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When a Flash card is put in a Win PC using a USB reader/writer as the hardware interface, and the Win PC “windows explorer” of Microsoft is used to format the drive, the user is typically informed that formatting the drive will destroy all the information on the drive.

The question is, Has all the data on the drive been erased?  To answer this question, the following experiment was done. A USB flash drive was formatted with FAT16 on a Win PC running under Vista.

 

  1. A 100MB binary  image file was copied to the USB drive, in which all of the data in the file was “A5A5”.
  2.  The  USB drive was then formatted with FAT16 again and the warning message concerning the destruction of the data on the drive was observed.
  3. The USB drive was then put on an IMI duplicator and the data starting an absolute address of 10MB to 100MB was verified against the  pattern “A5A5”.  The verify cycle passed.

The conclusion one can draw from this experiment is that the formatting of Flash drives under Win PC’s does NOT by itself destroy the data on the drive.

For the user to be sure that the data on the Flash drive has at least been erased 100% for normal user of the drive, a method other than Formatting the drive on a Win PC must be used and IMI duplicators can be used

IMI Flash Card & USB duplicators have the ability to write either a fixed data pattern or an incremental test pattern to CF, SD, USB or SATA devices. The fixed pattern is always a fixed four byte hexadecimal value (eg. “A5A5 or “0000″). The incremental pattern is referred to as a “TR3″ pattern in which the data at a given address equals the 2 digit hex sum of all eight digits of the address, i.e data at hex address 0 is “00″, data at hex address 1 is “01″, data at hex address “0100″ is “01″ etc. Using these patterns, the user is capable of writing a test pattern over the entire drive that will allow the user to destroy the data on the card before reuse.

For users requiring a more rigorous erase, it is possible to write multiple fixed patterns to the device to be erased using IMI Duplicators.

Thus, IMI duplicators provide a fail safe method to clean, erase, wipe your used CF, SD, USB or SATA devices for reuse.

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