Flash data recovery options

Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
So I had a usb flash drive that seems borked. It gets super hot when plugged in, and is giving a drive inaccessible error. I tried some free data recovery software but no bueno. I am fairly certain this got backed up not that long ago, but wife wanted me to explore other recovery options. I've never actually used a company before. Should I just google it? Anyone have recommendations? Is there some paid for recovery software that has a better chance of success? Thanks

"The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible


  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    How quickly does it get hot? Some heat is expected after running for some time, but too much too quickly, especially before it shows up or while it's idle means the drive's probably physically dead.

    If you're pretty sure you have it backed up, my first advice is to stop trying and look for the backups. It at least won't get worse sitting on a shelf for a few days, and you can hopefully save yourself some money.

    The error gives a slim hope, though, it means that at least at some level the drive is still telling Windows that it's a drive. My first go-to with this is minitool, personally I've found if it gives nothing at all, paid options are futile. If it gives at least something like a file list (even if the names are fucked up), you can try the demo version of EaseUS (the free version will recover file lists and up to 2 gigabytes of data for verification purposes before you spend money), though you're looking at $70 at this point.

    If both are a bust, there are companies you can try who will have access to much more advanced tools (up to and including extracting the flash chip and putting it in a different device). Most won't charge (or at least charge only a nominal fee and/or shipping to return the drive) if they recover nothing, but keep in mind you're looking at a couple hundred bucks here.

  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    Yeah I definitely have the backup, it’s just a little old (maybe a month or so?) and the wife thinks that in the mean time other things were added.

    When it first stopped working it definitely took a little while to heat up, but last few times it was getting hot pretty quick. Then it started doing this fun thing where it would make the entire computer hang until I unplugged it. I’ll give minitool a try, but the wife seems like she would be willing to shell out a few hundred to see if someone else can do it.

    I’ll probably start googling places just to see what’s out there.

    "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible
  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited November 2019
    Second every thing Hevach said, except my go-to recovery software is teskdisk/photorec. Takes some fiddling if it can't guess the drive characteristics, but has never failed me if the storage media could be reached. Even if misconfigured, the garbage results will at least tell you the data is still accessible. If the memory cannot be accessed, extracting the chip and hoping it was the IO interface may be the only option.

    Unfortunately I can't recommend a recovery service, but I can offer a crazy idea Re: Sudden heat induced failure

    I had one of those ultra tiny flash drives that's basically just a USB plug, and it heated up astoundingly quickly when transferring data because, I assume, it lacked any kind of mass to disperse the heat. It would seem to overheat and need to cool off for a while, but it continued to work reliably (with that caveat) for the few months before I lost it.

    So do you have a USB 1.0 slot you could plug it into?

    If the following are true, and I don't know if they are:

    - Inability to dissipate heat is causing the read error (as opposed to being a symptom of the underlying failure)
    - The heat build up is a function of drive activity

    Then perhaps making the drive operate at a slower pace would generate less of it; hopefully enough to allow sustained access.

    ArbitraryDescriptor on
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    I gotta say, you should never, ever put something on a flash drive you would

    1) spend money, any money at all, to recover
    2) need backed up for any reason

  • deathnote666deathnote666 Registered User regular
    edited November 2019
    Backups are important. No one can ever say you have too many backups (unless you're trying to hide something, lol).

    I'd pick a computer you aren't that attached to in case the drive damages the port if it's getting hot.

    Try chkdsk.

    In a cmd box, type:
    chkdsk G: /f /r /x

    G is the drive letter so change G to whatever the letter is for the thumb drive. You can see the drive letter on the My PC page in file explorer.

    If it doesn't show up, you would need to go to computer management - disk management - and give it a drive letter if it shows up there.

    deathnote666 on
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Eh, if it's heating up, causing the computer to hang, and not showing up, I'd say the drive has failed. If you're interested in doing data recovery, know that it can cost hundreds to thousands depending on what's wrong with the drive. And, if you want to recover that data, you need to stop using the drive at all, period. Don't plug it in, run software on it, try to mount it, nothing.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
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