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System Volume Information- Folder And Files

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
You know. That hidden folder Windows creates. Not only on your hard drive, but any removable drives as well. No harm, no foul, right? Well, that's how it used to be. Recently I had quite an upsetting event. One of my most precious possessions is a very nice 9-speaker Bose audio system in my car. With two USB 2.0 ports, it affords me up to 16 GB of music via .MP3 files, which I have made the most of. That tiny little USB drive allows me to listen to nearly my entire music collection in my car.

While I don't add or subtract music very often with that flash drive, until recently doing so didn't seem to matter. However a few days ago, I did decide to reformat the drive and add my current music collection edited specifically for the car. No big deal....or so I thought. While I seldom use Windows 10 anymore, I decided as I first formatted the flash drive in Windows, to keep it that way for now. But when I reloaded the drive into my car's USB port, it played for a short time then the music stopped, and my whole LCD media screen slowly darkened, as if my audio system was dying. Holy crap...this is bad.

Luckily the first thing I did was to remove the drive, to note that the system came back on, and switched to my FM radio. Everything seemed to work fine, except for the USB drive. I reinserted the USB flash drive, and it all started to "die" again. Pulled it out, and all seemed well again. But not having access to my music is a personal disaster to me. I stopped listening to radio almost 99% since I got this car with this amazing audio system built-in. Deductive reasoning compelled me to focus on the USB drive, rather than the audio system as a whole. But what was the problem? I scanned the dive on my computer to first rule out any integrity issues with the drive itself. Everything seemed ok technically. I could still play the drive on my computer in either Linux or Windows. Go figure. I even decided once again to reformat the drive, and reload all the music files accordingly. Which of course, did not fix anything when I again inserted the drive into the USB port.

Here's the kicker: In the past I would get annoyed seeing the Windows "system volume information" folder in my song menu. Usually made a point of deleting it using my legacy Windows XP computer or using Linux Mint. (Deleting this folder in Windows 10 is doable, but I just prefer to do it in easier ways through other operating systems). Based on past experience I surmised that this folder and contents shouldn't be a problem, I decided to delete it in Linux just to see if it made any difference. And it did. When I again inserted the flash drive into the car's USB port, the music came on shown on my LCD media panel on the dashboard, and it never stopped.

Microsoft in their infinite wisdom (oxymoron) has done something to their system volume information to make it toxic to other operating systems. Do they know? Do they care? Would it matter if they did?

In essence heads up- that if you edit your song files in Windows, only to be played on another operating system and media platform. If so, delete that folder on your flash drive to prevent any funny business. Especially given their very proprietary stance on anything Microsoft, as well as their prejudice towards any entity considered a competitor. Another thing I ran into in using removable drives. It seems Windows 10 flags anything run on Linux, prompting you to scan and fix a flash drive. Even though it eventually tells you that there's nothing wrong with it. Yet another indicator that Microsoft doesn't want to share anything with anyone else.
 
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MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
You know. That hidden folder Windows creates. Not only on your hard drive, but any removable drives as well. No harm, no foul, right? Well, that's how it used to be. Recently I had quite an upsetting event. One of my most precious possessions is a very nice 9-speaker Bose audio system in my car. With two USB 2.0 ports, it affords me up to 16 GB of music via .MP3 files, which I have made the most of. That tiny little USB drive allows me to listen to nearly my entire music collection in my car.

While I don't add or subtract music very often with that flash drive, until recently doing so didn't seem to matter. However a few days ago, I did decide to reformat the drive and add my current music collection edited specifically for the car. No big deal....or so I thought. While I seldom use Windows 10 anymore, I decided as I first formatted the flash drive in Windows, to keep it that way for now. But when I reloaded the drive into my car's USB port, it played for a short time then the music stopped, and my whole LCD media screen slowly darkened, as if my audio system was dying. Holy crap...this is bad.

Luckily the first thing I did was to remove the drive, to note that the system came back on, and switched to my FM radio. Everything seemed to work fine, except for the USB drive. I reinserted the USB flash drive, and it all started to "die" again. Pulled it out, and all seemed well again. But not having access to my music is a personal disaster to me. I stopped listening to radio almost 99% since I got this car with this amazing audio system built-in. Deductive reasoning compelled me to focus on the USB drive, rather than the audio system as a whole. But what was the problem? I scanned the dive on my computer to first rule out any integrity issues with the drive itself. Everything seemed ok technically. I could still play the drive on my computer in either Linux or Windows. Go figure. I even decided once again to reformat the drive, and reload all the music files accordingly. Which of course, did not fix anything when I again inserted the drive into the USB port.

