Pen / Flash Drive showing Less Memory [Troubleshoot]


Sometimes the pen drives or flash drives show less memory than their original capacity. I recently saw a 512 MB pen drive which shows a total memory of 495 MB. Where is the rest of the memory on the drive? Is there a fault with the pen drive? Here are the answers..

This is not a malfunction. A certain amount of memory is always taken up by the file allocation table. This is normal for any memory storage device. When the drive is formatted for the first time, a File Allocation Table (or a FAT) is created. The FAT stores the locations of each file stored in the drive. The FAT takes up very little space on the drive by default. All USB flash memory devices use the FAT32 type of partition.

In addition, most pen drives are preinstalled with software that allows you to carry sensitive data in an encrypted format and back up data. The preinstalled software on your drive is usually installed in a separate partition. This causes the total available space on the drive to reduce further but not by much.

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October 6, 2009 by: Prasanth Chandra

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