Beware of 32GB, 64GB flash drives sold near railway stations

Street vendors across Mumbai are selling 32GB and 64GB USB flash drives dirt cheap. Are these flash drives genuine and do they have the capacity claimed in the package?

Lately, there has been an upsurge in the number of vendors selling 32GB and 64GB USB flash/pen drives near railway stations in Mumbai. Since they sell it for as low as Rs150 to Rs300, many a time, people, including IT professionals, tend to buy it. However, most of these pen drives are fake. Genuine, standard and branded 2GB flash drives cost Rs300, 4GB Rs400 while 16GB flash drives are available for over Rs1,400.

There are two points, you must consider before even thinking about buying a pen/flash drive from a street vendor. One, why would anyone sell it for such a low price, and what about its warranty? Second, it is not easy to test the quality and capacity of these products, especially when you're in a crowded street. Here are some points to identify these fake USB flash drives.

1. Mostly, the fake USB flash drives on sale in Mumbai are supposed to be manufactured by JetFlash. However, JetFlash has a separate mechanism to label its flash drives according to its size. Genuine flash drives from JetFlash is marked with different colours (see the image). In the accompanying image, the USB flash drive with 1GB capacity is marked with a light blue strip while the 2GB drive is marked in orange. Similarly, 4GB, 8GB and 16GB flash drives are marked in green, violet and pink, respectively. The fake flash drives sold near railway stations often carry a green strip, meaning their real capacity is 4GB and not 32GB or 64GB, as mentioned by the vendor.

2. When buyers complain about flash memory items not being usable at their advertised capacity or about dubious information, these street vendors are very good at conning buyers into believing the items sold were faulty or defective. This is not the case.

3. When someone plugs a fake USB flash drive into a PC or laptop, he often discovers that its capacity is not what is claimed by the vendor or found on the packaging. These flash memory chips are digitally altered using low-level formatting tools, mostly in FAT16 format. This was the disk format used by Microsoft for its Windows 95 and earlier versions. What's shocking is that FAT16 does not even support more than 2GB, while the fake USB flash drive shows '32GB' or '64GB' on the package.

4. How can one test the genuineness as well as the actual capacity of a fake flash drive. There is a small software available, called H2testw (
&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=2&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DH2testw%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG ). The software comes in a zipped format. You need to unzip the files and run the program. There is no need to install it on your PC or laptop. H2testw does a write and verify test on the selected drive and provides the results in a simple-to-understand text file. For a fake 64GB USB flash drive, the software displays the following message: 'The media is likely to be defective'
3.8 GByte OK (8084847 sectors)
58.6 GByte DATA LOST (122921617 sectors)
Details:710.5 KByte overwritten (1421 sectors)
7.6 MByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 15630 sectors)
58.6 byte corrupted (122904566 sectors)
710.5 KByte aliased memory (1421 sectors)
First error at offset: 0x000000003cef8470
Expected: 0xeb7ac43a237c5170
Found: 0xeb7a843a237c5170
H2testw version 1.3
Writing speed: 9.24 MByte/s
Reading speed: 10.8 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

The '3.8 Gbyte OK' message means that the capacity of this fake USB flash drive is 4GB. The second line (58.6 GByte DATA LOST) tells you about the claimed capacity that does not exist on the drive. This means that the fake 64GB flash drive has a capacity of only 4GB.

We hope this article helps in identifying fake USB flash drives. It is always a better option to buy such products from a reputed vendor who provides a bill of receipt. 




6 years ago

Thanks for cautioning the buyers with a wonderful and informative article.

You guys are excellent in spreading awareness amongst people, be it in the field of Finance, IT, Auto and many more field. Keep up the good work.

Paulson Paul C

6 years ago

One of my friend baught five such pen drives from one street vendor. Since he had a laptop with him, he tested one of the pieces by copying large chunks of files. Being satisfied after seeing all the copied files on the drive he baught them. But after reaching home he checked again and was shocked to find that only the file icons were copied, not the actual files.

Fortnightly Market View: Still Cloudy

Markets are headed higher but buy only on declines

Another fortnight is over and the short-term top of 15th April has not been scaled as yet. But is a trend change at hand? Two weeks ago, I had suggested that “if the US goes down by 10%-15%, India will not stand tall; it will go down too, quite sharply as we have repeatedly seen. The US market seems to be headed down again at the time of writing.” However, the Indian outperformance continued.

The US market and the Chinese market did go down last fortnight but the Indian market hardly budged. Indeed, it has traded in a very tight range over the past three weeks and is now about to head higher. The Sensex had hit a high of 17,919 on 21st June. It hit a low of 17,373 on 30th June and closed this week at 17,833. Investments by foreign institutional investors have been robust; although, as the market has headed higher, their net investments have come down to modest levels.

Last fortnight, we had said that the Indian market was reaching a high of its very short-term cycle. The market immediately declined and then stabilised. A new short-term global rally has started and the market is headed higher. There is a likelihood that the short-term high would now be around 18,300 on the Sensex. If it crosses that, we are in for a major extended rally driven by global liquidity that would defy all logic. On the downside, the lines on the sand for the bulls to defend are at 17,300 and then 16,500 on the Sensex.

