Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Technomoment 3

Don't you wonder what you ever did before memory sticks? Floppy disks, burning stuff to CD, what a pain that all was. Memory sticks, or as Alexander Downer once called them in a lovely malapropism, message sticks, make life so much easier.

They can be a bit tricky though, as I'm sure all users know. Some computers just don't want to read some sticks, so sometimes if your life depends on some file or other, you take two sticks, or you copy the file somewhere on a wiki or the web for easy access.

Another pitfall I encountered is that you can indeed cram too much on them. My first, beloved stick seized up on me a while ago. It said it had something like 35 MB left on it (a 128 MB drive) which in the olden days would have seemed an ENORMOUS amount of space. But it wouldn't do anything.

Nothing could be deleted (using Windows XP.) Nothing would copy, or open. It wouldn't format using Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Disk Management either.

Back to native DOS then. (OK you youngsters, you can call it the Command Prompt if you must). Yup, I could see the files there. Try the dreaded format *.* command. (yes, I've done that with dire effect years ago.) Are you sure Y/N? Yes, I was sure. Nope, DOS wasn't sure at all, and told me it couldn't be dismounted or formatted or anything.

Hmmm. A long time went by, and I forgot about it until today. I thought the only source of a file I needed was THAT stick. So I mucked around again. Tried formatting again. Sigh!

Then I thought - if the problem is that the disk is too full, and I can't delete anything off it using Windows, perhaps I can delete some of the files using DOS. Would it work? Yes indeed, it did work. I deleted files manually until I had more room, then tried it in Windows. Hooray! Everything was just fine. Now why didn't I think of that before?

So just be aware out there, if you stuff too much on your stick, it will seize up on you, but there is a way out.

No, the file I was looking for was not on the stick. Sigh!

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