USB Flash Drive Data Recovery Blog

Providing expert advice on broken flash drive repair and flash drive data recovery.

When Flash Drive Recovery Is Impossible

Brian Ernst - Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Over the years, the Flash Drive Pros have become serious black belts in the art of data recovery from flash drives, as our 94% success rate and no-data, no-fee policy can attest. But what about the other 6% whose files cannot be recovered? Sure, they get a full refund and even get their flash drive mailed back to them for free. But why couldn't their files be recovered? Is there any hope?

Physical Damage to NAND Flash Memory Chips

The most common reason that files can't be recovered from a flash is physical damage to the NAND Flash chips. Small, hair-line fractures that are often only visible under magnification are fairly common. In this situation, data recovery is impossible. 

Another common cause of an unrecoverable flash drive is broken or missing pins on the NAND chip. Broken pins don't always mean the flash drive files can't be recovered since several of the NAND chip pins are not used. Even if the pins are used and have been bent or broken, they can sometimes be bent back into position or replaced and reattached to the circuit board making recover possible.

Too Many Bad Blocks in NAND Chips

Flash memory stores your data in blocks of information that are comprised of many small physical transistor gates. The chief benefit of flash memory is that it is non-volatile and has no moving parts as in a traditional spinning hard drive. The down side is that those transistor gates can only withstand so many read/write cycles before they wear out and become useless. Flash drive manufacturers use a process called "wear leveling" to make sure all gates put in their fair share of the work. Usually, dead gates on in NAND flash are not a big deal. However, when the ratio of good to bad blocks reaches a certain threshold, the NAND chip can stop working completely. Is this situation recovery is usually not possible.

Erased and Formatted Flash Drives

Data on flash drives that have been erased or formatted can often be recovered. When data is erased on a flash drive, is isn't actually removed but rather is set to be overwritten at some point in the future. As long as the data has not been overwritten, is can usually be recovered. The important thing is to unplug your flash drive as soon as it happens to make sure the underlying data on your flash drive is not damaged. 

If your flash drive has become damaged or inaccessible for any reason, give us a call and we can probably tell you the odds of a successful recovery.

FlashDrivePros LLC are global leaders in flash drive repair and data recovery. With advanced data recovery labs in the US, Europe and Asia, we have recovered millions of files from thousands of flash drive for clients all over the world. We offer much lower prices, faster turn-around and better service than other data recovery companies. Order our services today and find out for yourself.

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