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USB Drive Bricked by Disk Utility

Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
Hey folks,

Got a bargain on three 64 GB pen drives at a local c-store (about €5 in total), but broke two while trying to format them under macOS Catalina. While I do realise the drives are in fact no name I suppose the culprit‘s Disk Utility after all, since I used it on two out of the three drives and broke both in the same fashion (copying files onto them freezes them up abruptly). The third drive I formatted under Windows 10, and it‘s worked all right ever since.

Formatting them again under macOS isn’t possible as Disk Utility crashes in the process. Windows 10, on the other hand, does go through with the formatting, but the same error occurs regardless of the outcome (drives freeze up).

Any ideas as to how I could restore the drives to their factory defaults?

Many thanks in advance!
 

AppleSmack

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2010
232
73
It's easy to blame Disk Utility. However, the USB sticks didn't even work properly for you under Windows.

The biggest clue of where the problem lies is that the no-name USB sticks cost about 1.66eur each!
 
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Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
Captain Obvious to the rescue hehe. Thing is they do work if formatted under Windows. Did this for the third and last drive after breaking the other two in Disk Utility
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,687
2,895
Delaware
I have seen this recently on cheaper (read: generic) brand thumb drives. I use multiple USB drives, with multiple partitions, mostly for a variety of macOS system installers. The "bad" thumb drives just won't format with multiple partitions, and slow down dramatically - mostly unusable in anything other than a single data partition. That would often rule out using an APFS format, too. -- Just my experience - the cheap USB sticks tend to be sold as USB 2.0, and (in my experience) don't appear to like working on a USB 3.0 bus.
So, just my opinion, not really a Disk Utility issue, but a cheap USB stick that just barely works.
 
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Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
I have seen this recently on cheaper (read: generic) brand thumb drives. I use multiple USB drives, with multiple partitions, mostly for a variety of macOS system installers. The "bad" thumb drives just won't format with multiple partitions, and slow down dramatically - mostly unusable in anything other than a single data partition. That would often rule out using an APFS format, too. -- Just my experience - the cheap USB sticks tend to be sold as USB 2.0, and (in my experience) don't appear to like working on a USB 3.0 bus.
So, just my opinion, not really a Disk Utility issue, but a cheap USB stick that just barely works.

Again it magically works if formatted in exFAT under Windows (I selected FAT32 in Disk Utility)
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,687
2,895
Delaware
In Disk Utility, are you trying Mac OS Extended (journaled) - just one partition?
And - not APFS?

Have you tried to format either of those "broken" sticks in Windows?
 

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
7,324
4,584
Again it magically works if formatted in exFAT under Windows (I selected FAT32 in Disk Utility)
There is really nothing Disk Utility can do to "break" a drive. All it does is read and write.

You said, "Windows 10, on the other hand, does go through with the formatting, but the same error occurs regardless of the outcome (drives freeze up)." So do they freeze up under Windows or do they work? :confused:
 

Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
In Disk Utility, are you trying Mac OS Extended (journaled) - just one partition?
And - not APFS?

Have you tried to format either of those "broken" sticks in Windows?

Dudes are you even readin’ :D I formatted them using FAT. As for trying to re-format the broken drives under Windows - yes I have but:

‘Windows 10, on the other hand, does go through with the formatting, but the same error occurs regardless of the outcome (drives freeze up).’
 

Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
There is really nothing Disk Utility can do to "break" a drive. All it does is read and write.

You said, "Windows 10, on the other hand, does go through with the formatting, but the same error occurs regardless of the outcome (drives freeze up)." So do they freeze up under Windows or do they work? :confused:

The quoted passage refers to the drives already out of order. Trying to re-format them under Windows yields apparently clean drives which however do not work properly whereas Disk Utility simply crashes before the process is completed
 

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
7,324
4,584
Since EXFAT works, just format them to that and use them carefully. Don’t store anything important on them unless you have backup copies. I’d have serious doubts about the hardware.
 

Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
Since EXFAT works, just format them to that and use them carefully. Don’t store anything important on them unless you have backup copies. I’d have serious doubts about the hardware.