Here's the kicker: In the past I would get annoyed seeing the Windows "system volume information" folder in my song menu. Usually made a point of deleting it using my legacy Windows XP computer or using Linux Mint. (Deleting this folder in Windows 10 is doable, but I just prefer to do it in easier ways through other operating systems). Based on past experience I surmised that this folder and contents shouldn't be a problem, I decided to delete it in Linux just to see if it made any difference. And it did. When I again inserted the flash drive into the car's USB port, the music came on shown on my LCD media panel on the dashboard, and it never stopped.

Microsoft in their infinite wisdom (oxymoron) has done something to their system volume information to make it toxic to other operating systems. Do they know? Do they care? Would it matter if they did?

In essence heads up- that if you edit your song files in Windows, only to be played on another operating system and media platform. If so, delete that folder on your flash drive to prevent any funny business. Especially given their very proprietary stance on anything Microsoft, as well as their prejudice towards any entity considered a competitor. Another thing I ran into in using removable drives. It seems Windows 10 flags anything run on Linux, prompting you to scan and fix a flash drive. Even though it eventually tells you that there's nothing wrong with it. Yet another indicator that Microsoft doesn't want to share anything with anyone else.
I wonder if you ran into some crazy file fragmentation? If the files weren't stored contiguously on the flash ram inside the drive, then the controller will have to dart all over the cells in the chip at a super fast rate causing it to draw more amps, (and over heat) perhaps causing the sound system to go into a low power state to protect everything?

I have also noticed that windows will throw a fit at any flash drive that has been used in a Linux system. This can even be something as simple as a floppy drive emulator.

These two things are actually what made me wonder about file fragmentation as running the "fix this drive" option can completely ruin a usb drive in a floppy emulator as bytes can end up being shifted all over the place, but in Windows all works great due to the way it reads the drive.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I wonder if you ran into some crazy file fragmentation? If the files weren't stored contiguously on the flash ram inside the drive, then the controller will have to dart all over the cells in the chip at a super fast rate causing it to draw more amps, (and over heat) perhaps causing the sound system to go into a low power state to protect everything?

I have also noticed that windows will throw a fit at any flash drive that has been used in a Linux system. This can even be something as simple as a floppy drive emulator.

These two things are actually what made me wonder about file fragmentation as running the "fix this drive" option can completely ruin a usb drive in a floppy emulator as bytes can end up being shifted all over the place, but in Windows all works great due to the way it reads the drive.

Interesting thought. However if it really was about file fragmentation, I'd think whatever caused it would have spread to the actual data stored and not simply pertain to a single folder with only two files. Not to mention that the second time around, I did a lengthy (formal) reformat of the drive and reloaded all the MP3 files back onto it. So I'd think there wouldn't really have been sufficient use to cause such fragmentation. And the operating system in my car is likely Linux-based. Not something that so easily scrambles data like Windows does. In this instance, this particular flash drive is also used exclusively only in my car. The only time I use it in Windows or Linux is to add, subtract or edit music.

But the problem itself makes sense when you consider how bloated Windows 10 has become over the years compared to when it was first released. Especially considering that in the recent past, having that folder on the drive did not cause any problems other than it visually showed up in my car's onscreen menu. So I would just delete it without incident.

Both Windows and Linux utilities gave the drive health a thumbs up anyways, showing only a single partition intact. If and when a drive needs "repairing" these utilities will catch it if something is truly wrong. In any event simply deleting the folder instantly solved the problem.

I am just so fed up with Microsoft and all their proprietary antics. They treat anything outside their operating system like it's malware. They have that "Highlander" mentality- "There can be only one!" Anyways it makes being on Linux so much nicer. So little BS to deal with in comparison. Linux Mint just ignores the folder and files...lol.

I just feel bad for much of anyone else who has encountered such a problem, and not been able to figure it out.
 
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MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I guess it might depend on what windows is doing when you are writing to the drive, or perhaps deleting etc?

Windows could be indexing the drive for example while you add your files and this can cause it to store files wherever is handy, rather than where they should be ideally and I think it can get into a bit of a recursive mess.

It's been a while since I've read about it, but as far as I remember the way it worked is like a linked list. So bytes are read and then the position of the next bytes is read, so the controller jumps to that address and the process repeats.

One thing I have done to keep all the bytes in the right place, is to format the drive with SDFormatter (it seems to work just fine with USB drives). I prepare a folder with the contents for the drive and copy in one go. Then when I want to add files etc, I just copy the drive contents to a folder add/change what I want to in the folder. Then format with SDformatter, then copy the folder back to the drive.

It's a bit long winded, but so far my drives run cool and no weird behaviour.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
The weird thing is that when this problem would show up, it wouldn't happen in precisely the same place or time as the last time. Recursive, but not consistent. Happening exclusively in my car's audio system.

