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How to recover a USB flash drive

I put a .wmv file from a tutorial on my USB stick and while Windows Media Player was still open went to eat something. After that I wanted to continue watching where it was paused but it didn't work out. So the only thing left after several tries was to end the process tree in Windows of Media Player. However that caused something to malfunction as when I wanted to view my USB stick via windows explorer again it responded that it needs formatting. Which I didn't. Tried it on different computers but get the same message everywhere (Windows 7 & Windows Vista).

Is there some tool to recover what's on the USB-stick before formatting it again?


Rather than Media Player going down and causing the problem on the USB drive, you will undoubtably find it is the other way around: the drive developed an error, stopped working, and Media Player hung because it was trying to read from a broken/corrupt device.

Unfortunately there might be nothing you can do (without resorting to an expensive analysis and repair service).

If the drive's problem is thermally sensitive, i.e. the problem becomes apparent as the device warms up, you might be lucky and be able to get the data off later. Remove the drive from your machine, wait some time for it to settle back to room temperature (I find some flash drives get unexpectedly warm after a while in operation), and plug it in again. If the drive works this time, get all the data off it that you can as quickly as you can, before it fails again.

As a side note: I've seen many USK flash drives go bad suddenly, especially cheaper ones, so I never have anything important stored on just one USB flash drive.


You can use PhotoRec: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

Or you can try also Recuva: http://www.piriform.com/recuva.

If you can't mount usb stick on windows, you can boot some live cd like PartedMagic and run PhotoRec (alredy included) from it

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