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My friend saved by his works onto my flash drive which was detectable/openable, but ...

The very next day, the drive wouldn't show up in My Computer and Windows gave him error code 43 (Unknown device).

I tried others few systems that once detected his flash drive but the problem still persisted. I don't know whether or not his flash drive is damaged but when plug/un-plugging, there are still sounds coming out though.

Tried solutions:

  • On Vista Home Premium (his computer): Uninstalled --> Restarted computer --> Re-installed (ERROR 43)
  • On Windows 7 (my computer): Uninstalled --> Restarted computer --> Can't install (ERROR 43)

It seems that my computer (Windows 7) had the lastest drivers already but still can't detect it.

Its a Kingston DataTraveller 101 (DT101) 8GB.

Could unplugging the flash drive without clicking "Safely Remove Hardware" have caused the problem?

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3 Answers 3

Unknown device generally means Windows can't communicate with the flash drive on a hardware level. Double-check that the contacts in the plug of the flash drive aren't dirty or missing. If they're clean then you're likely out of luck unless it decides to start working. Try tapping it gently against your hand in case something shook loose; If you manage to get it to work, then copy all files off of it, but either way get a new flash drive, and don't trust that one to hold important documents any more.

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Thank you but problem still persist. I'm sure he learnt his lesson. =) –  Daren May 31 '10 at 4:04
    
I run my own flash drive and what i got is the drivers details (USBSTOR.SYS). I found out there are variety of it to download as well such as usbstor.inf / usbhidclass.sys / usbntmap.sys . If i install those, would I have some chances? –  Daren May 31 '10 at 4:07
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If you're getting Error 43, then you are out of luck. Had this happen to a Sandisk 4GB Flash Drive and it was just out-and-out dead. Like you said, copy important docs in multiple safe places. I personally use www.mesh.com to keep the important information as well as my flash drive and internal network. –  JFV May 31 '10 at 4:32
    
+1 for mesh. Thanks –  Xavierjazz May 31 '10 at 10:29

If you've already tried several computers and it still doesn't work then you are probably out of luck.

Flash drives are formatted FAT32 by default which does not delay writes like an NTFS formatted flash drive would, so taking it out without clicking "Safely Remove Hardware" is probably OK as long as the file has finished transferring.

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Okay, we ruled out that one problem. –  Daren May 31 '10 at 4:01
    
I run my own flash drive and what i got is the drivers details (USBSTOR.SYS). I found out there are variety of it to download as well such as usbstor.inf / usbhidclass.sys / usbntmap.sys . If i install those, would I have some chances? –  Daren May 31 '10 at 4:06
    
Windows uses a standard device driver for USB hard drives. The drivers should be the same on multiple machines, thats why if you've tried multiple machines its probably not a software issue. Its probably an issue with the USB flash drive and probably hardware related. If its super important, you might be able to send it to a data recovery team which would likely purchase an exact replica of the flash drive, de-solder the memory chip(s) from the old USB drive and solder the chip(s) on to the new flash drive. –  Nick May 31 '10 at 5:00

I would try using linux to read the device. Knoppix is a pretty cool linux live CD. I would also try to see if file recovery software like testDisk and photoRec can pull some data off of it.

Photorec is probably the one you want to use.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

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