Beware of FAKE USB/SD Flash Drives #2

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How to check USB drive, or "flash card" memory such as CF, SD, MD, SM, SM RamCard, MS Pro, MS Duo, MS Pro Duo, MMC, and regardless of whether it's based on flash or a small hard disk.

My friend Mark has already written a useful guide on fake flash memory at

I would like to add how to check your memory you get to make sure it's okay.

1. If you cannot use it at all:
If you can't read the memory in a device and it's bigger than a unit you already have and use, it might be that the memory is too big for the device (eg camera) you are trying it with. Try it in a suitable reader before you make a complaint. (My own 1GB card won't work in my camera that supports up to 512MB).
2. How to check the capacity:
Fake cards can use various techniques to look genuine. To be sure, you need to follow some instructions:
a. Get some big files that are hard to compress (I personally use .mp3 files, but other sound and video files work well).
b. Copy these files to a subdirectory on the memory card using your computer and a flash card reader.
c. If you copy to the root of the drive, you might be limited to around 120 file entries, making it look like the card is smaller than it is, so make sure you copy to a subdirectory.
d. Select all the files on the flash card and see how much space Explorer thinks they take up. My results were:
Size         Stored    Utilisation Percentage
128MB   120MB         93.75
512MB   483MB         94.33
1024MB 954MB         93.16
e. Copy all the files back to your PC and check that the total size is unchanged.
f. Check the files are okay, eg by playing them back or comparing them to the originals.
If you get over 90 percent utilisation and the files are okay, then your card works properly and is less likely to be a fake.

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