USB Flash Drive Data Recovery

USB Flash Drives (also known as USB Sticks, Thumb Drives, Pen Drives, Flash Disk or USB Memory) are susceptible to many types of issue that prevent access to the stored data. We employ a full suite of recovery tools and techniques ensuring that our USB Flash Drive Data Recovery is as successful as possible and every avenue for recovery is explored.

Data Recovery Options

Sterling offers a nationwide data recovery service which features a free evaluation service where we will inspect your device, determine whether the data can be recovered and and provide a quotation for recovery.

Common Data Recovery Situations

Physical Damage

Depending upon the type and construction of the USB Flash Drive, physical damage can be relatively simply to recover from or exceptionally complex. The device pictured to the right had suffered from the USB connector being snapped off which is incredibly common.

Unfortunately in this case, the solder pads to which the USB connectors are soldered (4 silver rectangles beneath the word USB in the picture) had also been pulled from the printed circuit board (PCB). Before a new connector could be affixed, these pads were first repaired which once completed enabled a full recovery of the data.

Damaged Flash Drive Prepared for Data Recovery
NAND Flash Chip

Component Failure

Every component on the USB flash drive has an expected life expectancy which is usually far in excess of the useful life of the device. In some instances, components fail sooner than expected. This may be due to manufacturing issues, poor quality components or how the device has been handled.

There are two ‘key’ components in a USB Flash Drive that directly influence data recovery. First is the Controller Chip which is the large black chip in the picture above. The second is the NAND Flash storage chip(s) as seen on the left.

NAND Flash chips come in a variety of capacities and USB Flash drive may contain one or chips adding up to the capacity of the device.

In some instances failed controllers can be replaced with a matching donor to enable data recovery. Failing that, a tecnique call ‘Chip Off Recovery’ can be employed where each NAND Flash chip is removed from the PCB and the raw data is read, decoded and exported as the recovered data.

When the NAND Flash is damaged repair and recovery is unfortunaletly extremly unlikely

Logical & User Issues

Logical and User issues that cause data loss range from accidental formatting, deletion or overwriting of data through system errors which can lead to data corruption.

User errors are usually present few challenges in data recovery, however we recommend that if the data is valuable you do not download free recovery software as this can lead to further issues (e.g. downloaded viruses and accidental overwriting of data).

Logical system issues usually require a level of experience and specialist software tools to interpret the issues and make necessary corrections to the data to return it to it’s original state.


Format Warning