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Author Topic: How to get data from dead flash drive?  (Read 12979 times)

tsaint

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How to get data from dead flash drive?
« on: October 29, 2007, 10:49:40 PM »
A student at my school had to pass up a major assignment today - 2 months of work.
She saved it to her flash drive (usb drive), but later, found that the drive couldnt even be recognized by windows.
Tried on various school computers today -it IS dead. Probably the data is there, but there's a break in the circuitry or something similar.

The question is, is it possible to get the data off the drive with any equipment likely to be owned by someone accessible (ie not the research centre at sandisk etc).
Are there any other things to try (eg gentle heat to expand solder tracks or sticking in icebox as with hard drives)?
thanks
tony

BTW, she's bringing her computer in tomorrow in the hope that files can be undeleted from there - but she's got 6 (SIX) kids who use her computer.

PhilB66

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2007, 11:29:15 PM »
Does it show up in device manager? Try changing the usb drive letter.

Darwin

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2007, 11:53:20 PM »
Coincidence? I think not. I noticed this on lifehacker earlier today. Hope it helps.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tsaint

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2007, 12:02:31 AM »
was a coincidence, but when I say dead I mean as in it does not show up as an attached device on any computer its been plugged into.
So any option which starts with accessing the drive is out - its not showing, so isnt accessible.

Darwin

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2007, 12:42:23 AM »
Dang! I really hoped that that would help you out. As I've a number of USB storage devices, including three thumbdrives, I'd be interested in knowing of any solutions to this problem as well (knock on wood I've yet to encounter this one, even after having my main 4GB thumbdrive go through the wash in my trouser's pocket  :-[).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tsaint

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2007, 01:01:32 AM »
but thanks for trying! The story as I heard it was she threw it across the table at her children... maybe there should be a warning label "may malfunction if thrown at children"?.
Probably someone with the gear could remove chip from circuit board and connect (somehow) up to some whizzbang equipment. On a positive note, this assignment that's destined never to see the light of day was probably of a quality which DESERVED to be lost to humanity.

f0dder

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2007, 05:23:34 AM »
tsaint: an amount of usb flashdrives (especially the ones that aren't tiny) have the actual flesh memory mounted as a daughter-board that connects to the circuitry - two of the drives I've owned were designed like this. I assume that if it's the circuitry and not the flash that's fried, and if you can get an identical flashdrive, you could just swap the flash daughterboard.

I dunno how likely it is that the flash memory isn't fried, though. And with the small sizes of today's flashdrives, the flash itself is likely integrated... and drives like the corsair flash voyager are hard to open yourself.
- carpe noctem

tsaint

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2007, 06:30:02 AM »
thanks f0dder, that's interesting to know and might be useful - another day if not this time round. I'll have a look at it tomorrow at school to see.
tony

Ralf Maximus

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2007, 08:04:52 AM »
I once knew somebody who was in the manufacturing side of electronics, and shared this about USB flash drives:

You really DO get what you pay for.  The cheapo drives are built with "just enough" RAM to meet the stated specs, while the more expensive name-brand drives come with additional RAM and circuitry that reroutes failing sectors to the extra memory.  So if you're storing important stuff, it's probably a good idea to spend $10 more and get a recognized brand, in a metal case.

Hmmm... does CHKDSK /F work on flash media?

Tekzel

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2007, 08:31:21 AM »
I will tell you what I tell all my customers when I find them using a flash drive as primary (and only) storage or as a backup.  DO NOT do that, ever.  Flash drives are wonderful devices, but they serve only ONE purpose:  transport and easy accessibility of data.  They are never ever, EVER to be used for either of the preceding needs for this reason only.  Save the crap to your hard drive, back it up with your normal backup method and use a flash drive to transport it easily. 

Oh, and the data is almost guaranteed to be gone forever.  Make sure she understands this lesson and never repeats that mistake.

f0dder

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2007, 11:47:26 AM »
"chkdsk /f" works fine on flash drives, since what it corrects are filesystem metadata corruption, not physical defects.

Tekzel: apart from failing circuitry, what's so bad about using flash drives for backup? Once you hit the maximal write cycles (which you probably won't anyway), it's my understanding that the used regions simply can't be "re-flashed", but still retain the last written value?
- carpe noctem

justice

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2007, 12:14:06 PM »
I hope you've not chkdsk /f yet because you should use unstoppable copier first. It can copy damaged files, all files, or only nondamaged files, and it doesn't give you silly copying prompts.
But if you have done chkdsk you might have made files unrecoverable.
But run it aynway.

Howver if the hardware is broke we just usually throw it in the bin.

PC Literates

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2009, 02:08:20 AM »
My wife and I computer technicians and we just had the same thing happen to both of our flash drives the same night we went to a radio station to work on their computers.  Both drives are completely DEAD!  We tried to read them on five differant computers and none of them even recognize that they are plugged in.

Has anyone who has had this happen to them been near radio equipment or antennas?

nosh

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2009, 02:18:38 AM »
I've shorted out a cable modem & a bluetooth hub by plugging them into the same faulty USB socket, so I'd look at that angle too. I don't know how you could test a faulty USB socket (that's emitting more power or whatever) other than by sacrificing another device. :) Hopefully somebody knows a less destructive way.

f0dder

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2009, 09:39:10 AM »
Flash memory shouldn't be affected by radio emissions from what I know - but I've fried a flash memory device in a bad USB port once.
- carpe noctem

Ehtyar

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2009, 05:49:28 PM »
I've rescued two dead drives in the office since I started working here. My advice is try to mount it on a Linux machine.

Ehtyar.

Darwin

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2009, 06:05:43 PM »
Flash memory shouldn't be affected by radio emissions from what I know - but I've fried a flash memory device in a bad USB port once.

But beware their effects on the human brain! Tin-foil hat alert! Tin-foil hat alert!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

scancode

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Re: How to get data from dead flash drive?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2009, 01:12:01 AM »
My advice is try to mount it on a Linux machine.

+1, worked for me most of the time (if the drive's not fried :P)