How to repair a damaged usb flash drive

10 10 2008

Flash drives today are ubiquitous, mainly because they have become very affordable, and much more portable than external disk drives.  Unfortunately, the risks associated with flash media can be more than traditional disk drives.  Most folks do not understand tthe procedure to unmount drives before removing them from the port.  This procedure is very important to prevent corruption of the partition and file tables.  Most flash drives employ the use of FAT16 or FAT32 file systems to allow for universal access from all operating systems (Mac, PC, and Linux).  Unfortunately, these file systems are easily corrupted during write operations as the drives are removed.  Most of the time the files are still there, but the file tables and formatting are corrupt, making the drive unreadable, and unusable.  Many times the user mistakenly FORMATS the drive when prompted by the OS- which can be devastaing for your data.

Many times, formatting your drive will make it functional, but most times you will permenantly destroy your data.  So it is always good to know a few techniques to avoid data loss.

Rules:

  1. Never write to your flash drive if you cannot see your data – this means, do not format, and do not use anti-corruption tools or “disk repair” tools like SpinRite, or any other S.M.A.R.T based (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) tools that write to your drive
  2. If you don’t understand sectors, cylinders, file structure, and do not have a thorough understanding of file systems, do NOT ATTEMPT to use this guide
  3. You should always have two copies of your files, and you should NEVER use flash media as primary storage, rather, only to move files from one place to another.  Now ask yourself, why are you reading this if you have another copy of your missing files?

If you are an IT professional, and have experience with CLI, click here for instructions and tools

If you are a Do-it-yourself guy – click here for instructions

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One response

7 03 2009
tasjel

is there any prog. to repaire the damaged usb flash?

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