formatting memroy stick error  "error in IOCTL call"

Dan
Dan used Ask the Experts™
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I have a 32GB kingston data travler memory stick and since my PC froze up on my yesterday, I just pulled out the memory stick.  Well, since then, the PC doesn't recogonize the drive anymore, when I plug in my memory stick, I get the following message "you need to format the disk in drive F: before you can use it.
When I select format disk,  I get the following error "windows can't format F, check to see that the disk and drive are connected properly, make sure that the disk is not read only and try again."

Then when I try to go to disk management to format it there, it won't even give me the option to format it, it doesn't see it there.

Then when I try to format it in the cmd prompt, I get the following error message:
"error in IOCTL call"

Does anyone know what I can do to format it?  I would prefer to get my data first if possible, so I don't want to format it, but if I have no choice, that is my last option, but it looks like I can't even do that.
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Commented:
I would try Ubuntu to recover the data and access the thumb drive.

I've run into this in the past, and usually can reach my data and format (if needed) from Ubuntu.

Are you familar with Ubunut?
DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
So why doesn't it work with windows? I have windows 7 and it's worked fine until now.  I just was impatient and pulled out the memroy stick I guess as it was writting data to it.

So can I use ubuntu on a CD and boot from CD?  Why would I want to install ubunutu, how is that going to fix it?  What would I do if I install ubunutu?

Commented:
Yes, you'd make a LiveCD of Ubuntu because by doing so you can test if you can access the device by bypassing your OS and without making changes to the OS.

You may have a corrupt file.  

And here is a discussion with the same error you reported:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/256991-32-error-ioctl-call-drive
Which offers the solution to format the device...your last resort.

Ubuntu may offer you the opportunity to reach your files/backup and then format the device.

Here is another tool you consider to use to reach your data:
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk

DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the links, I already looked at the toms hardware page, but it didn't help.

I will try installing the testdisk and see if that does anything, then I will try ubuntu tomorrow.
DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
test disk didn't even recognize my memory stick, it only gave me an option to recover from my 2 hard drives.

Commented:
I hadn't tested testdisk, just found it while looking for a couple different options for you...depending on how easily you though it would be to try Ubuntu (or even a recovery disk like http://www.ubcd4win.com/ or such).

I will take a look at the test disk app tomorrow if I can squeeze it in between apointments.  There may be an add-on for it to read external media.
Robert RComputer Service Technician

Commented:
I would test the memory stick in another computer to see if it has problems reading the device as well, then you can use a recovery disk tool such as mentioned above.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
i would test the stick on another pc first  -- not e that it can be bad
But as said, you can test it from a live CD - personally i use Knoppix for that, but ubuntu is also OK
Why?  another OS and drivers
you can also try this : (has helped me in the past)
http://www.handyrecovery.com/            handy recovery
http://drivers.softpedia.com/get/Other-DRIVERS-TOOLS/Others/Sony-EzRecover.shtml                EZrecover
http://www.snapfiles.com/download/dlsmartrecovery.html                  usb key recovery FREE
Commented:
I think your only chance is trying to get the stick manufacturer format utility...

DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
I tried another PC, same problem. I have already emailed the manufacturer, so I'm waiting for a response from them.

I am downloading ubuntu now and will try that.  I will also try those other tools as well.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
then it looks like a bad flash stick to me
DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
it did work fine before, like I said, I pulled it out as it was writing data to it.
So I'm just looking to format it again so I can still use it, as it's 32GB.
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
that is what you think - but did you try all 3 softwares i linked to ?
i'm not so sure it is not damaged

Commented:
It is not uncommon that thumb drive media (or the like) fail..and after very short use.  They are very handy for transporting data, but never recommended as (at least I never will) storage for critical data...thumb drives are recommended backed-up.   Ok, this doesn't help you with the solve, but mentioning it just the same to share with you that within the industry, it is not unusual for a thumb drive to die.

Knoppix is a good Live CD OS to use as well, I tend to use Ubuntu...as mentioned, it doesn't matter.  A non-Windows OS will need to load different drivers and will possibly allow you to access your device (if the device is not damaged).

And your first priority was trying to get to the data correct?
Then second, if the device is good, you then wanted to format it.

So, I'd try some LiveCD, recover data if possible, if not...It may be a replacement is needed.  How old is the device?  Perhaps there is a MFG warranty left on it?
DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
The thumb drive is 2 years old, no warrenty left.  I will try those tools as soon as I get a chance.

Commented:
I do not understand people recomending linuxes like if they were magic tools...
ask the manufacturer and that's it.. nothing else to prove...
DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
I used handy recovery tool, and it said "no valid supported file system present on the volume"

"WARNING: Bad sector at: 0x0017015000000000"

So not sure how to fix that.
DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
I tried the PCI recovery and that won't work either.  

Commented:
ok..
flash memory sticks have a microcontroller inside taking care of the flash wear leveling and the naturally developed bad sectors on a flash arrangement... this is achieved by a complex error detection/recovery system and sector usage control.
This of course is a dynamic metadata structure that evolves with the use of your pen, when you unplugged your pen drive under a transfer condition the whole structure got damaged... and there's no one able to see anything but terrible things from your pen... (bad sectors, IO Errors, etc etc).
Your only chance is your manufacturer format utility that is the one that can try a "low level" format where those low level metadata structures are recreated, if you cannot get that utility consider sending your unit to the factory for a low level format...

I've been trying to avoid the long explanation but probably now you can believe me about what’s the best option for your drive....

Commented:
@pmasotta:

Linux and linux-type OSs are not the cureall, but they do permit technicians tools to use diagnostics on devices, file structures and the like on a limited sized footprint (i.e. it can fit on a CD) and yet run a full OS and network connection to  TEST stuff...for not a ton or expense.  

They are quick to use and easy (in most cases) to use and you may also contact the MFG of a product, but frequently are waiting for support replies or are charged support call fees, when all one needed to find out is "Does this thing work?"

And depending on one's experience (personally, I have over 30 years in IT) there is a generally a benefit from looking at a problem with different glasses on (i.e. a different OS...and one that is not bloated with unnecessary services which may prevent a device from functioning).

The OP inquired if there was a way to reach his data, and options were provided.  A format would be considered by the OP if options to save data were unavailable or unsucessful.

There is no harm in contacting the MFG, however, when folks make their clients happy based on an hourly basis, they don't tend to appreciate paying you for 'waiting' for the MFG to respond...and frequently a good technician may solve the problem (by their experience) quickly and get the client back up and running.

I'm sure the OP found your explanation useful though too, however, I can only speak for myself regarding my answer, I offered him a path of what I'd try before giving up.   Others posted commentary, I suspect based on their experiences.
DanNetwork Engineer

Author

Commented:
Since Kingston has a 5 year warrenty, they will replace it for free.  I am sending it back and they will ship me a new one.

Commented:
And as inexpensive as flash drives are today (considering this one is two years old)

A new one may be in order.
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_fix_bad_sectors_on_a_flash_drive.html

Commented:
@Plantwiz
if you read my explanation you can understand why your approach is not really applicable on this case....
when the metadata is broken only the manufacturer can fix it. that's it.

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