One of the reasons for the market heading higher is that the global markets have stabilised now after the savage fall of May and June. The Chinese market had declined 26% and the US market by 16%. Their recent stability has boosted all markets around the world. But note that neither of these two major markets (US and China) is back on a long-term uptrend. They may decline again in a month and a fresh, more serious, downturn will start in India as well. We are sticking to our view that the Indian market is, ultimately, not insulated from the rest of the world.

The trend of global markets will depend on where the US economy and markets are headed. Here is an important indicator. According to The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, which has a very good record of forecasting business cycles, economic growth fell to the lowest since July 2009, indicating that the economy will continue to slow. Its Weekly Leading Index fell to 121.5, the lowest level since July 24, 2009 (120.3).

We expect that after a brief rally that is currently under way, global markets would swoon. Hence, to participate in the current upmove, buy the declines, not the momentum and run for the exit fast.

Beginning this issue, we are putting out only medium-term and long-term forecasts. Short-term forecasts will be available in our daily market coverage on our website. This is because the market has been highly volatile in shorter-time horizon and, by the time you receive the magazine, a short-term trend change would have already happened.


Weekly Market View: Headed Higher

The market is climbing a wall of worry. Watch 18,300 on the Sensex

The domestic market ended the week with a gain on positive global sentiments. Although the week stared with a subdued performance on the bourses weighed by the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the opposition parties; the market staged a sharp recovery the very next day. After settling lower on Wednesday, it posted huge gains on the last two days of the week. Finally, the Sensex and Nifty closed 2% higher on a weekly basis

The top Sensex gainers were Bharti Airtel (up 16%), Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) (up 6%), Infosys Technologies, DLF and HDFC Bank (up 5% each. The top losers included ACC, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) (down 3% each), Reliance Infrastructure (R-Infra), NTPC and Jaiprakash Associates (down 2% each).

In the sectoral space on the BSE, the teck index gained 6% and consumer durables surged 5% while the oil & gas index shed 1%.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last Friday (2nd July) raised interest rates earlier than expected, ahead of its 27th July policy review and days after the government freed fuel prices. Analysts expect another 25 basis points (bps) hike on 27th July, on concerns over inflation hovering above the 10% levels.

The finance ministry said that direct tax collections rose an annual 15.5% to Rs686.8 billion in the April-June period. Corporate taxes during the period rose 21.65% on the year to Rs434.4 billion.

US president Barak Obama said that the country is expected to double exports over the next five years. The White House Council of Economic Advisers estimates that rising US exports have added more than one percentage point to US growth in the last nine months.

China has tried to clear doubts over concerns on whether it will dump its huge stock of US bonds, stating that any increase or decrease in the holding of US bonds is a normal investment operation. China held $900.20 billion in US Treasuries at the end of April, according to US Treasury data released on 15th June.

In its latest analysis of the global manufacturing competitiveness index, Deloitte said that Asian giants China, India and South Korea led the current competitiveness index and were expected to retain their top three rankings over the next five years. In contrast, the dominant manufacturing superpowers of the late 20th century are expected to become less competitive. Other Western European nations will be similarly challenged, especially the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy and Belgium.

India's annual food inflation eased to 12.63% for the week ended 26th June from 12.92% in the previous week, but fuel inflation shot up to 18.02% after the hike in rates of petroleum products. Fuel inflation for the week under review rose sharply to 18.02% (from 12.90% in the previous week) after the impact of the fuel price hike. Prices of petrol and diesel were raised by up to Rs3.50 a litre, while that of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene were hiked by Rs35 per cylinder and Rs3 a litre respectively.

Industrial output is forecast to grow at 16% in May this year from a year earlier, lower than the annual growth of 17.6% in April.

India's car sales may go up by 12%-13% in 2010-11 to 1.7 million units as estimated by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). In June this year, 1,41,184 cars were sold compared with 107,948 units a year ago, lower than the record 1,48,481 units sold in May. Sales of trucks and buses rose 44% to 52,211 units in June, while motorcycle sales rose by 30% to 715,985 units.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Wednesday relaxed the exposure margin requirement for stock derivatives, based on the feedback received from market participants.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet dismissed the idea that the cost-cutting measures taken by the governments in various EU nations would bring about recession.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday raised its world output forecast for 2010, citing solid growth in the first half, especially in Asia. However, it expressed its concern over the downside risks flowing from Europe. The IMF revised its 2010 world gross domestic product (GDP) forecast to 4.6%, up from a previous forecast in April of 4.2%. The 2011 GDP forecast was unchanged at 4.3%. The multilateral lender also raised India's growth forecast for 2010 to 9.5%, stating that favourable financing conditions and robust corporate profits will accelerate economic expansion. It expects India's economy to grow 8.5% in 2011. South Korea's central bank raised its key interest rate from a record low amid prospects for growth in the country's economy.

Initial claims on State unemployment benefits dropped 21,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 454,000 in the week ended 3rd July, the lowest level since early May, the US Labor Department said.

India said that it will be committed to the Doha round of global trade talks and does not believe that bilateral and regional trade deals will affect the multilateral process. Trade minister Anand Sharma opined that an acceptable global trade agenda was the need of the hour for economic recovery.



Shantilal Hajeri

6 years ago

Good compilation

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