It does but I’d like to revive the faulty drive that was formatted with Disk Utility. I’m also rather curious as to what causes that
 

AppleSmack

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2010
232
73
Didn't you say that 2 of the drives format under Windows, yet still freeze up when you copy data to them? You've probably bought sticks marked as 64gb that actually are not.

Run a capacity test on all 3:

 

Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
Didn't you say that 2 of the drives format under Windows, yet still freeze up when you copy data to them? You've probably bought sticks marked as 64gb that actually are not.

Run a capacity test on all 3:


I merely said they freeze up even IF re-formatted under Windows after using Disk Utility. Those originally formatted under Windows or left untouched (factory-formatted) work all right with no capacity issues☝🏼
 

Illus1ve

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2017
17
0
Earth
There is no doubt about this.

Do you even read brotha? ;) Those originally formatted under Windows or left untouched (factory-formatted) work all right with no capacity issues or any other issues what-so-evah☝🏼 *They only break IF formatted by Disk Utility*
 

laptech

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2013
585
802
Earth
I think what people are not understanding is that if the OP uses disk utility first which causes the problem then tries re-formatting them in Windows, it causes the usb pens to freeze during use.

The 3rd pen drive the OP has not used on the mac, only in Windows and it has been working all the time.

So to clarify, the OP bought 3 pens:
Pen 1: Formatted with disk utility, does not work, re-formatted in windows, causes freeze up when in use
Pen 2: Formatted with disk utility, does not work, re-formatted in windows, causes freeze up when in use
Pen 3: Formatted in Windows only, works 100% of the time.

I've suffered the exact same problem. The company I work for bought non-branded 16GB usb pens so I could create bootable ASD pen drives. Once formatted in disk utility, none of them would work. They would not work in Windows either. The company went out an bought Kingston branded replacements, they all worked just fine.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,687
2,895
Delaware
I think what people are not understanding is that if the OP uses disk utility first which causes the problem then tries re-formatting them in Windows, it causes the usb pens to freeze during use.

The 3rd pen drive the OP has not used on the mac, only in Windows and it has been working all the time.

So to clarify, the OP bought 3 pens:
Pen 1: Formatted with disk utility, does not work, re-formatted in windows, causes freeze up when in use
Pen 2: Formatted with disk utility, does not work, re-formatted in windows, causes freeze up when in use
Pen 3: Formatted in Windows only, works 100% of the time.

I've suffered the exact same problem. The company I work for bought non-branded 16GB usb pens so I could create bootable ASD pen drives. Once formatted in disk utility, none of them would work. They would not work in Windows either. The company went out an bought Kingston branded replacements, they all worked just fine.
So (?), the answer is: stick with known name brands (?)

I used to erase thumb drives both before and after using, due to privacy concerns for customers. In my experience, a handful of erases/formats on any individual thumb drive results in noticeably slower response. Doesn't matter what method (or OS) is used for the reformat, the result is a drive that is not as fast as "new out of the package". "Name brands" tend to take the punishment of erasing better than the generic no-names. Maybe they are different specs, I don't know much about that. What I do know is what I see as time goes on: you don't use the generic thumb drives for anything important.
I think your experience will be a bit different on Windows, too, if you do a full format, not the "quick erase" that is the Windows default.
 
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Roxy.music

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2019
614
60
uk
I have seen this recently on cheaper (read: generic) brand thumb drives. I use multiple USB drives, with multiple partitions, mostly for a variety of macOS system installers. The "bad" thumb drives just won't format with multiple partitions, and slow down dramatically - mostly unusable in anything other than a single data partition. That would often rule out using an APFS format, too. -- Just my experience - the cheap USB sticks tend to be sold as USB 2.0, and (in my experience) don't appear to like working on a USB 3.0 bus.
So, just my opinion, not really a Disk Utility issue, but a cheap USB stick that just barely works.
The thing is even if you get a branded one they can still be dodgy especially on eBay and sometimes on Amazon. At the end of the day, you get what you pay, if it seems cheap chances are it is not the real thing . Even if it seems genuine. You can,t tell , tell you use it.
 
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