I recently had a Flash Voyager 8mb drive get to a state in which I could not use it or format it. The entire file directory was corrupted and the file names all were intermingled with what I can only describe as hieroglyphics. Sorry, I did not get a screen shot of it but, if you see it, you will know what I mean.
Also, I could not format the drive using any of the regular formatting methods. This made me think that not only was the file table corrupted, the Master Boot Record was corrupted and that the partition (and thus the entire drive) was unusable and unformattable. I tried a Windows based partition utility, a command line format, and Partition Magic in DOS. None of these worked.
As a last resort, I dug out the trusty old Windows98 boot floppy. This floppy utility has the Fdisk program and with it, I was able to revive my drive. For those of you unfamiliar with how to use Fdisk, here is a step by step tutorial. I hope this helps some people.
I used the WIN98 SE OEM image which I found at www.bootdisk.com
Lots of good utilities to be had there. You can also use a disk burning program to make a bootable CD with the Windows98 utility on it. If you do this, obviously, you'll need to set the system to boot from the CD first. However, I did mine with a floppy so we'll go with that.
Once you have extracted the image and made your floppy disk, you will need to enter your bios and make certain that your system will boot from the floppy disk. If your floppy is already first in your boot order, you can skip this step.
Save the settings, and reboot:
When WIN98 boots, you will have 3 options. In this case, select option 2 as you will not need CD-ROM support. If you are using a CD-ROM copy, use option # 1.
Once it boots, you will get an A: prompt. Type Fdisk and hit enter:
Your next 2 prompts are inquiries about disk size, enter (Y) for both:
Here, you will want to check and make sure the current fixed disk drive is your USB drive as most likely Fdisk will not detect your USB drive as # 1. So, select option # 5:
In my example, my 8gb Flash Voyager is disk #2, so I selected (2) and hit enter:
Your partition should show up, even if it is damaged. You'll want to select #3 to delete the existing partition:
You'll now want to select option # 1 to delete the primary DOS partition:
The next step is a verification of the proper partition. As I only had 1 partition, I selected (1):
Enter volume label is another verification step. Since mine has no label, I left this blank and hit enter:
And, the point of no return, ARE YOU SURE? I chose (Y):
Now that your drive has no partition information at all, you'll need to create a new DOS partition, option # 1:
And, option #1 again as you must have a primary partition first:
Once you make this choice, the program will verify the entire drive integrity and take you to the next menu:
The next option will ask if you want to use the entire drive capacity for the primary partition. I chose (Y) and the program again verifies the drive integrity:
Then, it again verifies the choice to use the maximum drive size and I chose (Y):
Once this is complete, if your drive is functioning properly, you will see a verification that your drive has a primary DOS partition and that it is using the entire drive space. You can now format your drive and use it again.