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USB Drive Dead: Recommend recovery service?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 OFFLINE   DaveBB


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Posted September 10 2005 - 07:17 AM

I have a USB Flash drive that has died. It will not work on any computer and I have done everything I can to diagnose the problem. Can anyone recommend a data recovery service?

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted September 10 2005 - 09:27 AM

A USB "drive" is a solid state device, not a literal mechanical drive. Data recovery services can retrieve data from hard disk drives that have been damaged or had their electronics or mechanisms fail. They do this by replacing failed components or sometimes by physically removing the platters and placing them in another mechanism to be read. Depending on what failed in your "drive" data recovery may not be possible. There are only a couple of components besides that flash memory chip in there, and thus few others that could have failed.

That said, it may still be possible to do something. I've never needed their data recovery services, but I've done business with Drive Solutions and been very happy with their products, prices and customer service. (They gave me the best price on a memory upgrade to my laptop, and a year later provided me with a 100 GB drive to replace the laptop's original 20 GB and a neat little drive replacement kit with an external USB drive enclosure and cloning software that allowed me to boot off the new drive with all my settings and programs about an hour after opening the boxes.)

Hope this helps,


#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Paul Padilla

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Posted September 12 2005 - 04:22 AM

Joseph pretty much hit it on the head. I haven't heard of anyone doing that type of recovery either and one of the reasons, I believe, is that USB keys (or thumb drives or flash drives or what ever name you use for them) aren't intended to be used for long term storage for the reasons that Joseph mentioned. There aren't any parts inside that can be replaced to recover the files.

If you check around your area, look for someone who specifically performs "data recovery services". Any tech can claim to do this but real recovery services have full clean room facilities for disassembling hard disk drives. All that your neighborhood tech is going to do is hook it up to a working computer and see if he can read any data...maybe (with a hard drive) he'll try rewriting the master boot record but it sounds like you've tried it on other machines already.

True data recovery services aren't cheap. For hard drives it can cost you $100 or more per megabyte...but they frequently have to reconstruct the entire drive. You can't just say..."I need these couple of Excel files." It runs into the thousands really quickly. I've dealt with a place called HDO here in San Diego who have pulled data off of some severely damaged machines. They might at least be able to tell you if it's possible.

Good luck.
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#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Stephen Orr

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Posted September 12 2005 - 04:33 AM

Back up your next flash drive at least once a week to DVD or CD....

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Andrew Pratt

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Posted September 22 2005 - 03:37 AM

What's the model of the flash drive? Try going to their website and see if they have a recovery tool for it as many do. Also if its still under warranty send it in and get a new one once you've tried to get the data off it. I had a Sandisk stop working and they replaced it no questions asked.

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