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Flash Drive Wiped Out

by JohnWRB / July 9, 2009 2:22 AM PDT

I have a flash drive that I've been using heavily for a while with no problems. Plugged it in last night and all the files/folders had disappeared. My PC still recognizes that it's there, but now reports that it needs to be formatted. I suspect that the partition may have been corrupted. I've tried the usual file recovery programs, but they won't recognize the drive either.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Memorex Travel Drive - USB 2.0 - 1gb
Windows XP SP3

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Just a tool I use to format them.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 9, 2009 3:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Flash Drive Wiped Out
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Keep in mind...
by Willy / July 9, 2009 10:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Flash Drive Wiped Out

Not too long ago when flash drives 1st came out they were build right, IMHO. Those were any drive under the 128mb range, they seem to last. Now, that these come out in 1gb and above, as in 8gb, then expect problems. These are being made like so many dohickees on an assembly line. Here are two most common reasons for failure or corruption:

1) improper handling and/or static(ESD)
2) removal before r/w is done, or proper dismount/eject

Keep the reasons in mind and usually they last longer. I do further suggest, don't park or keep drives in USB port. Its possible the system won't like it and/or the initial cold boot surge may damage it. Afterall, these are only 5v devices and it doesn't take much to damage.

tada -----Willy Happy

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There is always a first time
by richteral / July 10, 2009 6:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Flash Drive Wiped Out

Unfortunately, this is probably going to be nothing but a salutary lesson - back up, back up, back up. These widgets do not last, regardless of brand. With flash drives, it is mostly pot luck. Some will last longer, others less so. None will last forever, and one simply has to bear it in mind when using them. At the price tags they carry nowadays, they are practically considered disposable & behave as such.

Flash drive data recovery software is available (google it, indeed), but if it is worth the effort and/or cost is anyone's guess. I did not bother when my super-duper SanDisk Cruzer Titanium went, even though "you could drive a truck over it."

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Testdisk
by Zouch / July 11, 2009 7:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Flash Drive Wiped Out

Hi,
I hope you haven't leaned the hard way that these devices are unreliable as backup sources. They are great for file transfers but unsuitable for long term storage. Some of the cheaper ones have as low as 1000 write cycle lifespans.

The most common cause of data loss is pulling them out before they are fully stopped. Always use the taskbar icon to stop them and wait for the "Safe to remove" message. If they won't stop for some reason (a hung program or whatever) shut the PC down before you pull them out.

Power spikes have been known to damage some of these units too.

None of which matters at tne moment, you can't see your data. If the drive hasn't been reformatted, then it may be "just" the FAT or MFT damaged. I've had some success with Testdisk (donationware from http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk ) which does recognise Flash drives. Be warned, it is a bit of a very comprehensive systems programmer's tool and much of it runs in the command window so you use the cursor rather than the mouse. Do read the documentation and the help information as you go along and don't commit unless you are absolutely sure you are happy with what it is about to do (you get the option before every action that changes the disk). As ever, use at your own risk!

If your lost data is really valuable to you, you might waqnt to discuss the problem with the professionals. Not cheap but that will depend on the value of the data. Kroll-Ontrack is one company one of my clients successfully used but there are many others on the web.

Good luck!

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