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I bought a 256GB USB stick for only $5 on eBay.

I know:

What could possible overwrite your sense of "hey wait a minute" as a technology person would make you think you could buy a 256GB flash drive for $5

I was asked many times already. However, I went ahead and ordered the item anyway and after shipping I really received it.

I tested the drive to see if this was too good to be true by copying 256GB of data back and forth - I could then see if this USB drive really has the 256GB it should have.

Of course, it did not. After writing more than 4GB of data I got this message:

enter image description here

I know I've been fooled (deliberately), but how was this done?

How can I test the drive and see what they really sold me and how they pumped it up to 256GB?

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and he has 100% feedback – sealz Sep 30 '11 at 11:14
Big hint: Return policy: Yes, of cause!. Not to mention only 2 feedback. – Belmin Fernandez Sep 30 '11 at 11:56
the person whom you quoted that from must be really awesome :D – Eonasdan Sep 30 '11 at 12:29
If it sounds too good to be true.. – jberger Sep 30 '11 at 15:03
up vote 25 down vote accepted

Its been known to happen - most likely the drive has modified firmware or a modified fat table showing the wrong size. I'd image the drive for fun, then wipe the drive and reformat to get its actual size -if its that, its the fat table. Else it may be firmware

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Editing the FAT table is (relatively) easy to do and requires no equipment apart from a Linux PC with a USB port. – skolima Sep 30 '11 at 14:18
@skolima: s/Linux/Hex editor/g – Tom Wijsman Sep 30 '11 at 19:14
You could probably use a Hex editor like HxD for Windows to edit the FAT table as well. Oh boy! I know what I'm doing tonight. – Phil Sep 30 '11 at 21:16

Simple Checklist:

  1. Device listed on eBay

  2. Price is too good to be true

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How does this answer "how was it done"? – detly Oct 1 '11 at 16:30

Pry it open, read the chip number, and look it up.

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I'm not sure if this is a good solution, if you want a refund (and to hassle the scammer). – dr jimbob Sep 30 '11 at 17:50

You could do this by having a particular sized disc, and formatting it to whatever you want the flashdrive to show. Then copy the first 512bytes with dd from the hard drive to the USB. The USB should report being huge now! D: I'll try it later.

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If the drive is formatted to FAT32, then the largest size for a single file is (about) 4GB. Try reformatting it to a different file system, like NTFS.

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Take a look at this link. I haven't tried it myself but they say it works.

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