Question Any way to know how many TBW has been and remains on USB flash?

abdulbadii

Member
Aug 10, 2017
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Is there a way to know how many TBW has been used and its complement i.e. The product max TBW substracted by that, meaning TBW remains left on USB flash?
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,639
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Unfortunately, consumer USB flash drives, to my knowledge, do not support SMART commands. So the only conceivable way that I could see to get that information, would be with a mfg's "factory tool" program, to interrogate the flash drive's controller chip, using mfg vendor-specific commands.

Edit: I suppose that a flash drive that supported the more-advanced UASP protocol, might support SCSI's equivalent of SMART data, but as I said, I doubt that standard traditional "Mass Storage Device Class" USB flash drives support reading that info without mfg's tools.
 
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NewMaxx

Senior member
Aug 11, 2007
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There are some tools that will pull the flash ID from USB drives although whether this information is useful or not depends. USB flash in general tends to be inferior though, unless you have older drives. I have 128MB one with SLC that's still kicking.
 

igor_kavinski

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Jul 27, 2020
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With flash drive sizes increasing, no one wants to lose 100GB+ data all of a sudden due to media wear out. There must be a tool out there that queries the controllers of the most popular USB flash drives and returns the estimated remaining life. Suggestions?
 

Soulkeeper

Diamond Member
Nov 23, 2001
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Some filesystems, like ext4, will record "Lifetime writes". As long as you keep the same filesystem and don't delete it, then you'll have a record of this. Without a smart log attribute, this is the best you can do.
 
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igor_kavinski

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Jul 27, 2020
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Found this useful article about the technical aspects of UFD inner workings: https://www.usbmakers.com/how-many-times-can-i-reuse-my-usb-flash-drive/

So there's an opportunity for someone to come up with an application that fills a USB drive with an image file, automatically mounts it upon USB flash drive insertion into USB port and then keeps track of how much data is being written to the drive over its lifetime and gives a rough life remaining estimate based on typical QLC write-erase cycles.
 
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thecoolnessrune

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2005
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With flash drive sizes increasing, no one wants to lose 100GB+ data all of a sudden due to media wear out. There must be a tool out there that queries the controllers of the most popular USB flash drives and returns the estimated remaining life. Suggestions?
Flash drives are not resilient enough for high data integrity, because a flash drive’s primary purpose is to Copy Data that already exists. You should have a backup of any data deemed important enough.

My suggestion if USB is required but knowing the state of the disk is also important, is to use one of the many USB -> SATA bridge enclosures and install an M.2 or 2.5” SATA SSD into it. Sometimes you can get lucky and get a tool that can read the SMART information of it over USB. OTherwise, you still have the option of pulling the disk from the enclosure and checking it yourself from time to time.
 

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