Strangely enough, in terms of simply playing music on the flash drive it would play any MP3 file without incident in both Windows and Linux Mint 203 & 21.0. In terms of thermodynamics, nothing on my system seems to run hot.

Funny when I swap my SSDs to switch operating systems, because the cases are usually cold. Right now in Linux, my CPU and GPU are both running at a blistering 33 to 38 degrees celsius. No cause for concern there...but then I don't run much like gaming that could strain the CPU and GPU.
 
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MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I wonder if it may be the method that it uses to read the drive. There is one way that's easy to implement in simpler systems (SIO mode I think it's called) which would make sense with and MP3 player. Then there is the more sophisticated mode that is a bit more quick and flexible on things like windows.

Perhaps if it's using the more basic mode and was for whatever reason, not able to keep up the transfer speed, I guess it could kinda crash. Like I guess watching a live stream and the data gets cut off and your screen just sits there endlessly showing the last frame of video and trying to scrub backwards just results in it completely hanging.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I wonder if it may be the method that it uses to read the drive. There is one way that's easy to implement in simpler systems (SIO mode I think it's called) which would make sense with and MP3 player. Then there is the more sophisticated mode that is a bit more quick and flexible on things like windows.

Perhaps if it's using the more basic mode and was for whatever reason, not able to keep up the transfer speed, I guess it could kinda crash. Like I guess watching a live stream and the data gets cut off and your screen just sits there endlessly showing the last frame of video and trying to scrub backwards just results in it completely hanging.
I'm guessing the "internals" of the computer that runs my car's audio system is probably not all that sophisticated compared to operating systems running an entire PC.

But as long as the issue is confined to the system volume information it's a moot point to me as to how it happens. I just know that for now on I must purge that folder from the flash drive to prevent the media player from dying on me.

Still, it was scary watching my LCD screen gradually go black. Made me think for a moment that the problem might be much wider than just the USB port or flash drive. Guess I dodged a bullet in this case...
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm guessing the "internals" of the computer that runs my car's audio system is probably not all that sophisticated compared to operating systems running an entire PC.

But as long as the issue is confined to the system volume information it's a moot point to me as to how it happens. I just know that for now on I must purge that folder from the flash drive to prevent the media player from dying on me.

Still, it was scary watching my LCD screen gradually go black. Made me think for a moment that the problem might be much wider than just the USB port or flash drive. Guess I dodged a bullet in this case...
I can certainly understand that feeling! When I had a similar situation with a floppy drive emulator, normally the emulator will show on it's screen "FlashFloppy V2.6" then the current mounted image. But once I forgot to do my convoluted copy files to folder, format, make changes, copy back files process. I just copied the new files direct to the drive.

Of course at first there was little that concerned me. I turned on the system, everything appears fine. Then I try to read a disk image and everything goes screwy. It says "no disk in drive". So I power cycled and then the screen just showed a series of squares. When I removed the usb drive it showed the version number again. Then I realised what I'd done lol!
 

Outdated

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Microsoft in their infinite wisdom (oxymoron) has done something to their system volume information to make it toxic to other operating systems. Do they know? Do they care? Would it matter if they did?
Quite a few large corporations like to play the "big brother" game. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Microsoft was doing this deliberately.

Macintosh adds a .trashes file to your usb stick, what's in there is a simple text file listing all the transactions that have been made, when and where a file was copied from, who was logged in at the time of copying, etc.

Some large corporate brands of usb stick also format their drives in a funny way to prevent them from being used in a car stereo. They leave the very first 10 Mb of the drive unformatted so that the stereo thinks the usb stick is empty.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Quite a few large corporations like to play the "big brother" game. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Microsoft was doing this deliberately.

Macintosh adds a .trashes file to your usb stick, what's in there is a simple text file listing all the transactions that have been made, when and where a file was copied from, who was logged in at the time of copying, etc.

Some large corporate brands of usb stick also format their drives in a funny way to prevent them from being used in a car stereo. They leave the very first 10 Mb of the drive unformatted so that the stereo thinks the usb stick is empty.

Reminds me of the early days of flash drives when I think it was Sony who got caught putting spyware on theirs. Which didn't set well with consumers. Ya think?
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Ah yes! The good old Sony RootKit! :)
I think at the time their studio part of the business was still allied with the Recording Industry Artists Attorneys. Trying to nab people who primarily were violating copyrighted music. Ultimately a lost cause IMO creating very bad public relations.

Capitalism at its worst.
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I think at the time their studio part of the business was still allied with the Recording Industry Artists Attorneys. Trying to nab people who primarily were violating copyrighted music. Ultimately a lost cause IMO creating very bad public relations.

