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USB flash disk problems

August 12th, 2009

I have just finished an attempt to recover files from a USB flash disk, and for the fourth time, failed.  This time it’s a Kingston 1GB flash disk.

Note:  We are still researching for a fix on this problem.


As a staff of the I.T. Center of NDMC, we continually receive requests to recover files from hard disks and other storage mediums.  Recovering files from hard disks would be an easy feat as long as the hardware itself is not damaged. But recovering files from a USB flash disk is challenging.  

Here are the symptoms so far:

  • flash disk cannot be read from a Windows XP machine
  • flash disk cannot be read from an Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 machine
  • flash disk is recognized as a storage device in Windows XP but when accessed it gives an error of “Device not ready.”
  • flash disk LED does not light up

I tried to plug the USB flash disk into an Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 and a Windows XP machine but failed to read any file from the device.

My conclusion so far is to declare the USB flash disk as corrupted or damaged for the following reasons:

  • flash disk was removed before the input/output operation on it has finished
  • flash disk was corrupted by a virus
  • flash disk was plugged into a slot that was not installed properly (the USB connector to the motherboard is inserted incorrectly)

Again, we have yet to find a fix for this problem aside from declaring the USB flash disk as corrupt.  You could see the sorrow in the owner’s face knowing that their hard-worked files cannot be recovered now.

Anybody have a fix?

Author: Cyril Pauya Categories: To-Fix Tags: , ,
  1. igoy
    August 14th, 2009 at 07:12 | #1

    may be sir…it is already corrupted by “removing before the input/output operation”..I learn one lesson in this problem…. One back up is not enough to secure important file…usb for me is the number one of virus… but if it is a virus, why it cannot read in the ubuntu jaunty? may be the usb itself is corrupted.

  2. August 14th, 2009 at 19:16 | #2

    @igoy
    Yes. most viruses stay in memory and monitors their sources. When the user does not “safely remove” a flash disk, there’s a possibility that it will get corrupted.

    I usually declare a flash disk corrupted if it cannot be read by Ubuntu.

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