <2% capacity)

The portable HD is backed up every day, because of my suspicions that "something is not quite right".
Atleast 5 times in a day the portable HD disconnects itself, and saving open files have to be handled with kidd-gloves. Saving cannot be rushed else the risk of lost data.
The cost of portable HDs is about au$90/120 for something decent and then they are 500GB/1TB (way overkill)
To add complications the portable-HD is connected to a mains powered hub (a cheapie)
All my thumb drives are dated with external tags, and binned after 2 years. I have had thumb drives still working after 5-6 years. But at $8 each they are cheap vs cost of portable HDs.

I am considering thumb drives with a discard period of 6 months (obviously backed up every day onto HD)
I always backup entire devices, I do not cherry pick what I "think" I have altered.

Hope this all makes sense
This thread has now unintentionally melded into my thread External HD goes to sleep
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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