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writing to write-protected usb key/thumb drive

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Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 7, 2005 10:15:19 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

Sorry if this is not the right place for this.

I got a cheap 8MB promotional USB key/thumb drive at a convention. It's
write-protected, so I can't add/delete/format it.

I realize it's only 8MB (I have a real 256MB thumb drive already), but
it just annoyed the heck out of me. I mean, if they could put the file
on, surely it can be writable (either thru software or hardware hack).
Is anyone familiar with these promotional usb keys and know if it can
be realistically written to?
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 7, 2005 10:41:46 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

Did you open it up, check for jumpers?

The name on the chip may help you find extra software.

<k9boy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1112922919.822977.29090@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> Sorry if this is not the right place for this.
>
> I got a cheap 8MB promotional USB key/thumb drive at a convention. It's
> write-protected, so I can't add/delete/format it.
>
> I realize it's only 8MB (I have a real 256MB thumb drive already), but
> it just annoyed the heck out of me. I mean, if they could put the file
> on, surely it can be writable (either thru software or hardware hack).
> Is anyone familiar with these promotional usb keys and know if it can
> be realistically written to?
>
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 8, 2005 3:18:38 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

k9boy@hotmail.com wrote:

> Sorry if this is not the right place for this.
>
> I got a cheap 8MB promotional USB key/thumb drive at a convention. It's
> write-protected, so I can't add/delete/format it.
>
> I realize it's only 8MB (I have a real 256MB thumb drive already), but
> it just annoyed the heck out of me. I mean, if they could put the file
> on, surely it can be writable (either thru software or hardware hack).
> Is anyone familiar with these promotional usb keys and know if it can
> be realistically written to?

Might be a mask-programmed ROM. Or they might have simply cut the
write-enable line.

You basically need to open it up, find out what chip is on it, pull the data
sheet, figure out how to write to the chip, if it is in fact
field-programmable at all, and then make whatever mods you need to make.

Of course they probably ground the markings off.

--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Related resources
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 8, 2005 12:38:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

In article <d34u0t019h7@news2.newsguy.com>,
J. Clarke <jclarke.usenet@snet.net.invalid> wrote:
>k9boy@hotmail.com wrote:
>
>> Sorry if this is not the right place for this.
>>
>> I got a cheap 8MB promotional USB key/thumb drive at a convention. It's
>> write-protected, so I can't add/delete/format it.
>>
>> I realize it's only 8MB (I have a real 256MB thumb drive already), but
>> it just annoyed the heck out of me. I mean, if they could put the file
>> on, surely it can be writable (either thru software or hardware hack).
>> Is anyone familiar with these promotional usb keys and know if it can
>> be realistically written to?
>
>Might be a mask-programmed ROM. Or they might have simply cut the
>write-enable line.
>
>You basically need to open it up, find out what chip is on it, pull the data
>sheet, figure out how to write to the chip, if it is in fact
>field-programmable at all, and then make whatever mods you need to make.
>
>Of course they probably ground the markings off.
>
>--
>--John
>to email, dial "usenet" and validate
>(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)


Are you on a w/98 system? AFAIK USB fobs need a software driver that
is standard in w2k and XP but requires setup on w/98. I have no idea
if that explains your symptoms.

--
a d y k e s @ p a n i x . c o m

Don't blame me. I voted for Gore.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 8, 2005 6:24:10 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

Previously k9boy@hotmail.com wrote:
> Sorry if this is not the right place for this.

> I got a cheap 8MB promotional USB key/thumb drive at a convention. It's
> write-protected, so I can't add/delete/format it.

> I realize it's only 8MB (I have a real 256MB thumb drive already), but
> it just annoyed the heck out of me. I mean, if they could put the file
> on, surely it can be writable (either thru software or hardware hack).
> Is anyone familiar with these promotional usb keys and know if it can
> be realistically written to?

Might be OTP (one-time programmable). The "hardware-hack" might
require tools you cannto afford.

Arno
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 8, 2005 11:26:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

Okay, so I cracked it open:

Large pics:
Front: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/pica.jpg
Back: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/picb.jpg

The memory is Samsung K9F6408U0C-TCB0 8MB x 8 bit NAND
http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/Flash/NAN...

The controller looks like it says Freedik PP220242, but I can't see it
clearly enough.

Based on the memory datasheet (page4), the WRITE ENABLE (WE) line is
the 4th from the alignment dot.

