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What should be the criteria for declaring a usb thumb drive non-functional/faulty? I'm talking specifically about the typically inexpensive (though sometimes more expensive) USB storage devices. Should it be "Windows asks you to format it when you insert it", or ...

Some might answer this question by taking the criteria drive-device manufacturers ask be filled before they warranty a replacement, although this might be a less strict definition of "dead". A definite and I think good answer to this question would be more in the form of "It is dead when it is no longer reparable by software, and that happens when x is the case." What is x?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by davidgo, Karan, gronostaj, Sathya Jul 4 '13 at 11:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

When you've spent more time trying to revive it that it's worth. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 3 '13 at 3:09

A USB drive should be declared "dead" when either the drive's physical connection has failed (e.g. a broken connection on the plug) or when the device can no longer be consistently read from and written to without errors (e.g. failing flash media).

Be aware that a drive can be "dead" ("no longer reparable by software") and then repaired by hand. For instance, if I own a flash drive and manage to snap off the USB plug from overuse, I can solder it back together if the only damage is to the connection (not to the PCB inside the drive).

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Remember, however, that the definition of "dead" can get fuzzy depending on who you are talking to. – WindowsEscapist Jul 2 '13 at 23:48

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