Most of you use flash memory in the form of USB sticks, SD cards and CompactFlash cards. Unfortunately there isn’t any test you can run that will absolutely say whether a flash stick or card is going to fail, so you have to use common sense.
Here are 5 easy ways to tell if your flash-based memory is failing.
1. It does not recognize immediately when inserted into your computer
Using an SD card as an example, if you push or click it into the slot, and the OS doesn’t recognize it, but it does recognize if you try inserting it a few times, that’s a strong indicator the memory is starting to fail.
2. Lock-ups on attempt to format the media
This is easy enough to recognize. You go to format the media, and it simply doesn’t work, or like when you inserted the media, you had to do it a few times before the format actually went through.
3. Random disconnects even when media is inserted
If the card is in the slot and it just disappears, or if you have your USB stick in a hub and it disappears but you know the hub is good, the memory is going bad.
4. Files randomly corrupt themselves
You’ll normally see this happen with images more than anything else. You’ll load an image off the card/stick, and on load the image is random pixels missing or doesn’t display correctly for whatever reason. However you know the image did display correctly off the media before. This indicates file corruption.
5. File transfer speed slows way down
Near the end of its life span, flash memory does slow down significantly and you will notice it. It doesn’t matter how many times you format the media, because once flash decides it’s going to run slow, it will stay that way until it ultimately stops working completely.
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