Well, that's all I know. I don't have the engineering background to
make sense of it though :-(. If anyone can make sense of it and doesn't
mind explaining it, I would greatly appreciate it. But don't bother
investing too much effort - like I said, it's only an 8MB stick... and
if it requires more than a old cheap radioshack soldering iron to do,
it's probably a lost cause anyway.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 9, 2005 1:50:44 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

On picb, at the very upper right corner, the trace looks cut.
If it is, try soldering a jumper over it.

Daniel Lang

<k9boy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1113013583.013175.221950@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> Okay, so I cracked it open:
>
> Large pics:
> Front: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/pica.jpg
> Back: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/picb.jpg
>
> The memory is Samsung K9F6408U0C-TCB0 8MB x 8 bit NAND
> http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/Flash/NAN...
>
> The controller looks like it says Freedik PP220242, but I can't see it
> clearly enough.
>
> Based on the memory datasheet (page4), the WRITE ENABLE (WE) line is
> the 4th from the alignment dot.
>
> Well, that's all I know. I don't have the engineering background to
> make sense of it though :-(. If anyone can make sense of it and doesn't
> mind explaining it, I would greatly appreciate it. But don't bother
> investing too much effort - like I said, it's only an 8MB stick... and
> if it requires more than a old cheap radioshack soldering iron to do,
> it's probably a lost cause anyway.
>
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 9, 2005 7:52:08 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

"Arno Wagner" <me@privacy.net> wrote in message
news:3bnigaF6kep7oU2@individual.net...
> Previously k9boy@hotmail.com wrote:
>> Sorry if this is not the right place for this.
>
>> I got a cheap 8MB promotional USB key/thumb drive at a convention. It's
>> write-protected, so I can't add/delete/format it.
>
>> I realize it's only 8MB (I have a real 256MB thumb drive already), but
>> it just annoyed the heck out of me. I mean, if they could put the file
>> on, surely it can be writable (either thru software or hardware hack).
>> Is anyone familiar with these promotional usb keys and know if it can
>> be realistically written to?
>
> Might be OTP (one-time programmable). The "hardware-hack" might
> require tools you cannto afford.

Rather unlikely anyone would have done it that way.

Its much more likely to be some simple kludge which prevents writes instead.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 9, 2005 4:57:15 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

<k9boy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1113013583.013175.221950@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...

> Okay, so I cracked it open:

I'd have you publicly flogged if you hadnt
enjoyed that so much the last time...

> Large pics:
> Front: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/pica.jpg
> Back: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/picb.jpg

Much too dark to be able to see much, try it again with better lighting.

> The memory is Samsung K9F6408U0C-TCB0 8MB x 8 bit NAND
> http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/Flash/NAN...

> The controller looks like it says Freedik PP220242,
> but I can't see it clearly enough.

> Based on the memory datasheet (page4), the WRITE
> ENABLE (WE) line is the 4th from the alignment dot.

> Well, that's all I know. I don't have the engineering background
> to make sense of it though :-(. If anyone can make sense of it
> and doesn't mind explaining it, I would greatly appreciate it.

Not possible to see from those very dark pics if a track has
been cut etc. Thats the most common way to make it read only.

That would likely be a track associated with that WE line.

> But don't bother investing too much effort - like I said, it's only an
> 8MB stick... and if it requires more than a old cheap radioshack
> soldering iron to do, it's probably a lost cause anyway.

That may be all you need if a track has been cut.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 9, 2005 5:09:21 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

"Rod Speed" <rod_speed@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3boukeF6k26mcU1@individual.net...
>
> <k9boy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1113013583.013175.221950@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>
>> Okay, so I cracked it open:
>
> I'd have you publicly flogged if you hadnt
> enjoyed that so much the last time...
>
>> Large pics:
>> Front: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/pica.jpg
>> Back: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/picb.jpg
>
> Much too dark to be able to see much, try it again with better lighting.
>
>> The memory is Samsung K9F6408U0C-TCB0 8MB x 8 bit NAND
>> http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/Flash/NAN...
>
>> The controller looks like it says Freedik PP220242,
>> but I can't see it clearly enough.
>
>> Based on the memory datasheet (page4), the WRITE
>> ENABLE (WE) line is the 4th from the alignment dot.
>
>> Well, that's all I know. I don't have the engineering background
>> to make sense of it though :-(. If anyone can make sense of it
>> and doesn't mind explaining it, I would greatly appreciate it.
>
> Not possible to see from those very dark pics if a track has
> been cut etc. Thats the most common way to make it read only.

