Problems When You Eject FAT16-Formatted Removable-Storage Devices

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Article ID: 320284 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q320284
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Under the following conditions, the file system on your Sony memory stick, Compact Flash card, or other similar device may remain in a non-flushed (dirty) state:
  • Your removable-storage device is formatted with the FAT16 file system.
  • You have ejected your device approximately 5-8 seconds after data was written to the device.
If your device remains in a non-flushed state, you may experience any of the following symptoms:
  • You may lose data that is stored on your removable-storage device.
  • You may experience problems or receive error messages when you insert your removable-storage device into other host devices.


This problem may be caused by the 8-second write-flush delay on FAT16 file systems. This delay was originally created for performance reasons. FAT16 partitions range from 16 megabytes (MB) to 2 gigabytes (GB). This was a common size for hard disks but has become popular again as removable-storage sizes increase. FAT12 volumes do not have this problem because they are primarily used for floppy disks and are not designed to use a write-behind delay.


To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows XP. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322389 How to Obtain the Latest Windows XP Service Pack
The English version of this fix should have the following file attributes or later:
   Date         Time    Version      Size     File name    Platform
   19-Jun-2002  12:06   5.1.2600.48  137,088  Fastfat.sys  Intel


To work around this problem, wait at least eight seconds after you write to your device before removing the device.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article. This problem was first corrected in Windows XP Service Pack 1.


Article ID: 320284 - Last Review: October 27, 2006 - Revision: 1.2
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbbug kbenv kberrmsg kbfix kboswin2000fix kbui kbwinxpsp1fix KB320284

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