Weird USB problem


A friend of mine ask to borrow one of my usb sticks, so I loaned him a verbatim 2 gb one. Before giving him the usb stick I formatted and it worked just fine.
He took it to a internet café to copy some stuff of the net. When he put in the usb stick it didn’t work, he tried it on a different PC and it didn’t work on that one as well.

Now he went out a bought a new usb stick, a 4 gb one and went back to the internet café. He tried that one on 2 more PCs. That one didn’t work as well. So he went back to the shop, they tried it on their PC and it worked there. He returned it and they gave him a new one, 4gb Apacer. He went back to try that one, which also didn’t work. He went home tired it on his laptop, it still wouldn’t work.

Then he gave me my old usb stick and his new one to try on my PC. I tried them on 2 PCs at home, both didn’t work.

Any idea what could have damaged the memory sticks? Is my friend emitting some kind of radiation that is deadly to memory sticks or something?

Anyone have any idea what this could be and could someone please share a method how I can test the usbs or something.

Thanks upfront.

What it seems like is ESD damage or a faulty USB controller zapping it on one of the café’s PCs.

For example, if that café has very dry air (e.g. air conditioning or dehumidifier running excessively), that person could easily build up a static charge, which ends up discharging through the USB drive as he plugs it in.

Another possibility is if a PC has a faulty power supply or USB controller which provides more than 5v on the USB port, that can potentially zap anything plugged into it.