Data Recovery for USB Flash Drives

Digital storage (i.e. Hard Drives, SSD, USB flash/thumb drives, servers) has made significant advances in capacity, speed, price, availability, and possibly even reliability. Although anyone that has been the on unfortunate side of a crashed or inaccessible hard drive would probably say otherwise. In fact, Data Recovery for USB Flash Drives or solid state hard drives can bring about its own set of unique challenges and methods for recovery.

Some local ‘big-box’ stores that are “Always Low Prices” are advertising a 16TB Buffalo Drive Station that can be configured for RAID 0, RAID 5 or RAID 10.  I’m not sure why I’m even surprised that these retailers are offering this amount of storage for what is most likely home consumers. But more and more people are archiving larger amounts of data each and every day. This includes both businesses and home users. has a pretty neat Infographic showing the evolution of digital storage. This article was published in 2011, so things have evolved even since then of course.

The data recovery industry has seen some signification changes.  In just the past few years alone there has also been significant advances made in recovering data from hard disk drives, USB thumb drives, SD Cards, and basically anything that stores digital data.

While storage capacity is increasing exponentially, the actual physical size of some of these dives have become considerably smaller.
Once again not to date myself, as I do remember using multiple Floppy Discs to store files that were larger than 1.44MB, I remember being “blown away” when I could carry a 256MB Flash drive in my pocket. 256 MEGABYTES!!

Take a look at this tiny USB Flash Drive

I found at

Over the past few years, the rise of USB Thumb drives, flash and solid state hard drives that come to us for recovery has risen very notably to say the least. I have created a “Top 10″ list of maladies that most of these recoveries would fall under.

Top 10 Data Losses for USB Thumb Drives

10. Cannot See / Find Files:

This is a common symptom when the data stored on the drive can not be accessed. Many times the drive has lost it’s file structure or file formatting which allows the data to be easily indexed and found. Often the USB drive will be detected, but cannot be accessed.

9. Bent/Broken USB Adapter:

Very common occurrence. Not every Flash drive will stop working after being dropped, but seeing the insides of micro connectors and solder points, it’s not hard to see why this can easily cause problems.

8. Dropped:

Another very common occurrence for both flash drives and external USB hard drives. The amount of damage, if any, is generally related to the height of the fall, the surface that devices fell onto, and where it landed. (i.e. Falling 6 Ft. directly onto tile floor right on USB connector, would obviously be more damaging than same small flash drive falling onto carpeted surface from 3 ft.

7. Virus Attack:

Viruses have become increasingly sophisticated in their form, function and ability to cause serious damage and wreak havoc on data.

6. Accidentally Format:

This happens more than you might imagine. The good news is that in most cases, if the drive has been formatted, data can be recovered. This is providing, that nothing has been written to the drive. Once data has been overwritten, chances for recovery are slim to none.

5. Insert or Remove Drive Incorrectly:

“Resistance is Futile.” Have you ever been tempted to keep pushing harder and harder on a USB Thumb that does not insert easily? Well me neither. But many people have. Most electronic devices, USB connections included, should insert very easily with not much force needed at all. If the device or component does not insert with little to no resistance, you should stop forcing and flip the drive over.

4. Remove Device Incorrectly:

I have found myself doing this on accident. My desktop computer sits below my on the ground. Just recently I noticed that when I went to remove my thumb drive, I almost pulled slightly “up” as I was removing the drive. USB devices of any kind should be removed by pulling the connector directly “out” without any up, down or sideways motion.

3. Data has been Overwritten:

Unfortunately there’s not much that any data recovery service can do to recover data in this type of situation.
(What once was “1′s” are now “0′s”, and vice versa.)

2. Stops working due to “Old Age”:

You might ask yourself “How can it wear out, if there are no moving pieces?” Well, this may come as news to some people. However these devices do have a life span. All digital storage devices do. Hard drives, both conventional and SSD, thumb drives, any type of device on to which you store your pictures, files, work, etc. all will eventually fail.
Solid State / Flash technology is a bit different in the way that it reads, writes and accesses data.

One of most basic ways that this was explained to me way back in the day was to think of an I.C. Chip as having millions of transistors that can be either “on” or “off”. The “on” and “off’ ” can basically be thought of as “1′s” and “0′s”.  These bits are written to the drive as static charges. Eventually the cells will fail to hold these static charges.
No static charge = No “1′s” nor “0′s”. Having no “1′s” nor “0′s” means no data.

1. And the Number 1 Reason is…

(This is strictly my opinion and my personal favorite) ….  Is that the flash drive was ran through the washing machine! We had a desperate client call in recently with a thumb drive that had been left in his pants pocket. Unbeknownst to him, the wife washed his jeans. *Note: Always check pockets before washing!

If you find yourself needing Data Recovery for USB Flash Drive with a broken or inaccessible USB Flash/Thumb drive that contains critical data, call ECO Data Recovery at 1-800-339-3412 or visit our website Quote page  to to request an a free quote for data recovery services.

ECO Data Recovery has been providing data recovery from all storage devices since 1995. We offer Flat-Rate, Affordable prices for physical, logical and forensic data recovery services.