PSA on SanDisk USBs


SpencerJ

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After multiple recent support issues with SanDisk brand USBs, we don't recommend buying SanDisk USBs for Unraid at this point. 

 

Either due to counterfeit devices being sold or a manufacturing change directly from SanDisk, multiple users have attempted to boot SanDisk USBs and found out that they do not register a unique GUID and therefore, cannot be properly licensed with Unraid.

Multiple attempts at contacting SanDisk on this issue have gone nowhere.

 

For a great rundown on the best USBs for Unraid, @SpaceInvaderOne made an exhaustively researched video on the topic:

 

 

(Spoiler) The best 3 flash drives were:

1. Samsung bar plus

USA ---- https://amzn.to/32TtQyp

UK ---- https://amzn.to/3004ooU

DE ---  https://www.amazon.de/Samsung-MUF-32BE4-EU-Flash-Speicherstick/dp/B07CVVHCTG/

 

2. Kingston DataTraveler SE9 G2

USA ---- https://amzn.to/30NhzIZ

UK ---- https://amzn.to/3f4Bp7C

DE ---  https://www.amazon.de/Kingston-DataTraveler-USB-Stick-USB3-2-32GB/dp/B08KHTRF61?th=1

 

3. Samsung Fit Plus

USA --- https://amzn.to/3hFboha

UK --- https://amzn.to/39vSsOR

DE --- https://www.amazon.de/Samsung-Flash-Drive-MUF-32AB-APC/dp/B07HPWKS3C

 

BONUS @ich777 recommendation for Amazon.de users:

https://www.amazon.de/Transcend-JetFlash-Extreme-Speed-32GB-USB-Stick/dp/B002WE6CN6

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45 minutes ago, johnwhicker said:

I have the SanDisk 64GB Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 Flash Drive - SDCZ33-064G-G35 in both of my unRaids and they run rock solid.

 

Are you saying I should switch to something else?

It seems the issue is with the lack of GUID, not reliability. If your flashdrive works, I see no reason to change it.

I think the idea is to prevent a bad experience to new users.

 

I know that my Cruzer blade works fine, I will continue to use it (plus I already bought two spares ... oops 🙄).

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10 hours ago, johnwhicker said:

I have the SanDisk 64GB Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 Flash Drive - SDCZ33-064G-G35 in both of my unRaids and they run rock solid.

 

Are you saying I should switch to something else?

@ChatNoir is correct. 
 

If you have a SanDisk usb that is licensed, you are fine. 
If you are a new user or changing your flash, the PSA applies. 
The last thing I want from a UX perspective is for a user to be stuck with an unusable USB. 

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8 minutes ago, prostuff1 said:

I have a handful of the 16GB cruzer fit drives that I bought quite a while back. Knock on wood, all of them have been fine and the customers I have used them for have not reported any problems to me.

 

I have not been able to detect any rhyme or reason to the issue as far as specific devices/specs which leads me to believe they are either counterfeits (y tho?) or there are "bad batches" in the manufacturing process. 

 

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unfortunately, the amount of counterfeiting at amazon on sandisk/samsung SD cards and now apparently USB Keys is brutal.  typically the most popular brands are targeted due to higher volume.

 

For those curious, at amazon warehouses they store their own stock and stock from 3rd party resellers in the same bins, so the counterfeit items with the same SKU dilute amazon's legit stock.

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2 minutes ago, Dephcon said:

unfortunately, the amount of counterfeiting at amazon on sandisk/samsung SD cards and now apparently USB Keys is brutal.  typically the most popular brands are targeted due to higher volume.

 

For those curious, at amazon warehouses they store their own stock and stock from 3rd party resellers in the same bins, so the counterfeit items with the same SKU dilute amazon's legit stock.

 

Interesting. Seems like a lot of work for low margins..... 

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So when you guys say counterfeit are you describing 1. unreliable / different  UUID's on the USB's which will impact the licensing aspect at booting, or 2. cloned UUID which will pretty much defeat the entire unRaid licensing mechanism?  I personally believe the licensing tied to the UUID is a weak mechanism but that's just me. 

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On 1/25/2022 at 12:48 AM, ChatNoir said:

It seems the issue is with the lack of GUID, not reliability. If your flashdrive works, I see no reason to change it.

I think the idea is to prevent a bad experience to new users.

 

I know that my Cruzer blade works fine, I will continue to use it (plus I already bought two spares ... oops 🙄).

 

Thanks.  I have a hot / stand by (taped to the NAS) spare with DD on it :) and a cold spare in my storage.  Can't have enough redundancy on USB's LOL

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3 minutes ago, johnwhicker said:

 I personally believe the licensing tied to the UUID is a weak mechanism but that's just me. 

How would you improve this, keeping in mind that the licensing should be able to stay completely offline if desired?

 

The only alternative I see is a rather expensive move to something like sentinel hasp type dongles. I must admit I've never gotten a quote on that type of system, but I've got to believe the per unit cost would be rather significant, since I typically see it protecting $1K and up per seat products.

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27 minutes ago, JonathanM said:

How would you improve this, keeping in mind that the licensing should be able to stay completely offline if desired?

 

The only alternative I see is a rather expensive move to something like sentinel hasp type dongles. I must admit I've never gotten a quote on that type of system, but I've got to believe the per unit cost would be rather significant, since I typically see it protecting $1K and up per seat products.

