Reader Ed Pilarczyk wrote to ask how to solve a strange problem with his flash drive:
I continue to use your information to hone my computer skill…But I’m stumped.
I have a Kingston 16 GB DataTraveler that I was going to use to manually back up off of my HD when I had a problem this summer with my OS. For some reason my old OS, Vista x64 went south (I now have Win 7 Home Prem). I could access the c: prompt, so I tried several commands…long story.
Anyhow, on the flash drive I now have a directory called backup, with several sub-directories like “user” and a couple others. lastly, there is a sub-directory called “applications.” Actually there is a long string (10-15) of these directories, one under the other. Each saying 0 bytes. The last one has H & S attributes.
FINALLY!! No matter what I do I can not delete any of the directories or sub-directories. I also can not change the attributes of the last “application” sub-directory. Out of 16 GB there appears to be only 700-800 megs available.
HELP!! What do I need to do to clear up that flash drive???
Thanks for all the info you share with us,
P.S. Happy New Year!
I wrote to Ed to tell him that he sould be able to solve the problem by reformatting his flash drive.
The procedure is pretty simple:
- Open My Computer or Windows Explorer
- Right-click on the flash drive, and
- select Format.
Most flash drives are formatted in FAT32, not NTFS, so that’s a good choice.
However, if you’re going to use it for backup, you’ll may lose some of the Windows file meta-data if you back up to FAT32 (assuming you’re backing up files and not making a backup image). Most of the time (e.g., normal data files), it won’t be a problem, but it could.
You can read more about NTFS here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS .
Ed quickly wrote back to say:
Thanks bunches for your help. I did not think about formatting…it did the trick.