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I removed my 8GB Memory stick Pro Duo (FAT32) from my Windows 7 laptop while it was being accessed and when i tried to put it back in to read something from it, it tells me I need to format it. it is now being recognised as a 32mb drive. I have a lot of files that i would like to recover from it, but I have tried Testdisk/Photorec without success. Also just tried a tool called Davory, but still nothing.

I don't think there is anything physically wrong with it, it was working fine this morning.

and i have already looked at both the following links without finding a solution.

Recover data from Corrupted Flash drive With RAW file system

How do I recover files from an USB flash drive?

i have also looked at the memory stick inside Ubuntu (dual-boot) but Ubuntu also cannot read from it, even in gparted.

is there any way to recover the data or even just get a list of files on the memory stick?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Especially because you followed the second link without any success, it's a pretty much a done deal your flash drive data is corrupted.

  • You can try Recuva. But I suspect you won't get any luckier, if Davory couldn't do it. Your flash drive should otherwise be ok. You just need to reformat it.

  • You can also try to scan and recover the USB drive from Windows own tools (Right-click on USB drive -> Properties -> Tools Tab -> Check Now button, making sure you activate the first checkbox on the next dialog screen). But again, chances are very slim.

I always thought the Safely Remove Hardware function of Windows was poorly named. It should have been "Stop And Remove Device", or something similar. Anyways, what this feature does is stop the device and unmount it, effectively instructing the system to stop sending any power to it. If you remove a device while power is being sent, there's the odd chance you will induce a power surge on the device. This can corrupt data in dramatic ways.

It may be a rare event (rarer if there isn't currently happening any disk IO between the device and the computer). But it will eventually happen if usb flash drives aren't properly removed from the system.

This is the most likely reason your USB flash got corrupted. Note that these tools can do very little depending on the extension of the corruption; not only the filesystem tables may got corrupted, but also data across the drive may have been randomly overwritten.

Fortunately the hardware is more resilient than the data it hosts. So, while possible, it's unlikely you lost your drive. Only the data that was in it (I'm sorry I can't bring better news).

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i actually tried Recuva already, but since the system wouldn't even recognise the drive, no luck – warsong Jul 23 '11 at 13:48
thanks anyway though, i guess i was hoping someone may know a magical way of at least reading the filesystem tables. if not, i'm gonna mark this up as the accepted answer, but will hang around for a bit just in case ;) – warsong Jul 23 '11 at 13:53
Best of luck. :) – A Dwarf Jul 23 '11 at 13:59
I had the same thing happen (well, a power failure - I wouldn't remove a drive that had a cache). Nothing saw anything on the drive until I tried PhotoRec. It got all my mp3's back, but lost the file names, so I had to play each and rename it. – Abraxas Jul 23 '11 at 17:16
Photorec only recognises a 32mb partition on the memory stick (which, i presume, contains the kernel-level or system-level drivers or similar for the PSP), the remaining 8gb doesn't even appear in Photorec. I still haven't formatted it yet, but i guess its worth a try to run Photorec from Linux in case it somehow runs differently from Windows, though i don't have much hope in this working tbh) – warsong Jul 23 '11 at 17:23

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