Capitalism at its worst.
Absolutely! I think I read that it was installed silently with Sonic Stage software for mini disc and was supposed to try and figure out if your MP3 files came from a legit source. I remember some weird behaviour concerning some MP3s that I had recorded myself. The software would grey out the tracks and prevent them from being copied to my mini disc. I thought it was something to do with the fold settings eg. Bit rate etc.

Then I read about the root kit and realised that was probably to blame. It was also next to impossible to remove from the machine once it was there.

The other ridiculous thing was that Sony, in their "fight" against piracy, released some albums on CD that had extras that you could access on a PC or Mac. But due to idiocy, they added copy protection to the CD to prevent playback on a computer! So people paid extra for these features and found that not only could they not play the CD on their home media pc, but they also couldn't access the special features!
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Oops. Given my curious and persistent nature, I ran into some new information that might be contrary to everything I have posted. :oops:

So far so good, having deleted Microsoft's system volume information and folder. However the problem may still exist. If it happens again, one fix may be to press three specific buttons of my infotainment system at the same time followed by a beep. If it works...the blame probably lies elsewhere. My bad...
 
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MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Oops. Given my curious and persistent nature, I ran into some new information that might be contrary to everything I have posted. :oops:

So far so good, having deleted Microsoft's system volume information and folder. However the problem may still exist. If it happens again, one fix may be to press three specific buttons of my infotainment system at the same time followed by a beep. If it works...the blame probably lies elsewhere. My bad...
You know the weird thing? Today I drove my dad's car to do some shopping and it has an Android based infotainment system I installed for him. Basically almost the exact thing you described happened, the usb drive just refused to mount, so no music!

I wonder if perhaps the change in temperature was a factor. It's damn cold here in the UK and condensation and moisture can cause some screwy behaviour in complex devices.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
You know the weird thing? Today I drove my dad's car to do some shopping and it has an Android based infotainment system I installed for him. Basically almost the exact thing you described happened, the usb drive just refused to mount, so no music!

I wonder if perhaps the change in temperature was a factor. It's damn cold here in the UK and condensation and moisture can cause some screwy behaviour in complex devices.
It's pretty cold here as well...but then after Halloween it's always cold. Snowed day before yesterday. But the car is now five years old...so who knows?

I'm just hoping this alleged "fix" works if the problem happens again.
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It's pretty cold here as well...but then after Halloween it's always cold. Snowed day before yesterday. But the car is now five years old...so who knows?

I'm just hoping this alleged "fix" works if the problem happens again.
I hope so! Gremlins in machines can be pretty darned irritating! If you are concerned about moisture, you can get large Silica Gel packs. Maybe try keeping one in the car and see if it swells up significantly. It will suck the moisture out of the air. So if the gremlins disappear it cold be a moisture issue.

You could also try using something like Deoxit to clean the contacts on both the sound system and drive contacts. It could be that a small amount of corrosion has occured. Deoxit cleans this away pretty effectively. I've seen it recommend many places :)
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
You could also try using something like Deoxit to clean the contacts on both the sound system and drive contacts. It could be that a small amount of corrosion has occured. Deoxit cleans this away pretty effectively. I've seen it recommend many places :)

Good idea. I do sometimes wonder about those contacts, given how dusty it is here in the desert. Even indoors where I keep the house locked up year-round, I still find myself having to use compressed air to blow out dust in my USB and other open slots of my PC. At least I also have an effective removable dust filter in my PC, in front of a 180mm fan. Keeps the innards reasonably clean...but those nine exposed ports (USB+ card readers) on the front are another matter! LOL...ten if you count my removable but well-ventilated SSD.

Still a little miffed in having to put in a card reader....as Canon doesn't provide Linux with their DSLR software.
 
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Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Today could be interesting. I formatted (FAT32) another 16GB flash drive in Linux and loaded the same music files to run on my second USB port in my car's audio system. Just to see what happens.
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Today could be interesting. I formatted (FAT32) another 16GB flash drive in Linux and loaded the same music files to run on my second USB port in my car's audio system. Just to see what happens.
I'm sure eventually if you explore as many angles as possible, you will start to converge on a solution. USB can be a bit strange at times. I've had issues plugging in a USB device that works great and then almost like clockwork, decides to disconnect itself maybe after half an hour.

A good example was an Xbox 360 control pad that would just give up on a certain machine after a set time. But it worked perfectly everywhere else. In the end I replaced the USB cable and so far it's worked fine.

The predicability of the fault makes me think it wasn't a loose connection. More likely that the cable wasn't high enough quality to carry the power. The cable starts to warm up, resistance increases, creates more heat then gets starved of power.
 

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