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The R4DS Corruption Case

Alright, so as part three in today's unfortunate tech trilogy, I'd like to tell you the story of the R4 DS cartridge I've been testing, that this week came across with some unfortunate data corruption.

The R4 is one of many flash carts for the DS, basically a DS cartridge with a slot for an SD card, to be used with content of your choosing. It loads like any other game, but once it's loaded you can load pretty much anything else on it, from apps to games to just any type of file you'd like to view or play. Music, movies, pictures, documents... the hardware's the limit.

Just so you know there's plenty of legal homebrew stuff you can run on these things, even if the most common use is definitely ROMs. I did this last year, for example.

There's something for everything. Both games and apps. You can basically turn your DS into a whole, fully functional, miniature little OS - though be careful about what apps you install as it's definitely possible some of them can corrupt certain data. Or overwrite certain data. Or in all possible ways mess things up - it's not official software after all.

I've been trying this one recently, and since everything was working fine until I did it's not impossible that one was the culprit...

It all started with a corrupted file.

I occasionally plug in the SD card to the computer to make a backup, and do this by simply dragging over the folder from the SD card to a local drive, but recently one arbitrary file just wouldn't move. Corruption, apparently.

It seemed to have no effect on the file system itself, though, so it seemed strange I couldn't move it to another one, corrupt or no. But alright, there wasn't much I could do about that so I let it be, and then one day I booted the DS cart and: it wouldn't run. At all.

I plugged the SD into my computer and it showed up as completely unformatted.

So that was that, I reformatted the drive, ran Recuva to potentially salvage some of the files (deep scan) and it basically recovered a bunch of icons and wallpapers. Good thing I had a backup right?

Doing error checks on the SD card now shows no errors, so I'm not sure as to what caused this issue, but it's possible it has to do with this (same link as above), and more specifically the file operations feature of ditto.

I'll be testing the cart without it from now on to see if corruption occurs without it, and if it does I'm hoping to run a check before it becomes unusable again. It's a quality SD card, and a relatively new one too, so that shouldn't be the issue.

Moral of the story: Not sure. Test your stuff. Figure things out. Solve your problems. And cumulatively, deriving some wisdom from all of these recent three incidents: don't spend too much time on unnecessary tasks or you might find that you give yourself problems you don't even really need.

That's all. At least for today.

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