 

Trusted Platform Module (TPM) combined with USB dongle comes to mind?  Kind of the 2 factor authentication - something that you have and something that you have and you need both to boot up :)  Usually is something that you have (hardware, dongle, etc, etc) and something the you know (pin, password, license key, etc, etc) but 2 pieces of distinct hardware will also work.

 

Without giving too much away if you speak Russian as I do, then my statement " I personally believe the licensing tied to the UUID is a weak mechanism but that's just me" will even have more tangible substance :)  You know where I am going with this right..... So yes a combination of TPM and USB will probably give you more security  with hardware that is in place already and not much investment besides the TPM and USB licensing key exchange and protocols.

Edited by johnwhicker
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On 1/24/2022 at 2:22 PM, SpencerJ said:

3. Samsung Fit Plus

Those Samsung fits do NOT last. They're too small and run too hot for 24/7 operation and burn out within a year. You absolutely need a full size stick and I recommend sticking with USB 2 as USB 3 speeds appear to generate more heat and lead to more burn out.

Edited by nickp85
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17 hours ago, johnwhicker said:

So when you guys say counterfeit are you describing 1. unreliable / different  UUID's on the USB's which will impact the licensing aspect at booting, or 2. cloned UUID which will pretty much defeat the entire unRaid licensing mechanism?  I personally believe the licensing tied to the UUID is a weak mechanism but that's just me. 

 

The GUIDs come up as not unique (00000000's) and hence, unusable. You can't load a license or trial on them. 

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On 1/27/2022 at 2:25 PM, SpencerJ said:

 

The GUIDs come up as not unique (00000000's) and hence, unusable. You can't load a license or trial on them. 

 

Yeah that's an ugly proposition. Without a consistent and unique UUID is impossible to maintain a licensing system for sure. I hear you gents and it becomes a maintenance nightmare  

Edited by johnwhicker
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So I understand from this that it's not a good idea to buy a Sandisk USB flashdrive to use with unRAID.

 

But if I already have a Sandisk flashdrive and try it with unRAID and am able to license and boot unRAID with it, am I OK? (I have an unused unRAID key and a few Sandisk flashdrives sitting around, so this is not purely hypothetical.) Or is there still a risk that there will be a licensing issue down the road?

 

And if I try to license the flashdrive and it fails to register or boot, does this invalidate my key?

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15 minutes ago, sonofdbn said:

if I already have a Sandisk flashdrive and try it with unRAID and am able to license and boot unRAID with it, am I OK?

Yes. Also you can check the GUID with the usb creator and see if it's a random string of multiple different characters, which means it should be fine, at least for licensing.

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12 hours ago, sonofdbn said:

So I understand from this that it's not a good idea to buy a Sandisk USB flashdrive to use with unRAID.

 

But if I already have a Sandisk flashdrive and try it with unRAID and am able to license and boot unRAID with it, am I OK? (I have an unused unRAID key and a few Sandisk flashdrives sitting around, so this is not purely hypothetical.) Or is there still a risk that there will be a licensing issue down the road?

 

And if I try to license the flashdrive and it fails to register or boot, does this invalidate my key?

Yep, as long as the flash drive produces a unique GUID, you are fine. 
 

 

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On 1/25/2022 at 3:50 PM, Dephcon said:

unfortunately, the amount of counterfeiting at amazon on sandisk/samsung SD cards and now apparently USB Keys is brutal.  typically the most popular brands are targeted due to higher volume.

 

For those curious, at amazon warehouses they store their own stock and stock from 3rd party resellers in the same bins, so the counterfeit items with the same SKU dilute amazon's legit stock.

 

Are you suggesting Amazon is engaged in counterfeiting the products they stock and sell?

 

I'm using an Sandisk Cruzer Fit 16gb USB 2.0 thumbdrive because it was recommended on a thread on this forum. I've not been having any issues so far. How can I detect if my thumbdrive is a counterfeit unit? How did the original poster identify the suspect Sandisk units as counterfeit? 

 

Are these counterfeit units also sold at Best Buy, Walmart, COSTCO, Staples, etc?

 

Since COVID the volume of sales at Amazon has increased dramatically and it has resulted in a lot of anti-Amazon comments.

 

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50 minutes ago, Vetteman said:

Are you suggesting Amazon is engaged in counterfeiting the products they stock and sell?

 

Amazon isn't doing any counterfeiting. Someone sold fake stuff to Amazon and Amazon didn't catch it. For their part, Amazon evidently doesn't keep the same (apparent) stock from different sources separate.

Edited by jbartlett
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1 hour ago, Vetteman said:

I've not been having any issues so far. How can I detect if my thumbdrive is a counterfeit unit?

 

If your USB has a random mix of letters and numbers on Tools-> Registration, you are fine. Disregard.

 

1 hour ago, Vetteman said:

Are these counterfeit units also sold at Best Buy, Walmart, COSTCO, Staples, etc?

 

Unknown.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Quote

"Another One Bites the Dust..."

 

I had a pair of these Sandisk USBs (UltraFit's 3.1) die on me in the past year(not going to link them, so no one accidentally buys them). The last one died yesterday was my unRAID boot. They appear to be legitimate since Sandisk honoured the RMA process. But both didn't last 2 years (to be fair, the first one I put absurd amount of write cycles on it). But trying the Samsung Bar Plus now, and Sandisk USBs have moved to the avoid category for myself going forward.

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