What??! What do you mean you do not have a flash drive around to test??!! I can't understand how one can NOT have at least one USB flash drive hanging around somewhere.
How new is your machine/what's the warranty status? Hopefully it is still under warranty because the next thing I'd try if I were you is to exchange it.
Hah! I deal with large drives that can store over 1TB, I'm a professional photographer and sometimes shoot a GB per day! These 32GB things are of no use to me
The machine is a Surface Pro 2, so it's only a couple of months old. Given I'm suffering right now with the fact I can only use the Surface when it's plugged in, I almost took it back for a refund and went on the market for a Mac Air. (Actually I'd prefer a Dell tablet as I'm addicted to Win 8...)
UPDATE: I'm running a large file copy to my USB HDD dock and after 20 minutes it hasn't yet cut out. This is a record. This would be the first device I've used with a USB A to B connector (full size) as opposed to mini or micro. Not sure if that makes any difference.