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So, here's the scenario:

I have a backup of a USB drive on my Ubuntu machine. I also have openssh installed, and I was copying files from the backups over the network using FileZilla on Windows since for some reason Ubuntu was giving I/O errors when copying with rsync. I went away, and when I came back my Windows machine was acting bizzare saying to insert a disk into the drive where the flash drive was stored, so I knew something was wrong. Luckily I have backups of the USB drive, as I mentioned earlier. Two of my USB drives are doing this, one is a PNY 128GB USB 3.0 flash drive, and the other is a Lexar 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive. Neither Windows or Linux will let me format the drives.

If I format the flash drives in linux using the Disks application, I get this error:

Drive A (PNY Flash Drive)

Error creating file system: Command-line `parted --script "/dev/sde" mktable msdos' exited with non-zero exit status 1: Warning: Error fsyncing/closing /dev/sde: Remote I/O error Error: Input/output error during read on /dev/sde Error: Input/output error during read on /dev/sde Error: Input/output error during write on /dev/sde Warning: Error fsyncing/closing /dev/sde: Remote I/O error (udisks-error-quark, 0)

Drive B (Lexar Flash Drive)

Error creating file system: Command-line `parted --script "/dev/sdd" mktable msdos' exited with non-zero exit status 1: Error: Input/output error during read on /dev/sdd Error: Input/output error during read on /dev/sdd Error: Input/output error during write on /dev/sdd (udisks-error-quark, 0)

In Linux disk management, drive a (PNY) shows up as 136 GB Unknown while drive b (Lexar) shows up as 64 GB Unknown. When running fdisk -l the drives don't show up. Both drives were formatted as NTFS with an MBR partition table when this happened. SMART Data is not avalible for either drive, and there is no physical damage to them.

  • I would guess they're dead. Can you try them on another machine? Can you overwrite them with zeroes? sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/YOUR_USB_DRIVE bs=4096 is the command to zero out a drive, just replace YOUR_USB_DRIVE with the correct name, e.g. sde. If you chose the wrong name here, the command will overwrite whatever you told it (e.g. your hard disk), so be careful! – Byte Commander Mar 4 '16 at 14:03
  • dd gives me an I/O error when trying to write to them. I've also tried them on two machines. – user245115 Mar 4 '16 at 14:07
  • When even dd is unable to write the disk, it's probably dead or somehow write protected. I think the message would be different then however. Are there any hardware switches for read-only? And can you try to read from the device using dd? sudo dd if=/dev/YOUR_USB_DRIVE of=/dev/null bs=4096 – Byte Commander Mar 4 '16 at 14:12
  • @ByteCommander There are no hardware switches on the drives for read only. However, there is an access LED that flashes once when plugged in, but when attempting to write to the disk it seems DD is refusing as it doesn't light up at all. I think reading from the disk also results in I/O errors although the disk's information shows up in the disk management application. – user245115 Mar 9 '16 at 13:28
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is about a hardware problem that cannot be solved by software. – Fabby Mar 9 '16 at 22:30

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