So I'm using a PNY 4Gb flash drive for a way to transport my gamer profile around, and occasionally some game saves, but I've noticed a few times that if, for example, a game freezes (which seems to happen quite often when I'm using a USB drive), I'll reboot the console only to find out that the Xbox does not recognize anything on the USB drive, even though it shows that memory is still used on the USB. For example, there's something like 3.7Gb available on my 4Gb drive, but when I put my profile on there, the available capacity is only like 3.4Gb. I was playing Left 4 Dead 2 today, installed to the hard drive, and reading my profile off of the flash drive. Ironically I was maybe a minute away from finishing the Dead Center campaign (I was retrieving the 8th and final gas can to put in the racecar), and the game froze on me.
Well, that sucks. No checkpoints saved, so I'd have to start the whole thing over. No big deal I guess, it wasn't like I was doing anything amazing (Dead Center on Normal by myself), so I turned the Xbox off then back on, leaving the flash drive in. I tried to sign in, but my profile was no longer appearing in the list of available profiles. So I check the USB memory, sure enough, 3.7Gb possible - 3.4Gb available, but when I select the device, there is nothing under any of the memory categories, i.e. Games, Game Profiles, Demos, etc.
Odd, but it has happened to me before, and usually is resolved by turning the Xbox off, unplugging the USB drive, plugging it back in, then rebooting the Xbox, and my data will be there (I had a few scares when I used the USB to move data from my Elite to my new slim model, where no data would show up, and that was with important gave saves like Fallout and Borderlands!). So I do just that, but when I go back to System Settings, Memory, the USB shows up as unformatted! And along with that, my profile gone, so now I have to go and recover it (which takes about a half hour...).
Now, mind you, the USB drive passes the "test" for compatibility with the Xbox, but when it does something like this, it makes me question whether or not the test is dependable, and whether or not to even continue use of the USB devices, knowing that they could fail at potentially any moment.
Maybe this hasn't happened to many other people, or even that often, but for the ~20 times I have used this "Meets recommended settings" USB drive, it has failed (and almost lost some very precious, irretrievable data) at least 5 times, with this latest time actually losing its formatting and in the process, my gamer profile.
Believe me, I was pleased when I first learned Microsoft was allowing the use of third-party USB storage devices, after much heated debate and criticism, and I honestly believe it was a feature that could've been included day one, but if Microsoft is going to (finally) allow us the use of these devices, can't they at least ensure us that they will work under reasonable conditions? Is there some other result of the formatting test besides "Meets recommended settings", like "Will hold your data infallibly"? I know a USB drive may not be a 100% dependable way of housing data, but one complete loss of data (or six failures, depending on how you look at it) out of, at most, twenty uses is a very poor dependability rate.
And to save someone the trouble, because it seems the most obvious thing to say, I do not want to pay $40 for a "Microsoft-endorsed" flash drive when I can use one of the three drives I have collecting dust at home that pass the formatting test that the Xbox administers. it's very ridiculous that the "Microsoft-endorsed" SanDisk flash drive is around $40, while the "non-MIcrosoft endorsed" SanDisk flash drive, which I would assume to be the same model minus the pre-formatting, is about half the price. But that's a little off-topic from this post.
I just want to know: is it commonplace to have a "proven-to-be-compatible" flash drive malfunction this frequently?