Why would a flash drive fail?
We’ve all been in that situation. You have an important file on a flash drive, you slot it into your computer and wait patiently for it to load up. You’re sat there and nothing is happening. There’s no folder popping up on the screen and now you start to worry.
Changing the USB slot does nothing. There is no sign of life out of the flash drive. How did it get to this state? There are many reasons why a flash drive will fail and we have all seen or feared these happening to us.
The most common reason for failure is simply mis-treatment or physical damage. The small flash drives sit around on a desk all day long, hidden away at the bottom of cupboard drawers underneath hole punches and heavy objects or even the worst offenders have been attached to key rings and swung around all day long.
On slip and the USB stick has been thrown off the desk and lands perfectly under the foot of a colleague walking passed. Or unfortunately slips into a cup of steaming hot coffee sitting on the side. Neither of these are going to do any good to the stick and will cause some damage to the housing, at the very least.
The second most common cause of damage to a USB stick or flash drive is also the one every single one of us is guilty of many times every day. The files are all on the stick so you take it out while it’s still being used by the computer. It hasn’t done any damage before, so you think you will be alright. However, this time it has done some damage because you didn’t safely remove hardware, the system was still trying to write data to the stick and now it’s corrupted. The best case scenario is that you have lost a file, the worst case is that it’s ruined the system files on the drive and now nothing will work.
It is so easy to unintentionally damage a USB stick, but once they have been dented or cracked, there is little the common user can do to access the important files held within. There is even less that a normal computer user can do if the system files have become corrupted. It will take someone who knows exactly what they are doing to even stand a chance of getting your files back.
Luckily, there are data recovery specialist who are able to retrieve files. They work with highly specialist software to locate, restore and repair files thought lost on USB sticks.
This means that if you do find a broken flash drive, you always have a chance to recover your files.