My antiquated system's specs:
op sys = Windows Nt 4.0
hdd = 2GB
two USB ports
I'm using a shareware USB driver
Because the ports are at the back of the computer and are difficult to reach I use two cables purchased from the dollar store. The cables are around five years old. I've been using the shareware USB driver for around five years. No major problems until now.
I use many thumb drives on cable & port #1. My backup thumb drive is on cable & port #2.
I have a tempermental 4GB flash drive that I use for copying files from other computers. The flash drive is actually larger but I formatted it to maximum capacity for my system. This flash drive is now corrupt. Cross-linking, single files being listed multiple times in the same directory, illegal entries, files of impossible sizes and cluster locations (e.g. cluster 452,621,515,971 on a FAT 16 flash drive). Files named USBCB now appear in my directories. According to a reliable disk editor program, files are now marked as volumes.
So I tried saving the good files to another flash drive. Can't remember which cable I put each on. (By this point, I had unhooked my document backup thumb drive. It's still unhooked and will remain unhooked until I figure this out.)
Now the other flash drive became corrupt. Oddly, it was older files and directories got damaged. The copied-over files were fine.
At first I thought virus, but there were no usual tell-tale signs. Moreover my hdd is fine. I rebooted it several times over and no problems. I even copied several files from the tempermental corrupted flash drive onto my hdd without problems. My backup thumb drive is okay - I tested it every which way and it's okay. I unhooked it and have kept it unhooked.
I virus-scanned the flash drive on a modern computer system with an up-to-date virus scanner and no viruses were found.
I think my USB driver program is okay. I can't remember for sure, but I believe that flash drive corruption continued even after I rebooted the system.
It's not a counterfeit USB capacity problem. I reformat all flash drives for FAT 16.
Then I thought, I'm always shoving the #1 cable around - it's always in the way. Can a faulty cable corrupt flash drives?
I put both corrupt flash drives on the #2 cable - to try and recover the lost files and directories - and there's been no more corruption.
When I get a chance I'm going to plug another USB directly into the #1 port and then copy the good files from the tempermental corrupted flash drive onto the other flash drive and will report back.