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Thread: Flash drive virus protection

  1. #21
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Hi GPF,

    Your theory is absolutely correct. In many cases all I do is boot to the CD and run the fixmbr command. However, that only works for Windows on a regular hard drive. It doesn't matter if it is external with a USB connection, it is still a regular drive and Windows looks on it as being one.

    Flash drives and cards work differently, and are looked upon as such by Windows. There is a reserved part of the drive or card where it stores its firmware and equivalent of an MBR.

    So, if you corrupt this part, Windows does not recognise it and you cannot gain access to fix it. A similar situation would occur if you screwed up the firmware part of your regular hard drive or optical drive. Windows can't fix it because you are in the drive manufacturer's territory. [Reminds me of the old Trade Union disputes over demarcation lines ]. In fact, Windows won't even see it.

    Another example is when you stiff the BIOS on your motherboard. Basically the machine won't boot unless you replace the BIOS chip. OK that is for us mere mortals, I am sure that the OEMs have the kit to re-flash it in situ.

    I believe that the same goes for flash sticks and cards. Part of the firmware/software is installed at the factory, and cannot be accessed by normal means. You would need a device that would effectively see the stick or card as a blank, and literally blitz the firmware over the top of it.

    I am sure that you can buy this equipment, but I am equally sure that it will be very expensive, so I have never bothered to look.

    The bottom line is that when that part of your flash memory gets corrupted, your system cannot see the device so you cannot access it to do a repair.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Hmmm interesting indeed. Thanks for the insight.
    Dain Bramaged

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