Checking USB flash drives and flash memory cards for correct functionality

Test Run

Article from Issue 161/2014
Author(s):

USB memory sticks and flash memory cards are part of the equipment of almost every mobile IT user today, but media defects can cause data loss. A small tool by the name of F3 helps.

USB sticks and flash memory cards are small, lightweight, and available in a variety of storage capacities, but even though they have no mechanical components, and some sticks even have a metal housing, the memory is not completely wear-free. Some flash storage media, often offered for low prices online, can fail to reach the advertised capacity. This shortcoming is really annoying when your important data is suddenly gone or you can no longer access the medium because of memory cell failure.

To spare yourself this mishap, you need only two things: Linux and the F3 program. F3 uses a read and write test to verify the integrity of the memory cells of your flash media and thus prevent unpleasant surprises.

Get Started

The program, which hails from Brazil, is available from a no-frills website as a source code archive [1]. Start by downloading the ZIP archive and unpacking it in a directory of your choice. Next, change to the newly created f3-2.2 subdirectory and compile the software in a terminal using the make linux command.

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