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Is my USB flash drive dead? Help!

Jabbit 11,030 1,379 January 15, 2016 at 08:00 PM More Amazon Deals
I have a 128GB USB 3.0 flash drive that I use constantly (THIS ONE [amazon.com]) and it has recently become unrecognizable in Windows 10. Tried it on 3 Win10 machines and 1 Win7 machine. Below are some screenshots of what happens. Drive shows up but the icon is grayed out. I can double-click and open the drive but it says it is empty, same result under Disk Management. Shows up as '...' under Safe Remove but I can right-click/eject from Windows Explorer. Ugh.

I have some semi-important stuff on there which I would like to get off the drive. Recuva didn't work.

Am I out of luck? Anything else I can try to get data back or do I need to reformat it and learn a valuable life lesson? HELP!
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16 Comments

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Joined Jun 2008
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#2
i think it's dead, simple format won't bring it back. unless there's a factory tool for that.

try pay data recovery, they tear down the flash, direct connect them

~~~~~~~~~~~
maybe those tool that can set low level info can help, (flash chip size, speed, voltage, something like that)
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Last edited by Left4Deal January 15, 2016 at 09:47 PM
#3
From a linux command line create an image of the flash drive using ddrescue. Feed the image into a computer forensics package.
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#4
Quote from jkee View Post :
From a linux command line create an image of the flash drive using ddrescue. Feed the image into a computer forensics package.
Where would I find forensics software?
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#5
Quote from Jabbit View Post :
Where would I find forensics software?
You can also feed a disk image into some data recovery programs. Something like http://www.sleuthkit.org/autopsy/ is an example of a forensics program. Here's a list of some others: http://www.gfi.com/blog/top-20-fr...sysadmins/
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#6
Quote from Jabbit View Post :
Where would I find forensics software?
PiratePiratePiratePiratePirate

No really thought, I think most forensic software is around $1,000.
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#7
Simply using / trying better data recovery software is also an option, paid tools usually have a free 'trial' that won't actually recover your files.

Options:
PhotoRec + TestDisk (free) http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec
GetDataBack: http://www.runtime.org/
Kroll Ontrack Home http://www.krollontrack.com/data-...-software/
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#8
Quote from Jabbit View Post :
Where would I find forensics software?
And be aware that if the hardware is going bad, every time you use it you risk making it worse so do follow jkees advice about making an image
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#9
Quote from Jabbit View Post :
I have a 128GB USB 3.0 flash drive that I use constantly and it has recently become unrecognizable in Windows 10.
Flash drives have a limited life-cycle [bing.com], each write adds wear to the flash memory chips. Most thumb drives do not have sophisticated software included that would implement wear leveling as the drive is used.

Because you stated that you use your constantly I believe you are now OOL.

Hopefully someone here can help you but if I were you I would not hold my breath.
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Last edited by dale_101798 January 16, 2016 at 06:55 AM
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#10
how can you create image when it's like bricked in the hardware level?
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#11
I've had good luck with MiniTool Power Data Recovery - they have a free trial that will recovery up to 1 GB, then you have to pay for the software. I found it rescued enough from "dead" drives that it was worth paying for, but it doesn't always work. Worth using the trial version for your USB drive and just seeing if it can get anything off there.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/d...very-free/
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#12
Thanks all, rep'd!

Quote from Left4Deal View Post :
how can you create image when it's like bricked in the hardware level?
Yeah that is what I'm really wondering. Haven't tried it yet but I will soon. Already have an RMA for the drive but would love to get the data.
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#13
Quote from Left4Deal View Post :
how can you create image when it's like bricked in the hardware level?
You can't if that's what's really going on. Give ddrescue a whirl from a linux live distro. When you go to investigate the image, you may find most or all of it is all 1's or 0's (unreadable). However you may pull some data off of it. If there's nothing in the ddrescue image, then you'd need to send it out to a place that takes it apart to recover the data.
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Last edited by jkee January 16, 2016 at 04:27 PM
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#14
Quote from Left4Deal View Post :
how can you create image when it's like bricked in the hardware level?
You tell ddrescue to copy the good data first... then you tell if to try the bad stuff multiple times. At the end you're left with an image of what was recoverable.

Something like this (but it should be double-checked)
1) make sure drive is recognized but not mounted (dmesg and 'df -k')
This assumes dmesg told you the drive was at /dev/sdc

2) # ddrescue -f -n /dev/sdc /root/sdc.img /root/sdc.log

3) # ddrescue -d -f -r3 /dev/sdc /root/sdc.img /root/sdc.log

It's important the log file (/root/sdc.log) maintains the same name - this is how ddrescue knows what has already been done.

4) /root/sdc.img is then an image that can be mounted as a loop device
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#15
Quote from vivahate View Post :
You tell ddrescue to copy the good data first... then you tell if to try the bad stuff multiple times. At the end you're left with an image of what was recoverable.
I believe this is actually the default behavior of ddrescue, but the command line switches give you more control.

Obviously, you would need to write the image to a disk that's mounted rw and has more then 128gb of free space.
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