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PCstats Q & A - The Case of the Forgetful Drive - PCstats Q & A - The Case of the Forgetful Drive
Tue, February 15 2005 | 4:22PM | PermaLink Feedback?

Q: I recently purchased a 512MB Kingston USB key drive from a local store. It seems to work correctly when I plug it into my Windows 2000 laptop, and I can see the drive it creates (e:) and drag and drop data to it. When I remove the key and transport it to my office computer (using Windows XP) the data is gone! This has not happened every time, just often enough to make me want to use floppies again, since I can trust them. Should I return the key to the store? It was a retail package so I am afraid they will tell me to mail it off to the manufacturer.

A: The problem here is not your USB key, it's with the way that your Windows 2K laptop handles these devices. If you want to remove the USB key while your system is still powered on, you need to use the 'removable devices' icon in the taskbar to shut it down first. The reason for this is that your laptop does not actually copy the data onto the USB drive until you shut down the system or inform it that you are removing the drive. Instead, it logs the transaction in memory, so when you yank the key out without using the removable devices app, your data 'vanishes'. The reason why your USB key has worked occasionally is that you likely shut down the system while it was still plugged in, and Windows 2000 would copy the data onto the USB key as part of the shutdown procedure. Windows XP does not have this requirement, so you should not have any issues using your office system.

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