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Time is of the essence, since I just lost an usb stick with some important data, and I'm in a hurry regarding that data !!

Usb stick, worked normally ... when plugged into another xp machine, stated that it needs to be formatted. Trying it out in other machines produced the same message.

Tried Recuva, on both scans it said, "Unable to read boot sector".

I'm open to any ideas ...

I'm thinking that the partition maybe has got corrupted ...

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1 Answer 1

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It could also be that the drive has failed completely rather than just the partition table being corrupt.

Before attempting any recovery operation take an image of the drive as it currently is. Under Linux this can be done using dd if=<device> of=<file>, for example dd if=/dev/sdc of=usbdrive.img if the device registers as sdc when you plug it in (sorry, I'm not sure how to perform this in Windows - you may need a 3rd party tool). This way you have a copy of the entire drive before making any modifications so if a fix fails you can go back to the start. If you get errors reading the drive to make the image then the drive is dead and there might not be any way (without paying for an expensive forensic recovery service) to get the data off the drive.

Once you have an image of the drive backed up, try recreating the partition table assuming it had a single FAT32 partition. You may be able to do this from the Windows disk management tool if it will let you create a partition and mark it as FAT32 without formatting (not even quick format). If the Windows tools won't let you do this then add a comment to that effect and I'll add some notes for how to try the process under Linux.

If the filesystem is damaged as well as the partition table then recovery is more difficult but still possible.

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Unfortunatelly, that I did not do. In any case, two out of three very important files I recovered using ... something, (so crazed out after this day, that I can't even remember what the hell I used to get them back ... easeus recovery something). It could've been worse I guess. ... –  ldigas Mar 10 '10 at 21:39

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