March 31, 2010, 11:45 pm


I was looking to secure my files on my old USB memory stick. So I got this product. Now all my data is lost! Here's why:

The Lexar security suite creates an encrypted zone (they call a vault). The vault can be up to 4GB and it is given the name "vault.lxv". Once you create this vault, the Lexar suite mounts it as a drive in windows (the memory stick is drive E, and the secure vault is drive F). You can then add all the files you want to the vault (drive F). Regardless of the size/number of files in the vault, it is always a 4GB file (or however large you specify). All is fine up to this point.

Because windows itself only sees a single file "vault.lxv" and not all the individual files inside, should this file get corrupted (say by your 4 year old yanking out the jump drive while you are using it) it can (and did) get corrupted. Now ALL your data that was inside the vault is garbage! And CAN NOT be recovered.

This can happen to any USB stick, but since you are usually only working with a few files at a time, only those few files get corrupted. But with the vault there is only ONE file, and any improper removal of the stick will (and does) corrupt the vault. Now all your secure data is instantly TRASH!

I called Lexar and they commented this can happen if the USB stick is improperly removed. They suggested a data recovery service (at $1 per MB, that 4GB vault is going to cost me $4,000 to recover)!!!

So I would DEFINITELY NOT recommend this product. It is too easy for the vault to get corrupted. I had a Cruzer Pro 1GB secure USB drive and never had this problem. So I'm not sure how that device is different. And yes, all my data is totally lost forever! Thanks Lexar!

Geoff Richards

April 1, 2010, 2:26 am

Sorry to hear about your nightmare. Your feedback is certainly food for thought for everyone.

I would also just add that "important data" should never only exist in one place. If one needs to use a USB stick for transport, make sure you save to a local HDD then *copy* to the stick to move it to another computer, and copy it to that PC.

If you create new documents straight onto a stick, and carry it around, you leave yourself vulnerable not only to data corruption (as above) but theft and / or loss.

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