> That would likely be a track associated with that WE line.

The blobs just off some of the legs of the controller look suspicious.

>> But don't bother investing too much effort - like I said, it's only an
>> 8MB stick... and if it requires more than a old cheap radioshack
>> soldering iron to do, it's probably a lost cause anyway.
>
> That may be all you need if a track has been cut.
>
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 9, 2005 6:43:01 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

Previously k9boy@hotmail.com wrote:
> Okay, so I cracked it open:

> Large pics:
> Front: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/pica.jpg
> Back: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/picb.jpg

Does not look like anything was done to the hardware
to write-protect it. Cutting a wire would also
requite a pull-up or pull-down resistor, since
this is CMOD and inputs float if uncinected.

> The memory is Samsung K9F6408U0C-TCB0 8MB x 8 bit NAND
> http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/Flash/NAN...

Does not look like this chip supports write-protecting it, except
under unstable power condition (i.e. only temporarily)

> The controller looks like it says Freedik PP220242, but I can't see it
> clearly enough.

If this thing is indeed write protected then it is a function of the
controller. Identifying the controller and getting its documentation
is the key in that case.

Arno
Anonymous
a b G Storage
April 10, 2005 8:32:30 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

Arno Wagner <me@privacy.net> wrote in
message news:3bq7vlF6imh21U1@individual.net...
> k9boy@hotmail.com wrote

>> Okay, so I cracked it open:

>> Large pics:
>> Front: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/pica.jpg
>> Back: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~tn282/usb/picb.jpg

> Does not look like anything was done to the hardware
> to write-protect it. Cutting a wire would also
> requite a pull-up or pull-down resistor, since
> this is CMOD and inputs float if uncinected.

Not if they dont care about bulletproof engineering.

>> The memory is Samsung K9F6408U0C-TCB0 8MB x 8 bit NAND
>> http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/Flash/NAN...

> Does not look like this chip supports write-protecting it,
> except under unstable power condition (i.e. only temporarily)

Oh bullshit, the WE is there for a reason.

>> The controller looks like it says Freedik PP220242,
>> but I can't see it clearly enough.

> If this thing is indeed write protected then it is a function of the
> controller.

Not if WE is disabled.

> Identifying the controller and getting
> its documentation is the key in that case.

Thats just one way of doing it.
August 31, 2010 3:37:37 AM

What is Write Protected error and why it happens?

In the Write Protected error, we can’t write or copy any data in our flash drives and even can’t format the drive.

There are many reasons that cause this problem, let’s see solutions of them.

Solutions:

• First of all try to locate a small switch (if any, that you may have not noticed) at some place on the drive or memory card reader. This is the prime reason for this error. If there is one, switch it to the other side to turn the protection off.

• Yes I know this problem is also occurring these days without this switch but not to worry. Just download this helpful software from here and run it to execute a “low-level format” on the drive. This software is quite handy and may take few attempts to actually remove the error.

• The problem can also be caused by some virus activity so just get it scanned by some updated good anti virus which may solve your problem.

• BUT if none of the methods listed above solves your problem then your pen drive might have gone corrupted, so just get it replaced.

Hope any of the methods listed above solves your problem.

Update 1:

After the low level format, you may need to “Partition the drive“. Dont worry, partitioning a pen drive means allocating it its File System and Cluster Size that was lost after the Low Level Format.

For that:

1. Run diskmgmt.msc in Run.
2. In the disk management window, select the pen drive, right click on it and click on Format.
3. Now choose the File System and Allocation Unit Size and do not check the boxes below.

Click OK and the drive will be reusable after this.

Update 2 (Better Solution):

Follow the steps in this post and just put the value 0 (zero) in step 5.

This will surely solve your problem now.

Update 3 (Solution Working):

Thanks to one of our readers Jim, who let us know about the tool called Neo 9, using which we can easily this write protection problem.
December 3, 2012 3:18:17 AM

;) 
I think it is very easy to make the promotional usb key writable.
1. come to usb.cc website to download the re-format tool 2.0
2. plug the promotional usb key to the computer
3. run the tool and format the usb key
4. re-plug the product
5. finished!
!