Software Sunday EP7: Verify Flash Media With H2testw

IS IT REAL OR IS IT FAKE?

 

A couple weeks ago I accidentally bought a fake 32GB microSD card off eBay. Windows detected it as a 32GB card and I was even able to write 1GB worth of media to the drive without running into any issues. I published the review and immediately received feedback from my subscribers about how I forgot to verify the cards true capacity (don’t ask me why, that was just an off day). I immediately unlisted that review and continued my testing by attempting to write 27GB of video to the flash memory. After Windows encountered an error while trying to write the data I became suspicious about the validity of the advertised capacity. Several of my viewers suggested that I should use the flash memory testing program H2testW to get a final verdict regarding the legitimacy of the flash within the card. An hour later the results were in, the card was a fake. It was loaded with firmware which made it look like a 32GB card to Windows, in reality it was only a 4GB card.

H2testw cannot prevent this from happening to you, only you can prevent this from happening by not buying sketchy generic memory off eBay :p . However, it will allow you to test out memory and see if it’s real and then return it in a timely manner if it is not (many sellers will just refund you instead of dealing with your negative review and feedback). Of course testing for fake memory on a newly bought device is just one of many uses for this program. You can also test older memory to make sure it is still good before you put important data on it and you can use it to test memory that you suspect is beginning to go bad.

H2testw allows you to test the validity of internal flash memory across a wide variety of flash devices, Flash Drives, SD cards, and even SSDs are just a few examples. It is easy to use, free, and nearly always right when it comes to the final results. Even though it is using a slower, older, verification method I still prefer H2testw just because it is so easy to use.

Getting your hands on and running H2testw is a simple task. Download it from the Softpedia page (here) or get it directly from my archive (here). Currently there is only a Windows version and I did not have any success with getting it to work using WINE under Linux. Once you have downloaded the file, extract the program, run it, and select your language.

H2testW 1

Assuming the flash device you wish to test is already plugged in, we can now start testing. Right below the language selection section you will see a button labeled “select target”, you can’t miss it. Click on this icon and then select the drive you wish to test. H2testw’s testing method is not destructive so existing data on the drive being tested will not be erased but I would suggest formatting the drive prior to starting the testing process. You never know, something could go horribly wrong during testing. Additionally, freeing up the entire drive will allow you to validate all of the memory. Next you have the option to test all available space on the drive or you can select a specific capacity to test. As I stated earlier, I prefer to test the drives entire capacity. At the bottom right corner of the H2testw interface there is a check box labeled “endless verify”. This option will allow you to loop the verification process until you select to halt it. I do not use this feature for general testing but if you want to be extra sure that the flash is good letting the verification process run overnight is a great way to do so. You are almost done, now just click “write and verify” and the examination process will begin. Make a cup of tea and sit back, depending on your drive size and specifications this could take awhile.

Just a little side note: Sometimes after selecting “write and verify” you will get a warning stating “warning: testing only 7940MB while the capacity is 7941MB” (not this exact warning but something similar) do not worry, this is normal and can be ignored.

H2testW 2

While the program is running you will notice that it displays the current drive write speed, time remaining, and total data written to the drive. There are two possible results that could come back after the testing is done. The first one looks like this:

H2testW 3

Good results

This means the integrity of your drive is pristine and you are good to go. The second outcome is not so great and looks something like this:

Not so good results

Not so good results

This means that either your drive is fake or its internal flash is beginning to go bad, I would not recommend using a drive which returns these results.

If you need a cheap and easy way to test flash media then I would definitely recommend adding H2testw to your software arsenal.

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