When your USB flash drive doesn’t work anymore there’s two categories it will fall into. In other words, there’s two main levels of USB flash drive recovery. <<Neither one of two involve super glue.>>
Are the following true for you: your flash drive is NOT actually PHYSICALLY broken, your your computer can recognize it, your computer assigns it a drive letter? If your answer is yes you can always try flash drive recovery software.
However, software will not work for drives that are not being detected, or recognized. This means you likely have a problem with the controller chip on the device, or a physical problem. In other words it has failed, or become corrupt.
View examples of botched self attempts at our national DIY Hall of Shame by clicking here.
The first level deals with broken stems, or USB connectors and requires above average (not handyman) precision soldering skills.
Because of the size of the circuitry and parts, how the device receives power, as well as the difficulty of soldering, unexpected damage is a frequent issue with DIY attempts on these drives. Soldering irons have the potential to burn or melt the printed circuit board, make the recovery much more difficult for a professional, and even cause the drive to be unrecoverable.
Solder can easily be crossed with points on the drive shorting out other components that are required for the drive to communicate with the computer. Another common mistake is when the prongs, or whatever contraption being used to connect the drive to a computer is improperly connected, the memory chips and/or other components can be damaged due to improper power being supplied.
If you have attempted to repair this yourself and the drive is not working, there is a good chance more damage has been caused and you may not be able to get your data back at all. As with all data recovery situations, you may only have one chance at recovering your data. Our engineers have seen many cases where failed DIY attempts have rendered the data lost forever.
The second level involves everything else besides a broken stem. This level includes various errors asking you to “Please Insert Disk Into Removable Disk” or “USB Device Not Recognized or Malfunctioned“, RAW partition, dead or unresponsive drives, drives asking you to “Format Disk”, and damaged controller chips and/or circuit boards (which can occur from failed attempts at Group 1).
This level of recovery requires specialized and very expensive data recovery equipment and the knowledge of how to use it.get a quote here
Below are the “how to” steps for the DIY tech. Follow them very carefully.
Here’s what you need:
Here are the steps to recovering from a USB drive that has physical damage to the stem, and is broken.
1. First you need to open the case of the USB device. You have to be careful here so you don’t damage the PCB board with whatever you are using to pry apart the plastic casing. A small flat head may do the trick, however there are some tricky cases out there, so it varies. An error during this step can ruin your chances of successful recovery. If you damage the NAND inside the casing, your data is lost forever.
2. Next visually examine the damage to the circuit board. You want to make sure there are breaks to the arms that are soldered to the PCB board. If there are not, you have another problem and are part of group 2. Once you have observed there is indeed a broken connection between the stem and the PCB board, you need to make sure the pads are not lifted.
This happens when the force to the stem pulls the solder pad off the board (where the arm actually connects to the board) . You will see what looks like a foot on the PCB side of the arm. At this point you should not continue, you need the help of a professional data recovery company.
Look for damage on the PCB:
You will not be able to continue with this repair if there is any damage other than broken arms.
3. If everything checks out after examination of the PCB and the pads are intact, take the scrap USB cable and prepare it following these steps:
4. Carefully solder each one of the wires to the pads in the order they are supposed to go. Here is the order for most USB drives: with the pad side of the PCB facing you and the NAND or controller chip facing away: Left to right is black, green, white, and red. If you have properly accomplished these steps, you should be able to plug the USB into a computer, get a blinking light, and copy your data over. A failed attempt will result in your drive not getting power, or you may burn some of the components of your drive listed above.
**You will either get your data back, or become part of Group 2. (if this worked for you please leave a comment below, share this post, and/or link to it!)
Due to the nature of the specialized equipment and knowledge required for this type of recovery, it does not fit within the scope of DIY data recovery, and is above and beyond the abilities of 99% of your typical “data recovery company”. You will need to call a company that specializes in recovering FLASH drives and NAND storage technology. However, so you can understand what is involved here is a brief overview so you can adjust your expectations accordingly when getting prices for this type of recovery.
This level of recovery applies to the following types of USB Flash drive conditions:
1. This requires a NAND reader. These go for about $5,000. Then you need to find someone trained on the procedures of using the software that controls the NAND reader. This alone can take 3 months of doing recoveries every day.
2. Make sure that the reader supports the controller type on your USB drive. In order to do this you will need to remove the internals from the USB drive without damaging the PCB board and NAND. The controller type is found stamped on the controller chip. There are literally hundreds of different types of these. NAND recovery devices support most but not all.
3. Carefully remove the NANDs from the PCB. This requires a precision heating gun. Make sure to label them to know what side they came from on the PCB when there are multiple.
4. After you have successfully removed the NANDs Load them into the data compiler and let the software do it’s magic. (Wish it were that easy!)
As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. We will be glad to help you out with your recovery to ensure you get your data back in one piece. You can call in for a FREE phone consultation anytime! 1-800-553-5738
Discussion: Ever had a USB drive fail on you? What did you do to fix it, and were you successful? What are you experiences with prices for professional help? Add some value to the conversation below!