We use flash drives every day to transfer files between computers, backup files or even as a portable operating system. The convenient size and compatibility between most devices have helped them replace many other forms of removable media such as floppy disks and CDs for basic file storage. As much as we seem to believe they’re invincible, these small devices are easily damaged.
At HDD Recovery Services, we encounter damaged flash drives on a regular basis. While we see all brands, the most common USB drive we see is the Sandisk Cruzer. The weak connector means it’s even easier to damage than other brands, but that small flaw is easy to recover from. Since flash drives are essentially mini hard drives, you likely have data on them you don’t want to lose. When the unthinkable happens, our data recovery experts are here to retrieve your data. We offer incredibly affordable flash drive data recovery services on all types of drives. For simple recoveries, the service is free. For more advanced recoveries, you’ll only pay a small fee. We don’t believe you should ever be without your data. Our straight-forward process and amazing rates mean you never have to choose between your data or your budget. If for any reason we can’t recover your data, you don’t pay anything.
Flash drives are designed to be more durable than a regular hard drive. Instead of the movable parts hard drives use, flash drives use NAND flash memory chips to store data. A small microcontroller and crystal oscillator handle the ROM, RAM and data output. All of this is protected by a thin metal or plastic case. Depending on the model, a case may also protect the USB plug when it’s not in use.
Damage usually happens when a drive is dropped, smashed or experiences some other type of physical damage. Intense heat and water can also severely damage a flash drive. The other common damage type happens when you try to use the device. Many users try to force a USB drive into the slot incorrectly or slide it in/pull it out at an angle, damaging the connectors.
Outside of physical damage or incorrect use, wear and tear is the most common problem. The more a flash drive is taken in and out of a USB port, the weaker the device becomes. As with any hardware, parts simply fail and need to be replaced. Most drives are only designed to withstand approximately 1500 insert/remove cycles. Luckily, basic wear and tear is usually the easiest type of problem to fix.
If you insert your flash drive and your computer no longer recognizes the drive or you can’t see any files on the device, remove it and don’t try to use it again. Any further use could damage the drive even more. If the USB plug is damaged, don’t try to insert it or you could damage the port on your computer. The next step is to contact a data recovery specialist who understands the inner workings of flash drives.
Your best chance of a full recovery lies in the hands of experts who know exactly how to take apart, repair and extract USB data. In most cases, HDD Recovery Services can recover your data, such as precious photos, important documents and backups of family videos.
We offer two types of flash drive recovery services. The first is a basic recovery which only requires us to replace a few parts in order to pull the data from the drive. The second is an advanced recovery where the damage is too great and we must pull the data directly from the memory chips.
While it’s possible to perform the first type of recovery at home, if you don’t have the right tools and parts on hand, you could permanently damage the drive, making the data unrecoverable. We always have donor drives available to pull parts from. An advanced recovery should only be performed by a trained technician with a NAND flash chip reader. One misstep in the process and data is completely erased.
A basic flash drive recovery is fairly simple. We analyze your drive to determine the extent of the damage. We then find a comparable drive and replace the necessary parts. We’ll replace the connectors if they’re damaged or replace oscillators, fuses and resisters if they’re blown. We then check to see if the data can be read. If so, we extract the data and upload to our server for you to retrieve at your convenience. If the memory chips themselves aren’t damaged, a full recovery is usually possible.
An advanced flash drive recovery is a bit more complicated. Severely damaged drives require us to go beyond replacing parts. Instead, we must rebuild the data directly from the memory chips. We use a clean room and proprietary tools to ensure the chips aren’t further damaged during the process. Once again, don’t try to perform this type of recovery on your own.
After analyzing the drive and discovering the full extent of the damage, we carefully take apart the drive in a clean room. We bypass everything but the memory chips, including everything on the printed circuit board. All we’re interested in is the data itself at this point since the drive is damaged beyond repair.
We insert the memory chips into our own NAND flash chip reader that analyzes the chips and extracts the raw data. Without this special type of reader, data can’t be extracted or read. Basically, the data is lost without some way to extract it. A flash drive requires a USB mass storage controller in order to process data. Without the controller, written data isn’t viewable to the end user. We use our recovery equipment to substitute the functions of the controller to convert the extracted raw data into a viewable structure. Once we’ve converted the data, we then upload to our server for you to download at your earliest convenience.
While we wish we could recover every byte of data, sometimes the damage is beyond even our years of expertise. We keep you in the loop throughout the process so you know exactly how much data is recoverable.
A damaged flash drive isn’t the end of your data. Let HDD Recovery Services help you get your data back where it belongs – in your hands. To get started, fill out our contact form today. Wait for us to contact you. Don’t worry, we’ll be in touch shortly. Once we contact you, we’ll provide you with a free consultation to discuss what happened to the drive and what we believe is necessary to recover the data.
If we believe data recovery is possible, we’ll ask you to send in the flash drive. We require all flash drives to be mailed in to our main recovery lab in Ottawa, ON. We can’t fully analyze the damage and provide you with a quote until we have the drive in hand. Once we receive the drive, we’ll analyze it, provide you with an affordable quote and start the recovery once we receive your go ahead.
Request your free quote HERE.