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recovering data from a USB flash drive

I have several documents on a flash drive that I need. Something has happened that the computer won't read it. I've tried on my Vista PC and on my OS X Lion Mac. I can open the folder to see a list of the files. But when I try to open them, or copy them off of the flash drive I can't. It just sits there forever trying to copy.

I believe I may have corrupted something when I removed the device without "ejecting" it first. :S

Can anybody recommend what to do. Or what software can recover this? Preferable for MAC, but I can do Windows too.

Thanks!
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016

Commented:
Hi, you can try Recuva - try it on your Vista PC.
Business Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
It is roughly the same on a USB stick as on a Hard Drive. If the area of the disk where the files are is damaged, then you cannot copy the files.

Try (in Windows) opening a command prompt. Use DRIVE: to change to the USB drive. Then DIR to see the folder structure. Use CD Folder to change to the folder. Then see if you can COPY FILE C: and see whether it copies.

If you cannot copy by any method, then the USB key is probably gone. ..... Thinkpads_User
Robert RComputer Service Technician

Commented:
Unless you pulled out the usb flash drive while it was writing data to the drive removing it without using the eject icon, this should not have corrupted the drive. Was it removed while there was activity on the drive? If there was positively no activity on the drive before it was pulled out of the usb port, something else could have corrupted the drive. It could have been damaged in transit, or maybe even malware or a virus.  Have you run a malware scan on the drive? Is there some type of encription protection on the drive? If so it maybe you can see the files but not open or copy them.

Author

Commented:
thinkpads_user: So when I tried using the cmd.exe, I could indeed get the "dir" command to list the contents (although it took a really long time). when I tried to copy something off the chip, it also sat there for a really long time and then gives the message: "access denied"

gerwinjansen and greggy86: When I tried recuva, it says that it is going to take 42 days to complete the scan! This can't be normal. I only have 31 files there.

web_tracker: I'm trying the virus scan right now. I'll let you know how it goes.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
gregholl - Based on your observations of very long times, I think probably the USB key is damaged and may not be recoverable.  .... Thinkpads_User

Author

Commented:
So, is the "USB key" a hardware thing? i.e.: The actual flash drive is defective?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
A USB Flash drive is a solid state (electronic) hard drive. So yes, it is a hardware thing. And since you tried it on two computers, it is not a USB socket (port) problem. It is a hardware device.

More than once, i have read that a USB device can be damaged by improper removal. So at this point, it does appear to be damaged. ... Thinkpads_User
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016

Commented:
In case it's a hardware problem, you may be out of luck. No harm in trying some recovery software like I suggested. Did you do that already?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
The author already tried that "When I tried recuva, it says that it is going to take 42 days to complete the scan" . Check the above threads. .... Thinkpads_User
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016

Commented:
>> is going to take 42 days to complete the scan
It will most probably not take 42 days, it's indicating such a long time because it is hitting a bad area of the USB memory. Once it's beyond that, the estimated time to complete will drop.

Author

Commented:
As much as I hate to admit it, your's was the correct answer. Recuva was a great program, but didn't do the trick. In the end, it is going to take less time to re-enter the lost data than waste any more time trying to recover.

Thanks.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Thank you. However, I do appreciate your frustration. Thanks again. .... Thinkpads_User